Sunday 20 March 2016

LCC Inspector's report into Collins Music Hall, Islington Green, 1890

With one or two exceptions this is a place of entertainment to which I would not hesitate to take my wife and family to. The only part of the programme that I object to is the skirt dance of Miss Alice Leaman. The high pitching of the legs and the continual twirling, with the hands, of her muslin petticoats is, to say the least, suggestive. This skirt dance gave such unbounded satisfaction to the audience that she had to appear again.
    Regarding prostitutes, it is satisfactory to report that in the gallery they are not to be seen at the bar or promenade. As far as I could make out the Superintendents insisted that females must be seat – a plan which if generally adopted would in my humble opinion greatly improve the moral tone of the London Music Halls and Theatres.
    I regard that I cannot report as favourably on the area of the Hall. this part is besieged by a goodly number of unfortunates of the better-clad sort. The bar, which is at the back, is supplied with side lounges and these are the hunting grounds of these women. I observed no importuning but it is not required with such conveniences. A tipsy young man will invariably drop down beside one of these females. If the Superintendents were as exacting in this part as they are in the gallery, this blot would disappear.
    I would draw the attention of the Committee to the existing condition of the WCs in the gallery. At the back is a promenade not too well lighted – having two dim gas lights and an oil lamp. At the back of this promenade are two WCs – the one for men and the other for women, the distance between the doors being some  seven or eight  feet. The entrances to these are in full view of the promenade, the bar, and the exit, which is close to the entrance. For the observance of decency on the part of the female sex, I would suggest that a door, immediately at the top of the gallery stairs, would suit the purpose and would afford females an opportunity of availing themselves of the use of the Convenience without being so much observed.
    I must again make mention of the touting for drinks that prevails in this and other music halls and also theatres in London. I don’t see why a person after paying for admission should be continually pestered by a waiter poking his nose in yours and shouting “orders please.” These men are paid little or no salary and naturally they try to make three-fourths of an audience order drinks, whereas if they were left to enjoy the performance, the liquor would not be thought of.

A Visit to a Music Hall (no.4)


By a Novice - IV.

If the reader will picture to himself a fine theatre brilliantly lighted, luxuriously fitted, magnificently decorated with crimson and gold, and crowded from roof to floor with an overflowing audience, he will have some idea of a celebrated West End Theatre of Varieties now paying over 100 per cent dividend to the shareholders. On the night of our visit the inevitable cigars were as usual in everybody's mouths, but a strange feature in the audience was the relatively large proportion of apparently respectable women as compared to their almost entire absence in Music Halls, and our puzzle increased as we speculated as to why, when and where, respectable women draw the line between West-end Music Halls and Variety Theatres, for the latter certainly carry off the palm for immoral tone, indecency, and intentional suggestiveness. Probably the very lady who recently boasted in a letter to the papers that she was very pleased for her husband to attention an occasional Music Hall, though it was, of course, an unfit place for her to accompany him to; would quite complacently imperil he own more valuable soul at a Theatre of Varieties. The obvious conclusion is, therefore, that in the eyes of society, the character of the entertainment itself is of less consequence than the character of the female portion of the audience attending it. Music Halls are reserved for the convenience of gentlemen and that special set of their feminine friends who they do not introduce to their female relations. The proportion of women is always, however, it must be remembered comparatively small; in fact, in London, the relative numbers of the sexes in places of amusement and places of worship is reversed. A further distinction is that, although the songs were of the ordinary Music Hall type, and those by no means carefully selected, the audience did not join in the choruses.

   "That's how he carries on;"

    "Don't you believe it, dear boys;
     How forward you are, I shall tell mama,
     But don't you believe it dear boys - "

and another, also addressed to men, given by the "Liquid Gem", a lady in whom impudence did duty for voice:-

    "You're artful, so are we,"
    "And the lodger will sit on the old woman's knee,
     And if you'll stand that, you'll stand anything - "

