Download PDF by Gavin Weightman: The Case of the £5 Virgin: The true story of a Victorian

By Gavin Weightman

In 1885, the editor of a London night newspaper released an account of a woman of 13 being offered by way of her mom to a brothel the place her virginity will be hugely prized by way of one of many capital’s many sexual predators. Already demonstrated as a campaigning journalist, the editor W. T. Stead, claimed within the Pall Mall Gazette that he may vouch for the reality of this stunning tale and that it was once no longer in any respect strange. Impoverished moms in London mostly offered their daughters to brothels and inspiration not anything of it.

Stead’s audacious scoop used to be telegraphed around the globe and greeted with applause by way of ethical purity campaigners and disgust and disbelief through such a lot rival newspapers. What grew to become referred to as the tale of the £5 virgin — the associated fee Stead claimed that were paid for the woman he known as Lily — was once a sensation, one of many maximum scandals of the Victorian period. Stead seemed it because the top of his journalistic fulfillment A century after his dying within the huge catastrophe he's nonetheless hailed as a pioneer of investigative journalism.

But used to be the tale Stead instructed a “put up activity” because the playwright George Bernard Shaw judged it? With meticulous detective paintings, Gavin Weightman has pieced jointly what relatively occurred. In doing so he finds in a wealthy narrative the reality approximately vice in Victorian London, a truth very various from that conjured up within the salacious mind's eye of W. T. Stead. on the center of the tale is an blameless Cockney lady who not just survived a distressing ordeal yet who stumbled on immortality because the version for Eliza Doolittle in Shaw’s witty references to the £5 virgin in his most well liked play Pygmalion.

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The Case of the £5 Virgin: The true story of a Victorian scandal by Gavin Weightman

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