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  • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

    I may be wrong, but it seems like this would be difficult to prove. Surely it must have been fairly rare for a middle-class or upper-class woman to have been working as an 'unfortunate,' or to have been labeled as such? Are there many examples of this?

    Further, of the 96 women whose occupation is listed as 'unfortunate' in the 1881 census, I'm not readily seeing any of them living with a husband, which also seems significant.

    I'm not suggesting they weren't working as unfortunates, but would they have been listed as such if they were married and living with their husband?
    As you know RJ and mentioned previously yourself, there were women involved in different 'classes' of prostitution (which is probably the way I should have phrased it), There were the streets and brothels of the West End where women like those associated with Charles Grandy aka LeGrande had their turf wars, usually well dressed and working from addresses in Portland Place and surrounding areas, no one would describe those women as homeless and destitute or of the pauper class? I have mentioned a few times, court records used the term "an unfortunate" and I have understood it to signify the woman was earning her living in the sex trade, Here is an excerpt from the court case of Charles Grandy with an illustration of the use that I was alluding to:

    Cross-examined by Grandy. I am not married—I call myself Mrs. Brown, it looks better—I am German—Brown is a nickname, my real name is Minnie Groser—I have been in England seven years—I have been doing what your wife did for a living—I am an unfortunate; I did the same before I came to England—I am twenty-five years old

    As I have studied Grande quite a bit and his history with West End brothels and Madams, bullies and bashers during turf wars relating to prostitution I am familiar with this case and I wouldn't call these women destitute. Perhaps these uses are just harder to root out. I just happen to know the case. I know Herlock posted a few examples also from the Old Bailey trials, it would be interesting to see if the term was only ever applied to those of the pauper class or was used in general terms, but it would take work to research the cases and the women it was applied to
    Last edited by Debra A; 12-19-2021, 01:50 PM.

    Comment


    • I looked through a few of the Old Bailey examples to get a better impression on the women’s individual circumstances.

      The case of William Latham accuse of pickpocketing on 25th April 1887:

      “…..the woman he is living with is an unfortunate—the landlord does not live in the house—I am caretaker—I have only ascertained since this, that the woman is an unfortunate, she only came there last November.”

      The woman isn’t named as she played no role in this case but she did have her own room and was clearly a prostitute.

      ​​​​​​…..

      The case of Annie Dempsey accused of pickpocketing also on 25th April 1887:

      MATILDA HINDER . “I am an unfortunate, and live in this house, 2, Eagle Street—on 20th April, between 2 and 3 p.m., I was with the prosecutor in a gin palace—he was the worse for liquor—he picked up some port wine and some whisky which was there.”

      “Mr. Jones was in bed—the prisoner is an unfortunate—Mrs. Jones is the proprietress of this brothel”

      So Matilda was a prostitute living in a brothel.

      ​​​​​​…….


      The case of Frank Kersey accused of wounding on 17th September 1888:

      Frances Coughlin “The prisoner did not support me—I am an unfortunate—Rodaman is a little girl who I have to run errands.”

      She was a prostitute who had lived with the accused for 5 months.

      ​​​​​​…….


      The case of Thomas Brown accused of robbery on 7th January 1889:

      One especially for Harry.

      SARAH WALLER . “I live at Cambridge Road, Norbiton—I am a single woman, and have no occupation—I get my living as an unfortunate

      According to Harry’s thinking she must have been saying ‘I get my living from being destitute

      She mentions that she was taking the accused ‘home’ to Cambridge Road, Norbiton, so at the very least it appears that she had a room.

      ​​​​​​…..

      The case of Charles Turner accused of murder on 4th March 1889:

      Another one for Harry.


      ELIZABETH CHARLOTTE BARNETT “ In December last I went to live at 3, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury—I was getting my living as an unfortunate girl—I took the rooms of the prisoner's wife, two rooms on the top floor”

      So definitely a prostitute who rented two rooms.

      ​​​​​​……

      The case of John Henry Guhee accused of wounding on 4th March 1889:

      ROSE ELIZABETH PAYNE . “I am an unfortunate, and live at 9, Rich Street—on this night I went up to my room about 10.30, and Anne Holding came up behind me”

      So Rose was a prostitute renting her own room.

      ​​​​​​…..

      The case of Luke Emmerson accused of murder on 8th April 1889:

      MAUD PEGLER .” I live at 19, Lamb's Conduit Passage, Red Lion Street, and am an unfortunate.”

