Eine Begleiterin der Menschheit / A Companion of Mankind
Prostitution seems to be as old as humanity itself and is consequently not described as the «oldest profession» without cause. This anthology is an interdisciplinary, chronological and regional extensive approach to analyze the phenomenon. It provides a broad historical, sociological, cultural, and gender perspective on prostitution for the academic as well as the interested reader alike. It examines the role of prostitutes in society, the reception of the profession per se and the conditions due to which it is established.
Dealing with Scandalous Women in Colchester, 1850–1900
We all know the character of garrison towns, and we all know that where there are soldiers there will be camp followers.1
This chapter examines how the English market town of Colchester responded to the presence of an increasing number of prostitutes and the associated health and crime problems after a garrison for 5,000 men was established there in 1856.2 The research is built upon a database of 340 women described in the primary sources as “prostitute” or “unfortunate”.3 Under the Contagious Diseases Acts (CDAs) of the 1860s, Colchester was one of the eighteen designated towns where a lock hospital was built to incarcerate diseased prostitutes.4 The lock hospital appears on the 1871 and 1881 censuses and several of its medical officer and hospital chaplain reports exist.5 The database contains details of other crimes committed by the women or in their presence (as witnesses or victims), the information mostly drawn from the borough court records and from court reports printed by local newspapers. Several coroner inquests also give extraordinary details of the women’s lives prior to their untimely death. Nearly half of the 300 women have been traced in several consecutive censuses. Many of them were born in Colchester or its locality into working class families. Prostitution, for some, was a strategy used to survive teenage poverty, to acquire a husband or to support an addiction to alcohol. Some managed to outlive their prostitute years and to marry and raise children. But they lived...
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