‘Dirty girls and bad houses’: prostitutes and prostitution

Leanne McCormick

in Regulating Sexuality

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780719076640
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702666 | DOI:
‘Dirty girls and bad houses’: prostitutes and prostitution

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This chapter examines prostitution in Northern Ireland from 1900 to 1945. Judicial statistics show that the vast majority of prosecutions for brothel keeping and prostitution were made in Belfast, and that the majority of women who entered the workhouse classed as prostitutes were Catholics. The reasons for women entering prostitution were complex. For many, relative poverty encouraged the move into prostitution, whether it was the need to earn money to provide for the basic necessities or to provide for their children, or, for others, ambitions which stretched beyond poor wages and limited opportunities. The area of residence clearly played a very important part in both the move into prostitution and continued identification as a prostitute. The chapter also considers the impact of war and economic condition on the number of who sought refuge in rescue homes and in the workhouse.

Keywords: prostitution; Northern Ireland; brothel keeping; Belfast; workhouse; Catholics; poverty; war; economic condition

Chapter.  9573 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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