      Maud was a prostitute with her own room.

      ​​​​​​…..


      The case of Amelia Demay and Charles Grande accused of extortion on 24th June 1889:

      Vallet Brown - I am not married—I call myself Mrs. Brown, it looks better—I am German—Brown is a nickname, my real name is Minnie Groser—I have been in England seven years—I have been doing what your wife did for a living—I am an unfortunate.

      Vallet was a prostitute. I haven’t read the whole long transcript but she was living at 35 Charlotte Street at the time of the crime so it looks like she had rented a room.

      ​​​​​​……

      The case of Catherine Page accused of coining offences on 13th January 1890:

      "I am an unfortunate girl. I had the half-crown given to me, and I wanted to get a night's lodging. I did not know it was bad.”

      Clearly a prostitute but living more in the way of the Nichols, Chapman Eddowes etc

      …..

      The case of Annie Wilson accused of coining offences on 15th December 1889:

      “I am an unfortunate woman; the money was given me by a gentleman; I did not know it was bad.”

      Now this isn’t ‘Unfortunate’ being used as a noun so it could be argued that she was just claiming to have been unlucky. But when she says that she was given a coin by a ‘gentleman’ it’s a reasonable clue I think. Her living arrangements aren’t mentioned though. Justice was harsh as she got 5 years for passing off a dud coin.

      ​​​​​​…..


      We can see from these that every single time that a woman was described as, or indeed described herself as, ‘an Unfortunate’,it very clearly meant that she engaged in prostitution. Most of these women at least had a room and so couldn’t be described as destitute although none of them were anything like comfortably off. At least one of them appeared to live the same kind of hand to mouth existence that the rippers victims did though and at least one was living in a house that functioned as a brothel. So although some Unfortunates definitely were ‘destitute’ many weren’t. Desperately poor….yes. Possibly at regular risk of being booted for late or none payment because of the precarious way that they earned a living though? We certainly can’t equate the phrase ‘an Unfortunate,’ with someone who is simply poor and on the streets. Circumstances appeared to vary from woman to woman. The well known Eliza Grimwood case from 1837 showed us a working prostitute with her own room, money in the bank, clothes and jewellery whilst living in a notoriously poor area.*

      So ‘an Unforunate” every single time without exception meant prostitute. Personal circumstances varied though.

      ​​​​​​…..

      * I don’t know if anyone saw the excellent programme by Giles Brandreth on Charles Dickens on Friday? He went to the rough location of the Grimwood case, recognisable from drawings. It was a location that inspired Dickens for the Nancy/Bill Sykes murder.









      Last edited by Herlock Sholmes; 12-19-2021, 04:06 PM.
      Regards

      Sir Herlock Sholmes.

      “A house of delusions is cheap to build but draughty to live in.”

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Debra A View Post


        Cross-examined by Grandy. I am not married—I call myself Mrs. Brown, it looks better—I am German—Brown is a nickname, my real name is Minnie Groser—I have been in England seven years—I have been doing what your wife did for a living—I am an unfortunate; I did the same before I came to England—I am twenty-five years old
        I forgot to add (for those not familiar with Grande, i.e. Grandy in the above clip cross examining the witness in court) that Amelia Demay, Grande's mistress who passed as his wife was reported in 1889 to have been several times charged with being a disorderly woman. I also made a note in the past that Demay's name was on the door at the Portland Street residence according to one source, a residence described as a brothel, but I don't have that source anymore.

        In 1887 Grandy was fined for assaulting Henrietta Pasquier (later described in 1889 as an assault on a prostitute South Wales Daily News - Saturday 25 May 1889)
        in a complicated case. Pasquier was reported as being "an unfortunte" Reynolds's Newspaper - Sunday 27 March 1887 and also by the Magistrate, Mr Newton as "an orderly but unfortunate young woman, who had never been charged in this court with accosting gentlemen or offending in any manner. ."

