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Selling Sex: Women, Work and Prostitution

  • Julia Laite
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)

Abstract

Mary’s husband, a collier by the name of Davies, was killed in the early 1880s in an explosion in a coalmine in Wales, though it is unclear which one. There were some Davies among the names of the 102 men who died in the catastrophe that occurred at Pen-Y-Graig, just before Christmas in 1880, when the ventilation fans began sending explosive gases back down into the mine. It was joined by at least a dozen fatal mine explosions in Wales alone between 1879 and 1882, which killed well over 300 people.1 Neither can we say for sure how Mary, about nineteen years old at the time, felt about the death of her husband; we can only assume that it was devastating for her. Estranged from her immediate family, she went to live with a cousin in Cardiff, and it seems that it was there that she learned, probably through her cousin’s prior involvement in prostitution, that a young, bright and attractive woman could earn a fair amount of money selling sexual acts.2

Keywords

Ordinary Citizen Domestic Service Sexual Exchange Police Constable Social Commentator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    A.L. Harvey, ‘Prostitution in Cardiff in 1908’, Archives 25, no. 103 (2000): 117–22.Google Scholar
  2. 24.
    Lesley A. Hall, Hidden Anxieties: Male Sexuality, 1900–1950 (Cambridge, 1991), pp. 51–3.Google Scholar
  3. 27.
    G.P. Merrick, Work among the Fallen as Seen from the Prison Cell (London, n.d. [c. 1891]), pp. 22–5.Google Scholar
  4. 28.
    Hermann Mannheim, Social Aspects of Crime in England between the Wars (London, 1940), pp. 92–3, 266.Google Scholar
  5. 34.
    W.T. Stead, ‘The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon’, Part II, Pall Mall Gazette, 7 July 1885.Google Scholar
  6. 37.
    Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, trans. Martin Milligan (Moscow, 1959), 15, 10.Google Scholar
  7. 45.
    Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor: Volume IV: Those Who Will Not Work (London, 1967), p. 224.Google Scholar
  8. 97.
    Sidney Webb, ‘The Social and Economic Causes of Vice’, in The Nation’s Morals (London, 1925), pp. 206–18.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Julia Laite 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Laite

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