Chapter

“Patented Villains”

Frances Finnegan

in Do Penance or Perish

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780195174601
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849901 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195174601.003.0002
“Patented Villains”

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There were alarming estimates on prostitution in Britain throughout the nineteenth century. This chapter presents the history of the Female Penitentiary system in England from its beginnings in the 1750s. The issue of continued demand for prostitutes was barely confronted, so absorbed were moralists with the disgraceful and more visible evidence of supply. Thus, Rescue Workers insisted on individual moral (rather than radical social) reform. The Homes themselves had little impact on prostitution over the period. The term “patented villains” might, perhaps, more aptly be applied to those engaged in Rescue Work, than to the “loathsome sinners” they empowered themselves to save.

Keywords: prostitutes; moralists; Rescue Workers; Female Penitentiary system; prostitution

Chapter.  5119 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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