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HSY3055 - Murder and Mayhem: the London Underworld From the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Marc Brodie


Caulfield Second semester 2007 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


Murder and Mayhem: the London Underworld From the 18th to the 20th Centuries looks at London crime - from early highwaymen on its outskirts through to Jack the Ripper in the Victorian slums, to East End gangsters in the 1950s. It examines crime and criminals, and their representations, in the context of broad themes in the development of the city such as: social protest and a growing fear of the poor; immigration and racial conflict; the role of women; images of the "evil" city versus the rural idyll; and the growth of the popular press. Part of the unit will require students to gather and read both contemporary and recent evidence about Jack the Ripper "suspects" in light of these themes.


Students successfully completing this unit at a Third Year level will:

  1. Understand the background to our use of the term 'underworld' in relation to crime.
  2. Have a developed knowledge of the major social changes in London in the 18th to 20th centuries and how these affected crime, and its representation, in the city.
  3. Be able to assess and use a variety of primary sources in the construction of a historical 'case', and have improved written and verbal abilities to present a historical argument.
  4. Have a developed understanding of how historical context impacts upon the assessment of evidence.
  5. Have an improved ability to use technology, particularly the internet, for research and study purposes.
  6. Have skills in co-operative learning and presentation. 7. Have developed the ability to conceptualise and formulate a historical research question.
  7. Have developed independent research skills across a range of historical source areas.


Case study journal (Nominally 1000 words): 25%
Tutorial participation: 10%
Final case-study debate (Nominally 500 words): 15%
Class test (1 hour, nominally 1000 words): 20%
Research Essay (2000 words): 30%

Contact hours

1.5 hour lecture and one hour tutorial per week


A first year sequence in History or permission