The Shame of London: Prostitution and Panic in the Post-war Metropolis

  • Julia Laite
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)


On a sunny afternoon in 1950, Rosalind Wilkinson, a young sociological researcher based at LSE, sat upon a bench in Hyde Park’s carriageway, near the site where, in 1885, the crusade against prostitution and the sexual exploitation of girls and young women had sounded its most memorable battle-cry. Wilkinson was waiting nervously, trying to make contact with some of the prostitutes who frequented the park, but, by her own admission, was feeling more ‘like a prostitute’ herself, ‘isolated by a bank of trees from the body of people enjoying the park’.1


Police Officer Organize Crime Ordinary Citizen Arrest Rate Moral Panic 
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  1. 78.
    Judith Summers, Soho: A History of London’s Most Colourful Neighbourhood (London, 1989), pp. 210–11.Google Scholar
  2. 85.
    Jean Heal, ‘Outcasts in our Cities: Summing up “Women of the Streets”, the Report that Shocked Britain’, Empire News, 29 November 1954.Google Scholar

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© Julia Laite 2012

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  • Julia Laite

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