W.T. Stead
November 21, 2004 7:42 AM   Subscribe

W.T. Stead. 'Victorian England's most sensational newspaper editor'.
posted by plep (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
a very interesting guy--thanks--Stead, however, was undeterred by such criticism, and in 1885, he wrote the most sensational exposé of his career. Acting with the Salvation Army, he uncovered a trade in child prostitution in the London underworld. He was shocked to find that the government knew of the problem but turned a blind eye to protect the trade's wealthy clientele.
Enraged, Stead exposed the whole business under the sensational title "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon." The story opened respectable society's eyes to the world of London vice — stinking brothels, fiendish procuresses, drugs, and padded rooms, where vicious upper-class rakes could enjoy to the full "the exclusive luxury of revelling in the cries of an immature child."
The public outcry was unprecedented, hysterical even, and the government was forced to enact the Criminal Law Amendment Bill...

I recently read a novel concerning that: Mr. Timothy, by Louis Bayard (it's a grownup Tiny Tim, and he gets entangled with it)

It seems tho, that he was tame compared to Hearst's excesses.
posted by amberglow at 9:08 AM on November 21, 2004

Wow, this description of the United States of Europa is only 100 years and two world wars early.
posted by sebas at 10:27 AM on November 21, 2004

That's one rich site. I can't believe I've read as much Victorian literature as I have, and never stumbled across this. What a fine rage against sexual moral hypocrisy. Dead men's bones and rottenness is a phrase that will stay with me.

It's stirring to imagine a respectable gentleman reading his paper the morning after an alley tryst and encountering these lines:

The existence of a hell has been somewhat disputed of late. As long as women are sacrificed to the lusts of men, so long will a hell be absolutely indispensable, if divine justice has to be more than a miserable sham.

Thanks, plep, for introducing those of us who did not have the pleasure to Mr. Stead's acquaintance.
posted by melissa may at 11:04 AM on November 21, 2004

I'm currently obsessed with all things Victorian, so this is fascinating stuff. Thanks!
posted by eatcherry at 12:49 PM on November 21, 2004

Wow. In addition to all the cool stuff about this guy Stead (is there anything they missed?), I gotta applaud the style. Very nice application of the pseudo-Victorian-webpage concept, without tipping over into silliness. The blocks of type against faded photos is the kind of touch that seems like it shouldn't work, but does. Very well put-together. Thanks again, plep.
posted by soyjoy at 9:22 PM on November 21, 2004

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