Whitechapel and Jack the Ripper
1 - Whitechapel and Jack the Ripper introduction. Whitechapel is in the East End of London between Aldgate and Spitalfields in the West, and Mile End in the East. It was just outside the city centre 1/4 mile boundary.
2. Characteristics of the area:
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a. Whitechapel had a population made up of a great deal of foreign immigrants. They were often poor and the rents were cheap
b. There were an estimated 1,200 prostitutes working in the Whitechapel area
c. Sheep and cattle were herded through the streets leaving blood and excrement, spreading disease and health problems
d. Many children born in the East End and Whitechapel area died before the age of 5
e. Whitechapel held a lot of public houses, often used by old men drowning their sorrows
3. The sheet describes Whitechapel as an area full of problems. “Whitechapel had a very large population that lived near to, or on the wrong side of, the law”. Most of the people living in Whitechapel were foreign immigrants who had come to London with little or no money. It was a very crowded area with narrow roads and a smoky atmosphere. It is likely that there were quite a lot of drunks around, due to the amount of public houses and customers. People of the middle class at the time thought it a “shocking place, an evil collection of slums…where every citizen wears a black eye”. This also tells us that a lot of fights went on in Whitechapel. Lodging conditions were very bad; whole families would be crammed into one small room. Some rooms even held two or three families at a time.
4. My opinion of the policing in the area was that it had the potential to work, however it was very inexperienced and they concentrated on the wrong things. The MET spent a lot of time and energy on working towards their public image. There was a great emphasis on things such as personal appearance and good, respectable behaviour. Inspections were often based on the parades and military drills rather than the quantity of their police work.
During the 1880’s, the MET had little or no experience and received very little training. This resulted in violent and aggressive behaviour due to irrational decisions-for example Bloody Sunday
The organisation problem shows also shows with the fact that out of the 13, 319 men on the force, only 1,383 officers were available at any one time.
Overall, I believe that the policing in Whitechapel didn’t really concentrate on the right things, and because of this found themselves very unprepared when they were faced with a crime as terrible as those of Jack the Ripper. They ruined any potential evidence or clues and were unsure about how to act in the situation they found themselves in.
5. From what I have read, previously discussed and from what I learnt from the tour I don’t believe that Jack the Ripper came from the Whitechapel area. Although it is possible, I don’t believe that Whitechapel was an area capable of producing somebody competent of committing the gruesome crimes attributed to Jack the Ripper.
Whitechapel was an area full of practically penniless immigrants who had received very little or no education. Based on the facts produced, I believe that Jack the Ripper was a fairly well established man with a good education. Although most of the inhabitants may have been on the wrong side of the law, they were “more likely to commit crimes outside of the area”. I think that had Jack the Ripper of lived in Whitechapel, it would’ve been very difficult for him to go so unnoticed. Although it is believed he was quite a quiet, personal man who kept himself to himself, I think this may have brought even more suspicion to himself. Based on the theory that Jack the Ripper was a well educated and fairly established man, it is unlikely that he would be living in an area with such a “very low standard of living”.