together with an equally choice piece of advice to "Get married on the hire system," will sufficiently indicate the style of song. There was a great deal of harmless fun over a cleverly managed political monologue, which drew forth howls or applause from the various sections of the audience, according as Liberals or Conservatives were hit. Beside the usual Music Hall jokes, acrobats and songs, a woman athlete performed marvels on a trapeze suspended to the roof of the lofty theatre. The exhibition was most objectionable from the element of danger and excitement introduced by the height at which the performance took place, but the immense muscular power displayed by a woman, must effectually have dispelled from the spectators any pet theories as to innate physical incapacity in the weaker, or more accurately speaking, the undeveloped sex.
     The main features of the evening were two long and very elaborate ballets, arranged by a well-known London manager, and a lady almost equally celebrated in theatrical circles. There were about eight children on, between the ages of ten and fourteen, who were mentioned as a special attraction in the programme. Some of the dresses were tolerable but the greater number violated every canon of ordinary decency and good taste; the dancing as a consequence became indecent "the display suggestive, and the personal attractions of the performers, "exploited for vulgar purposes and worse." Some of the most beautiful flowers were pressed into the service of this essentially unbeautiful exhibition; but robbed by the human beings who impersonated them of their most precious attributes, the violets of their modesty, the lilies of their purity, and the daisies of their simplicity. How decent women, with any pretensions to dignity and self respect could sit it out was more than we could comprehend, yet some of them had actually brought their young boys and girls with them! Little dreaming in their culpable thoughtlessness of the crop of tares they were thus sowing in their young impressionable minds.
    After the performance quite a crowd of men and boys waited at the stage door for the actresses and dancers as they streamed forth by scores with their painted faces, and more in the background were to be discerned in the dark corners of the shadowy back street various gentlemen on a similar errand. In front of the theatre the gaily-lit square and crowded thoroughfare swarmed with men of the better-to-do classes, and the unhappy women who exist to subserve their purposes. The road was blocked with cabs awaiting at the doors of the brilliantly illuminated cafes the pleasure-seekers as they retired from their sumptuous supper-tables. At one spot on the pavement a thicker knot of human beings was collected round one of the unhappy creatures whom the world has agreed to call unfortunates - her poor, painted, but handsome face was disfigured by a frenzy of passion, as she shrieked in piercing tones, "I'm a lady, and I won't be insulted"; and the mocking laughter of the crowd echoed with a fateful irony her impotent rage.
    The night was a dark and gusty one, and occasional heavy drops gave warning of an impending storm; but the crowds of handsomely dressed gentlemen and painted and bedizened shows of women surged on, heedless of the elements, and bent only on their unholy mission. It was as though we had see with Dante the vision of those spirits, the unhallowed victims of their own lusts, swept round and round in never-ending circles by the stormy gusts of their unchained passions.

Vigilance Record, September 1888

A Visit to a Music Hall (no.3)


By a Novice - III.

It chanced to be the evening of the Derby Day as we took an omnibus eastward, and having arrived at the terminus, and entered a second going in the same direction, we soon became aware, through our olfactory organs, by the blended essence of friend fish and burnt coffee borne to us on the perfume-laden breeze, that we had at least arrived in the Whitechapel Road. A third and final ride on top of a tram through monotonous miles of a long lobe unbroken level of discoloured, depressed looking dwellings, brought us close to our destination. 
    The Palace of Varieties of which we were in search is situated in the far east of London, amidst a vast stretch of low, squalid-looking houses, and stands out conspicuously by its relatively imposing dimensions and glaring lights from the surrounding gloom. Inside it is a small theatre; dress circle seats at a shilling were an allowable extravagance after such a journey, and owing to its being Derby night, and consequently there being an unusually small audience, we were fortunate enough to escape with less than half the customary fumes of drink and tobacco. How any human being contrives to survive asphyxiation on non-Derby nights would be a useful investigation for scientific men who assert that oxygen is necessary for the maintenance of life.
    The entertainment itself was very vulgar, the jokes low, the riddles coarse, and consisted largely of noise and rough horse-play. Some twanging Christies gave an excruciating rendering of the "Old Folks at Home," a new version containing a hit at Emigration, the whole concluding with a free fight between the "Old Folks," and the new folks who wished to make themselves "at home."
    A novel and to us striking feature of the entertainment was the jingoism which pervaded the place and which cheered to the echo such choruses as:

   "We've still got the men, we've still got the cash,
    We've still go the same old British pluck and dash,
    So let our foes beware, or we will make them stare,
    For there's life in the Old Dog yet."

sung with martial ardour by a warlike daughter of the regiment, dressed in crimson satin, in size a female Tichborne. This song and others of similar nature were levelled against - "those sneaking lot of cowards, the Russians" whom the audience vowed in chorus they would - 

    "Teach them to remember
      What British pluck can do," &c &c.

One began to comprehend, as one listened, how and whence the British armaments are recruited.
    The spirited goddess of war, having leisurely exchanged her martial uniform for a pink satin gown, condescended to the trivialities of more domestic sentiments; and we were favoured with the tragic history of a faithful though suspicious lover; chorus:-

    "O! isn't she a pretty little thing!
     I'll buy the wedding ring,
     And I'll take good care she never has a lodger."


    "She's been and gone and bolted with the lodger."