        Newton ordered Sgt William James to investigate Grande and in a later statement in court a few days made this conclusion " Mr Newton-Addressing the accused , said it was intolerable that the Court should be pestered with the complaints of such women and their male companions. The prisoner was evidently living upon the earnings of one of these women, and he was an impertinent fellow to write to the Commissioners of Police and even to the Home Secretary complaining of their conduct when he was receiving money from them." London Evening Standard - Wednesday 30 March 1887
        Last edited by Debra A; 12-19-2021, 04:39 PM.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Debra A View Post

          I forgot to add (for those not familiar with Grande, i.e. Grandy in the above clip cross examining a witness in court) that Amelia Demay, Grande's mistress who passed as his wife was reported in 1889 to have been several times charged with being a disorderly woman. I also made a note in the past that Demay's name was on the door at the Portland Street residence according to one source, a residence described as a brothel, but I don't have that source anymore.

          In 1887 Grandy was fined for assaulting Henrietta Pasquier (later described in 1889 as an assault on a prostitute South Wales Daily News - Saturday 25 May 1889)
          in a complicated case. Pasquier was reported as being "an unfortunte" Reynolds's Newspaper - Sunday 27 March 1887 and also by the Magistrate, Mr Newton as "an orderly but unfortunate young woman, who had never been charged in this court with accosting gentlemen or offending in any manner. ."
          Newton ordered Sgt William James to investigate Grande and in a later statement in court a few days later concluded that " Mr Newton-Addressing the accused , said it was intolerable that the Court should be pestered with the complaints of such women and their male companions. The prisoner was evidently living upon the earnings of one of these women, and he was an impertinent fellow to write to the Commissioners of Police and even to the Home Secretary complaining of their conduct when he was receiving money from them."
          Thanks for that Debra
          Regards

          Sir Herlock Sholmes.

          “A house of delusions is cheap to build but draughty to live in.”

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

            Thanks for that Debra
            Well this is a case I have been familiar with for many years so was able to recall the use of the term unfortunate applied to women of a different class than the homeless, destitute women of Whitechapel yet also refer to prostitution. I had this in mind when I posted " It wasn't a term only applied to a woman of the poorer class or a homeless destitute woman." that RJ picked me up on.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Debra A View Post

              Well this is a case I have been familiar with for many years so was able to recall the use of the term unfortunate applied to women of a different class than the homeless, destitute women of Whitechapel yet also refer to prostitution. I had this in mind when I posted " It wasn't a term only applied to a woman of the poorer class or a homeless destitute woman." that RJ picked me up on.
              In fact I posted about Amelia Demay being sent to Millbank in 1889 in post #39, the last post in this thread in 2013 in response to people telling me Millbank was shut in 1886 and not accepting prisoners, so Merrick couldn't have been right about any of the victims being there shortly before their murders (before I opened it back up again last week to mention Merrick's ideas about 'unfortunates' with post #40)
              So, it's probably a good place for me to step out again.

              Comment


              • Hi Debs,

                I realize this is splitting-hairs, but might one argue that Minnie Groser is being slightly disingenuous by referring to herself as an 'unfortunate'? She clearly is admitting that she is a prostitute, so you are 100% correct, but if the connotations of 'unfortunate' are softer and less accusatory than the starker word 'prostitute,' one might argue that she's also playing for 'sympathy'--a bit like 'crying poverty' or playing the 'victim' card. But perhaps I'm taking it too far and am looking for subtleties that aren't there.

                I've seen people argue over the term 'child prostitute' during the current Ghislaine Maxwell trial. Part of the problem is that some people seem to view the word prostitute as strictly clinical--those who conduct a sexual transaction for financial gain. They insist that there is no moral judgment connected to it. Others disagree. and insist that the term implies a conscious, deliberate choice, and maybe even a choice that is harmful to society. Thus, this second group argues there can be no such thing as a 'child prostitute' because a child cannot give consent. There are only child rape victims.

                These are difficult things to discuss, because, beyond the obvious, they can turn into political discussions or even religious discussions rather easily, and we see Mr. M at one extreme, and Ms. R at the other, when most of us are scrambling around somewhere in between.
                Last edited by rjpalmer; 12-19-2021, 05:47 PM.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post



                  I'm not suggesting they weren't working as unfortunates, but would they have been listed as such if they were married and living with their husband?
                  As married women often didn't work outside the house there would be no need for a married woman who engaged in prostitution to declare the fact on a census would there? But in this newspaper clipping below we can see a woman thought to be engaged in prostitution and a point made of the fact she is married but still an unfortunate.
                  Perhaps there's no one, Ripperologist or historian who isn't paddling in the shallow end of this subject. I would attempt a dive in the deeper water but I'd probably belly flop. And I've just discovered something really intriguing that I need to follow up urgently.

