Hampshire Chronicle : Monday 3 April 1775
This day about noon James Fitzgerald and Joseph Bayles, the two convicts who received sentence of death at the Winchester Assizes, for breaking open the dwelling house of Mr Daniel Tribe, watchmaker and silversmith at Portsmouth, in the night time, and stealing plate and other things, were executed pursuant to their sentence. Fitzgerald was a native of Ireland, and was in the marine service and Bayles was a sailor on board the Centaur man of war, at Portsmouth. The vicinity of Portsmouth Point to the station of their ship gave them an opportunity of forming acquaintance among the most wanton prostitutes, which they did, notwithstanding Bayles had a wife and child. They both acknowledged the justness of their sentence, but declared to the Ordinary that attended them, that neither of them had ever before been guilty of any particular crime more than is common among men in their situation in life; that being in company with several lewd women, and getting very much in liquor in the evening before they committed the above crime, was the cause of their committing it, and that neither of them were more than 21 years of age. At the place of execution, after they had spent time at prayer and devotion, Bayles declared that his wife and child were innocent, and knew nothing of the crime he had committed, and that he hoped no person would throw any reflection on them, which he repeated twice over, and then said he hoped that every person would take warning by him, and never keep any worse company than themselves.
Northampton Mercury : Saturday 15 January 1791
Portsmouth. January 7 : Last night and this morning, Mr Barney, Coroner for this district, and his jury, sat on the body of John White, a seaman belonging to the Hebe frigate, who was found murdered at the Back of the Point; and, after a very strict and attentive investigation of the business, brought in a verdict of ; Wilful murder by some person or persons unknown.
This is the second murder that has been committed at the Back of Point in the course of a few weeks, and perhaps several others, so artfully managed as never to come to light. Sometime since the Magistrates, through the Town Clerk, applied to the Lieutenant-Governor to have sentinels placed in the above abominable sink of infamy, as on similar occasions, but this very proper and necessary requisition has not been complied with.
There can be no doubt remaining but the boatswain’s mate of the Royal William, and White, captain of the fore-top of the Hebe, both excellent seamen, were murdered in one of the brothels at the Back of Point, and from thence dragged to the embrazures on the beach; and there is every reason to dread, that others have been sunk with ballast in the sea.
Hampshire Chronicle : Monday 31 October 1791
Portsmouth Quarter Sessions
Four wretches from the Back of Point indicted for for an attempt to drag into their brothel two seamen paid off from a ship, with an attempt to rob them. Mr Miffing, counsellor for the Prosecution, described this infernal spot to be inhabited principally by females given up to prostitution, upon whom are entailed all the miseries and calamities of that most abandoned life; and besides these evils, he said, which seem only to affect those miserable parties, it is calculated in a singular manner, and damned with inhabitants ready and willing to execute the blackest purposes of the devil. he then went into the cause before him, which, however, he failed in bringing home, and all the prisoners were acquitted.
Bell’s New Weekly Messenger : Sunday 17 September 1843
A few days ago at Wandsworth police office, a poor woman, named Murphy, stated that on Tuesday, the 29th ult., one of her daughters, a pretty and interesting girl, left home early in the day to look for a situation, and that from date they had not seen her. After visiting every prison, workhouse, hospital and station-house, in the metropolis, with the least success, it was ultimately ascertained that the girl had been seen in company with a woman in the Wandsworth Road, and from what further transpired it appeared probable that the girl had been taken by her to Portsmouth. No doubt existed in the minds of the unhappy parents that their child had been decoyed away for an immoral purpose; and it was to obtain some little pecuniary assistance as well as advice, that would enable either Mrs Murphy or her husband to proceed to Portsmouth, that they made their case known to the Magistrates. Mr Clive said, he would allow her 10s out of the poor- box. The poor creature received the money with joy and expressions of unbounded gratitude, and left the court declaring she would never rest until she found her daughter.
A few days afterwards, Mr and Mrs Murphy attended to announce to the Magistrate the gratifying fact, that they had recovered their child, and most providently before she was contaminated. Mr Clive expressed his satisfaction, and asked where the girl had been found. Mr Murphy replied that he found her in one of the very lowest houses in Portsmouth, where there were from 15 - 20 juvenile prostitutes. He reached Portsmouth early on Friday morning, and having stated to the police the errand he had come upon, the inspector, Mr Wey, said he would accompany him and search every suspicious house in Portsmouth. After searching many houses without finding the object of their enquiry, they at last entered a large old house in Prince’s Street. This place was a complete rookery, and was filled with persons of the very lowest class, and in a miserably furnished room at the top of the house he discovered his daughter and the woman who had decoyed her from London. The narrator was here so affected as to be hardly able to proceed with his story.
His daughter flew him, crying out,”Save me, save me father.” The inspector then took the woman into custody and conveyed her to the station house. The poor girl told the father she was nearly dead with hunger, not having had anything to eat since Wednesday night. He, the father, soon procured her some food, which she ate with such ravenous appetite as left no doubt as to the truth of her story. At a later period of the day the woman was taken before the Mayor of Portsmouth, but after a short examination was discharged by that functionary, because the girl was above 10 years of age, and had been a consenting party in accompanying the woman; there had been no violence offered her, and the woman had not made away with any of her apparel. The Mayor, however, cautioned the prisoner as to her future conduct, and said he was well convinced for what purpose the girl had been decoyed from her home. The woman acted throughout with the most perfect callousness.
