1883: Tough Times for Victorian Prostitute

CANNOT MEND – Mary Roberts, alias “Zulu,” was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Mardol [Shrewsbury], on Saturday night.

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Police-constable Lloyd proved the case. He found the prisoner drunk and shouting that she wanted her shilling. She was drunk and very violent, and on the way to the Police Station lay down, PC Lloyd had to get assistance.

zulu prostitute Wellington Journal - Saturday 04 August 1883
Wellington Journal – Saturday 04 August 1883

The Chairman:  Cannot you mend your life in some way?

Prisoner (very humbly): I canna mend it, sir.

The Chairman: Where do you come from?

Prisoner: Wroughton [Wiltshire], sir.

Chairman: Won’t your friends receive you back?

Prisoner: I have no friends.

The Chairman: Well, you have been here many times, and imprisoned and fined, but this does not appear to be a very bad case. You will be fined 5s. and costs.

ln reply to Mr. Walton, prisoner said she did not steal the shilling, but it was her own shilling taken away from her by a young man.

Mardol – Shrewsbury’s red light district

Mr, Leake , the Chairman, said the girl should not have been robbed of her shilling.

In answer to the Bench, the officer stated that all she would say when he asked her anything was that she wanted her shilling.

If he had known she had been robbed he would have assisted her to recover her money.

street view old police station
The old police station on Swan Hill in Shrewsbury

Shortly after being taken back to the Police Station a strange noise was heard in her cell, and she was found almost senseless, with a teaspoon firmly fixed in her throat.

victorian cell

It was extracted with great difficulty, but the prisoner was so exhausted that she had to be taken to the Salop Infirmary.”

prostitutes
Victorian Woman Mugshots from https://waywardwomen.wordpress.com

 


 

Sources:

British Newspaper Archive

Featured image is from the Wayward Woman blog

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