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Madam Cresswell (d. c. 1698) by Pierce Tempest, pubd 1711 (after Marcellus Laroon the elder) © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Cresswell, Madam (d. c. 1698), bawd and brothel keeper, of unknown origins, was made infamous by the slanders and libels of court wits and pamphleteers on account both of her prominence in the vice trade of Restoration London and her whig politics during the exclusion crisis. As a result her image was fixed by tory pamphleteers as a wizened old crone who would stoop to any ruse in order to corrupt the virtue of young countrywomen....

Article

Freeth, John [pseud. John Free] (1731–1808), innkeeper and political ballad writer, was born at the Bell tavern, Philip Street, Birmingham, the son of Charles Freeth, landlord of the Bell, and his wife, Mary. Nothing is known of Freeth's education or of his early years, although it seems that he was once an itinerant street ballad singer. Where and when ...

Article

Hampton, Elizabeth [Bess] (d. 1661), conventicle keeper and laundress, was perhaps of a family from Cuddesdon, Oxfordshire. She never married. She lived in Holywell Street, Oxford, round the corner from Wadham College, and on a direct route to Magdalen College, in a tenement leased from ...

Article

Jarrett, Rebecca (1846–1928), prostitute and social purity activist, was probably born in London on 3 March 1846, the youngest of thirteen children whose father had a rope-walk and shop off the Old Kent Road. Claiming public attention during just one year, when she was co-accused in 1885 with ...

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Solly, Henry (1813–1903), social reformer and founder of working men's clubs, was born on 17 November 1813 in the City of London, the youngest of the ten children of Isaac Solly (1768–1853), a trader and company director, and his wife, Mary, the daughter of ...