                  A shocking tragedy was discovered yesterday morning at Newcastle-on-Tyne, on the Town Moor, an extensive area of grass land at the north end of the site. Shortly after 4 o'clock the body of Annie Harding aged 32, a married woman, but an unfortunate, was found by a man who was taking his cows to pasture. Her throat was cut in such a way that death must have been almost instantaneous and she had evidently been dead several hours. She was seen on Saturday night going towards the Town Moor with a man. The police have no clue to the murderer.
                  July 2, 1894 Exeter and Plymouth Gazette

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                    Hi Debs,

                    I realize this is splitting-hairs, but might one argue that Minnie Groser is being slightly disingenuous by referring to herself as an 'unfortunate'? She clearly is admitting that she is a prostitute, so you are 100% correct, but if the connotations of 'unfortunate' are softer and less accusatory than the starker word 'prostitute,' one might argue that she's also playing for 'sympathy'--a bit like 'crying poverty' or playing the 'victim' card. But perhaps I'm taking it too far and am looking for subtleties that aren't there.

                    I've seen people argue over the term 'child prostitute' during the current Ghislaine Maxwell trial. Part of the problem is that some people seem to view the word prostitute as strictly clinical--those who conduct a sexual transaction for financial gain. They insist that there is no moral judgment connected to it. Others disagree. and insist that the term implies a conscious, deliberate choice, and maybe even a choice that is harmful to society. Thus, this second group argues there can be no such thing as a 'child prostitute' because a child cannot give consent. There are only child rape victims.

                    These are difficult things to discuss, because, beyond the obvious, they can turn into political discussions or even religious discussions rather easily, and we see Mr. M at one extreme, and Ms. R at the other, when most of us are scrambling around somewhere in between.
                    Well, yes, RJ. But isn't that the whole point of a euphemism?
                    I thought that was the discussion I had been involved in-whether or not the term 'unfortunate' was a euphemism for 'prostitute'-while simultaneously defending myself against the insinuation that I am branding all women of the pauper class a prostitute by saying that, because someone refuses to accept 'unfortunate' and not 'pauper' was a euphemism for prostitute!

                    As far as Minnie Groser goes, she was telling Grandy himself (when he was allowed to cross examine her as a witness against him in the CCcourt) that she had the same occupation as his wife Demay, when she described herself as an unfortunate - and with Sergeant James declaring "Demay has been getting her living as a prostitute" in the same trial, I don't think anyone was fooled

                    Anyway, I wish a Merry Christmas to you and everyone else involved in the thread. It's been another eye-opener.


                    Comment


                    • Nowhere have I seen the C5 referred to as members of The Frail Sisterhood.

                      A safe, warm Christmas to everyone.

                      Simon.
                      Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

                      Comment


                      • Hi Simon,
                        The Star on 1, October 1888.
                        "She was a familiar figure at the Thames Police-court, where she occasionally fell down in the dock in one of the epileptic fits to which she was subject. She sometimes went in the name of Fitzgerald, and was known, in the expressive nomenclature of her frail sisterhood as "Epileptic Annie," or "Long Liz."



                        Merry Christmas to you and yours,

                        JM

                        Comment


                        • Hi Jonathan,

                          Thank you.

                          You win some, you lose some.

                          "Epileptic Annie," eh? Some of her customers must have thought the earth was moving.

                          A safe, warm Christmas to you and yours.

                          Simon
                          Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by jmenges View Post
                            Hi Simon,
                            The Star on 1, October 1888.
                            "She was a familiar figure at the Thames Police-court, where she occasionally fell down in the dock in one of the epileptic fits to which she was subject. She sometimes went in the name of Fitzgerald, and was known, in the expressive nomenclature of her frail sisterhood as "Epileptic Annie," or "Long Liz."



                            Merry Christmas to you and yours,

                            JM
                            "Epileptic Annie"
                            Sounds suspiciously like "hippy lip Annie" to me.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Debra A View Post

                              Anyway, I wish a Merry Christmas to you and everyone else involved in the thread. It's been another eye-opener.
                              Merry Christmas.

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                              • Originally posted by Debra A View Post
                                Anyway, I wish a Merry Christmas to you and everyone else involved in the thread. It's been another eye-opener.
                                Indeed. I also wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year, may all your dreams come true.
                                ~ All perils, specially malignant, are recurrent - Thomas De Quincey ~

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