Chamberlain, Kerry (2013) ‘Hardened offenders’, ‘respectable prostitutes’ and ‘good-time girls’: the regulation, representation and experience of prostitution in interwar Liverpool. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Between 1919 and 1936 proceedings for solicitation in Liverpool fell by 98%, with the city having gone from accounting for 17.5% of street prostitution in England and Wales to just 0.3% between these years. So infrequent were arrests against street prostitution by the mid-thirties - for example, in 1934 there were just 10 arrests for solicitation compared to 733 in 1919 - that from 1937 solicitation and brothel offences appeared as an amalgamated category in the local criminal statistical returns. In the national context, proceedings for solicitation fell by 29% between 1919 and 1936, a considerably smaller but nevertheless significant decline. Indeed, this image of decline and improvement seemingly accords with the broader historiography of British prostitution which has tended to conceptualise the interwar period as one of relative stability sandwiched between the upheaval of the First and Second World Wars and emerging from the shadows of Victorian depravity. Crucially, however, in the midst of continued decline prostitution garnered intense political and public attention in Britain throughout the interwar period, crystallised nowhere more palpably than in the establishment of the Street Offences Committee in 1927, the first serious review of prostitution legislation since the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts in the late-nineteenth century. Whilst the past five years have seen the emergence of the first sustained studies of interwar prostitution, the historiography remains geographically limited to London. This thesis offers the first sustained study of prostitution in interwar Liverpool. Through a close reading of Liverpool’s court registers it also marks the first critical examination and ultimately challenge of this concept of decline. In moving beyond the smokescreen of improvement it exposes the period as a complex and distinct moment in the history of British prostitution, and one which allows us to make sense of why at the very time the offence rates were showing unprecedented decline prostitution never strayed far from the political, legal and cultural agendas.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Originally available via intralibrary 2013
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2017 11:46
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2017 11:46

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