In the last few years of Queen Victoria's reign, life was pretty dreary for the British working classes. There was no welfare state and some women used to sell their bodies to help pay their rent, or even just to buy them a drink of gin. The East End of London was notorious for its prostitute population and many men frequented the streets in search of their services.
Under cover of darkness, anonymity was assured. There were no street lights in those days, merely gas lamps which were lit manually sometimes well after darkness had fallen. The fog, which descended regularly, assisted any visitors to the district in becoming almost invisible.Continued page 2/18