Sheffield Daily Telegraph : Tuesday 23 May 1865
According to a writer in the London Review, Portsmouth is by far the most immoral of our seaports. It contains, he says, 106 public houses, 203 beer - shops, and 10 coffee shops known as the resort of thieves, prostitutes and bad characters; 286 brothels, 1769 known prostitutes besides many women of suspected character, who do not, as a rule, come under the immediate notice of the police. Without noticing decimals, it is shown that in Sunderland profligate women average 2 in 1000 of all inhabitants; Bristol, nearly 3; Chatham, nearly four; Liverpool, nearly five; Hull, about the same; Sheerness, six; Dover, eight; Plymouth, nine; and Portsmouth, 20. “There is no use,” continues the writer, “in following the comparison any further, but it may be maintained that with the exception of Liverpool and London, there are, numerically, more known prostitutes in Portsmouth than in any other city or town in England and wales; and that one house in Portsmouth in every 23 inhabited houses is known to the police as a house for receiving stolen goods, as a house of resort for thieves and prostitutes, a brothel, or a tramp’s lodging house.
Dublin Medical Press : Wednesday 10 July 1867
Mr R W Dunn had recently been in Portsmouth, and had found that, whilst the lower class of prostitutes, who had been put under the Act of 1866, were remarkably free from disease, the genteeler classes of prostitutes, who as yet had not been registered, were severely diseased. He had been informed of this by a woman, the keeper of one of the richer class of brothels in the town.
Hampshire Telegraph : Wednesday 29 October 1873
At the end of the year there were 586 prostitutes known to the police and under police supervision, and about 190 brothels in the Portsmouth district.
Portsmouth Evening News : Thursday 13 February 1913
Although little is heard of the Portsmouth and South Hants Industrial School at Waterlooville, it will gratify many to learn that its work is still being carried on with complete success. The school was established some years ago as home for little girls found in brothels in Portsmouth, an Act having been passed giving the authorities power to take such action out of their evil surroundings. Thanks to the vigilance of the police it was not long before every girl of tender years found in Portsmouth brothels was sheltered at the Home, and it is now so rare to find on in the borough that the school authorities are able to receive cases from London or elsewhere. The girls, of whom there are 36 now in residence, are trained for future usefulness, and are either sent into service or sent out to Canada under proper supervision.
Prostitutes / Unfortunates / Portsmouth Polls
Portsmouth Times and Naval Gazette : Saturday 10 October 1863
Jane Bailey, an unfortunate, who had been twice before convicted, was charged by Pc Stone, with being drunk and using obscene language, in Broad Street. Stone having proved the charge, Mr Garrington said by the charge books before him, he saw that the defendant had been twice before convicted. He did not know who the Magistrates were upon her last conviction, but by sentencing her to only three days hard labour, they had evidently taken a very lenient course, in order to give her another chance. He would see what a heavier punishment would do and sentenced her to 21 days’ imprisonment with hard labour.
Hampshire Telegraph : Saturday 24 March 1866
Jane Bruce, a prostitute, was charged with drunk and disorderly in Penny Street, between four and five o’clock yesterday afternoon. Police Constable Harvey said that the prisoner came to the court door when the business was over and said that she was a witness for Mary Ann Shuguro. She was drunk and was making use of very bad language, and upon this being repeated when removed to the street, she was taken into custody. The defendant was very violent, she struck the Officer several times, kicked him, tore his coat, and was altogether so violent that she had to be placed on a small hand-truck to be taken to the Station. The defendant, who conducted herself with considerable levity, was sentenced to ten days’ imprisonment with hard labour.
Mary Ann Nevill, a prostitute, was charged with being drunk, swearing, and creating a disturbance about eleven o’clock the previous night in St Mary’s Street. The offence was proved by Police Constable King. She was sentenced to three days’ imprisonment.
Hampshire Telegraph : Wednesday 11 September 1867
Mary Ann Knight, a prostitute, was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Oyster Street, at twenty-five minutes to eleven last night, and was sentenced to three days’ imprisonment with hard labour.
Eliza Wilson, a prostitute was charged with being drunk and disorderly at the same time and place, and having been previously convicted, was sentenced to seven days’ imprisonment with hard labour.
Hampshire Telegraph : Wednesday 15 January 1868
Emma Hoar, a prostitute, was charged with making use of offensive language in Penny Street, shortly after ten o’clock last night. Mr Inspector Gibbs and Mr John Astridge, the governor of the gaol, proved that the defendant and another girl were swearing and creating a great disturbance with the soldiers, many of whom were leaning out of the barrack windows. Mr Wells said there had been many complaints of these women collecting in the rear of the barracks, and the Magistrates were determined, so far as they could, to put a stop to it. The defendant, having been previously convicted, was sentenced to 14 days’ imprisonment with hard labour.
Louisa Lynn, another prostitute, was charged with committing a similar offence, at the same time and place; but the defendant had never been previously before the court, was sentenced to ten days’ imprisonment only
Ellen Montrose, a miserable looking prostitute, was charged with being drunk and disorderly at half past twelve o’clock this morning in St Mary’s Street. Police Constable Brown, who had charge of the case, said he never heard a woman make use of such filthy language before. She was sentenced to 14 days’ imprisonment with hard labour.
Hampshire Telegraph : Saturday 29 November 1873
Harriet Wilson, a prostitute, was charged with using obscene language in Armory Lane, on the evening of the 20th instant, and was fined 20s , including costs, or, in default, seven days’ imprisonment, Mr Stigant remarking that it was the filthiest language he had had brought before him since he had been a Magistrate.
Hampshire Telegraph : Wednesday 3 March 1875
Jane Ward, a prostitute, was charged with behaving in a disorderly manner in St Mary’s Street on the previous night, and the case being proved, she was sentenced to 21 days’ hard labour.