Prostitution in the Victorian era

Prostitution in 19th century was very popular activity called “The Great Social Evil”. Only in London there were 50.000 prostitutes and by 1851 census showed that the population of Great Britain was roughly 18 million and his meant that roughly 750,000 women would remain unmarried simply because there were not enough men.

These women came to be referred to as “superfluous women” or “redundant women”, and many essays were published discussing what, precisely, ought to be done with them.

While the Magdalene Asylums had been “reforming” prostitutes since the mid-18th century, the years between 1848 and 1870 saw a veritable explosion in the number of institutions working to “reclaim” these “fallen women” from the streets and retrain them for entry into respectable society — usually for work as domestic servants.

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AUSTRIA - JANUARY 01:  "Graben" nymph: Viennese prostitute posing. Carte-de-visite-photography. About 1865.  (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images) ["Grabennymphe": Wiener Prostituierte in Pose. Carte-de-visite-Photographie, um 1865.]

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