Level C2 – Lesson 92
The MET & Jack the Ripper
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In this free English lesson you will access:
- Dialogue in English (video format)
- Transcript of the Video in English
- List of Vocabulary
- Downloadable PDF of the lesson
- Comprehension Quizzes (3 to complete):
I) Interactive Video Comprehension Quiz
II) Summary Statements
III) Drag and Drop Quiz
- Grammar Practice: video tutorial(s) + interactive quizzes
- Pronunciation Practice: video tutorial(s) + interactive quizzes
1/ Dialogue in English (video format)
2/ Transcript in English
Lesson 92 – The MET and Jack the Ripper
Before 1829, law enforcement in the UK was often a source of public controversy due to the lack of organisation and efficiency. It was carried out by unpaid parish constables who were elected, and later appointed by the local justice of the peace. A parliamentary committee was appointed to investigate the current system of policing, the findings of which were utilised by Sir Robert Peel in order to standardise the police force by making it an official paid profession, organising it in a civilian fashion, and making it answerable to the public. By 1826 Sir Robert Peel had outlining a plan for six police districts to cover a 10 mile radius from St Paul’s, excluding the City of London.This was implemented as the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829 and the Metropolitan Police Force was established. The principal duty of the police was to be crime prevention (rather than detection) and the nicknames ‘Peelers’ and ‘Bobbies’ were adopted.
This new force superseded the local Watch in the London area but the City of London was not covered. Even within the Metropolitan Police District there still remained certain police establishments, organised during the eighteenth century, outside the control of the Metropolitan Police Office. The Bow Street Horse Patrol was incorporated into the force in 1836 and operated in the outlying Metropolitan divisions. The second Metropolitan Police Act 1839 converted the River Thames force into the Thames Division, absorbed the Bow Street Foot Patrol, also known as The Bow Street Runners, and extended the Metropolitan Police District to a fifteen mile radius. By 1839 all these establishments had been absorbed by the Metropolitan Police Force. The City of London Police, which was set up in 1839, remains an independent force to this day.
The Met have since notched up many victories including The Siege of Sidney Street (1911), the capturing and subsequent execution of Dr Crippen (1910) and the Brides in the Bath Murderer (1915), and bringing an end to the violence visited upon the public by The Krays (1968). Although there were a series of crimes committed in 1888 that have left the Metropolitan Police Force stumped to this day. Those committed by the killer known as Jack The Ripper.
The name originated in a letter written by somebody claiming to be the murderer though the letter is widely believed to have been a hoax.
In the years leading up to 1888, Britain experienced an influx of Irish immigrants, Jewish refugees and other Eastern European immigrants. As a result, areas such as the civil parish of Whitechapel in London’s East End became increasingly overcrowded. Work and housing conditions worsened, and a significant economic underclass developed. Robbery, violence and alcohol dependency were commonplace, and poverty drove many women to prostitution. These conditions saw a steady rise in social tensions manifested in anti-semitism, crime, nativism, racism, social disturbance, and severe deprivation.
Between 31st August 1888 and 9th November 1888, the bodies of five women were found, in and around the Whitechapel district of London brutally assaulted and mutilated. These victims, Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly, became known as the Canonical Five. Each of the killings were committed around the weekends and public holidays, and within a few streets of each other, leading some to believe that the Ripper was in regular employment and lived locally. The skill and accuracy of the mutilations led others to believe that the killer was possibly a doctor, a butcher or, indeed, somebody in possession of a high level of education, the populous aiming their mistrust at the upper class. As fear and paranoia grew, suspects included virtually anybody remotely connected to the case.
Over the course of the Ripper murders, the police, newspapers and others received hundreds of letters regarding the case, many of which claimed to have been written by the killer himself. Three of these in particular are prominent, the “Dear Boss” letter, the “Saucy Jacky” postcard and the “From Hell” letter. The latter being the most well-known. The handwriting on this particular letter differed from the other two. It came with a small box which contained half of a kidney preserved in ethanol. Catherine Eddowes’ left kidney had been removed by the killer and a later examination proved that the kidney was indeed from the left side, however, there was nothing to confirm that this particular kidney once belonged to Eddowes.
The name “Jack The Ripper” derived from a letter sent to Thomas Horrocks Openshaw, an English Victorian and Edwardian era surgeon, who worked on the case and was thus mentioned frequently in the press and became known widely among the general public. After he released the information that the kidney was from the left side, he received the personally addressed letter. The letter confirmed Openshaw’s findings and promised to send him further body parts. It was signed Jack the Ripper. The police and medical files referred to the killer as “The Whitechapel Murderer” and “Leather Apron” but the extensive media publication of the case and, in particular, this letter cemented the Ripper name.
Extensive newspaper coverage bestowed widespread and enduring international notoriety on the Ripper, and his legend solidified. As the murders were never solved, the legends surrounding them became a combination of genuine historical research, folklore, and pseudohistory. The term “ripperology” was coined to describe the study and analysis of the Ripper cases. There are now over one hundred theories about the Ripper’s identity, and the murders have inspired multiple works of fiction.
3/ List of Vocabulary of the Lesson
- Law enforcement
- Parish constables
- Justice of the peace
- A parliamentary committee
- The current system of policing
- To standardise the police force
- In a civilian fashion
- Answerable to the public
- Metropolitan Police Force
- Crime prevention
- To supersede
- An independent force
- To notch up
- The capturing and subsequent execution
- The violence visited upon the public
- To leave stump
- It is believed to have been a hoax
- In the years leading up to
- An influx of
- Jewish refugees
- The civil parish
- Housing conditions worsened
- A significant economic underclass developed
- A steady rise in social tensions
- Social disturbance
- Severe deprivation
- Brutally assaulted and mutilated
- Within a few streets of each other
- Skill and accuracy
- Aiming their mistrust at
- Fear and paranoia grew
- Regarding the case
- The handwriting on this particular letter
- Differed from the other two
- Preserved in ethanol
- A later examination proved that
- Mentioned frequently
- It promised to send him
- Medical files
- Extensive media publication
- Newspaper coverage
4/ Downloadable PDF of the Lesson
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5/ Comprehension Quizzes (3 to complete)
Interactive Video Comprehension Quiz 1:
Summary Statements Comprehension Quiz 2:
Drag and Drop Quiz 3:
6/ Grammar Practice (video tutorial(s) and interactive quizzes)
7/ Pronunciation Practice (video tutorial(s) and interactive quizzes)
- Related Pronunciation Video Lesson and interactive exercise(s):
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