    Lodgers, we find are regarded by a large portion of the community, as persons of naturally depraved characters, by no means to be trusted, and to be scouted on all public occasions, more especially at Music Hall Entertainments.
    There followed one of the most painful exhibitions it has been our lot during our peregrinations to witness. A child, apparently of about nine or ten, got up in comic guise, singing with suggestive gestures coarse songs; concluding with a topical song on the degeneracy of the turf.
    The inevitable gentleman in evening dress, with his back to the stage, now announced the "Grand juvenile nautical spect-acle;" and the central table in the stalls with the announcement on it, "this table for gentlemen only" began to fill up, for was not the ballet about to commence? To the uninitiated the death of Nelson may seem rather an incongruous subject for terpsichorean representation, but they thus display a want of comprehension of which an audience drawn from the neighbourhood of the docks, inheriting the traditions and imbued with the glorious spirit of a warlike and maritime race, would not be guilty. The scene took place on the deck of the Victory, and certainly we must admit that if noise, and vulgarity and confusion, and incoherence, and Bengal lights, and banging of guns, and popping of fireworks could have killed Nelson, he must have died a thousand deaths before the final merciful release, when the charming young ballet-girl, who impersonated the great Admiral, fell mortally wounded but gracefully into the arms of the attendant officers, also ballet girls. Besides these dancers there were upwards of eighty girls and boys under fifteen representing soldiers and sailors and the rest, and four or five very small children. Here again our feelings were jarred by that want of reverence for childhood, characteristic perhaps of a teeming population, made so painfully evident earlier in the evening; the two youngest children, mere babies, were blackened, and kept the audience in a roar by their precocious tricks. Amongst other unpleasant features, causing  great hilarity, were the acrobatic antics of a human deformity, who climbed the ropes of the good ship "Victory" and stood on his head in the rigging. We were told by some of the audience he was a well-known dwarf called Blackwall Jack.
    At the conclusion of the "Nautical Spect-acle" we found our way to the dark badly-lighred street into which the stage door opened. The children steamed out; but were left to find their way home at nearly midnight as beset they could, there was no-one there to meet them. Later, one mother, a German woman, arrived and she confided in us her great anxiety about her girl of sixteen for whom she as waiting. She was not a bad girl, she said, but high-spirited and wild about the stage. She, in common with her other comrades of the ballet, got 3s. a week; it did not keep them in shoes; but they loved the excitement. It is a bad life for girls, she added, as we bade her good-night.

Vigilance Record, August 1888

A Visit to a Music Hall (no.2)


By a Novice - II.

Saturday night, the eve of Whit-Sunday, seemed a good evening to select for a visit to a well-known music hall in Paddington, patronized mostly by the poorer classes of society. Well-to-do people unconsciously get their views about the poor coloured by the police reports in the newspapers (as, it may be, the poor judge of the rich from the published accounts of divorce cases), and it must be confessed that I for one had some apprehensions as to the character of the entertainment at which my friend and I had imposed on ourselves the duty of assisting. [--sic--typo for 'assessing'?] Such fears, however, turned out not to be only an additional proof of the existence of that ignorance of classes other than our own in which it is the fate of so many of us to live and die. As a matter of act, on this occasion at any rate, the whole entertainment was immeasurably superior, in moral tone and decency, to that of the fashionable West End music hall previously visited by us and described in last month's Vigilance Record. Of course there was vulgarity, but vulgarity of a downright honest, homely kind, unseasoned by vicious jests or indecent allusions. Indeed, the audience seemed of a fresher and more wholesome type, more child-like in nature, easily amused, and readily expressing approbation or the reverse, but not requiring as did the educated gentlemen who formed the mass of the former audience, either vice or indecency to whet their jaded appetites.
    The prices of the seats ranged from 6d. to 2s. for reserved stalls, and on pushing through the handsome swing glass door leading into the pit, we found ourselves in the midst of a thickly-packed mass of working men, mostly standing, and all smoking short clay pipes. We made our way with some difficulty through the crowd to a side bench in front of a bar; from here we have a fairly good view of the "house", which was like a good-sized theatre, built in octagonal form. The performance had already begun as we took our seats on the wooden form, by the side of some clay pipes, with clay pipes in front and clay pipes behind us. As the evening advanced, the atmosphere became insufferable.
    The reserved stalls filling the parterre in front of us were chiefly occupied by quietly behaved decent-looking young men, with a sprinkling of entirely respectable women and girls, many of them shop-girls, who came in couples, in fact we could only discover one girl who might from her appearance be of doubtful character.
    Of women in the humbler ranks of life there were scarcely any, though their brothers and husbands and sons swarmed, and a factory girl, denoted by the unmistakeable scanty feather and thick fringe of hair, was a quite a rara avis; apparently poor women do not largely participate in the amusements of their male relations. The readiness with which the people inconvenienced themselves for their neighbours, and their true politeness to each other was remarkable; two men in front of us left their seats several times, and retired to the bar in order to replenish their glasses with porter, and although their places were immediately occupied by the bystanders, they were invariably cheerfully relinquished on the reappearance of those who claimed them; indeed all behaved well, and we saw no drunkenness or disorder of any kind, Owing to our position under the balcony, we had some difficulty in hearing the words of all the songs evidently familiar to the greater part of the audience who joined vociferously in the choruses; and in one song sung by a young lady, attired in scarlet satin, and vivid grass green silk stockings, interpolated a deafening shout at a given pause in each verse, which sounded like a Brobdingnagian "WHY?"
    Although we were treated to a very fair rendering of the Toreador's song from Carmen by a man with a fine baritone, the songs, as a whole, were certainly not meant to gratify refined taste; one of the most unpleasant being sung by a comedian who acted in character the part of an "unfortunate father," and deplored, with the naive irresponsibility of the British parent, the misfortunes showered on an innocent victim in the shape of seventeen daughters. The audience roared with gusto the chorus:

    Will any one marry my daughters?
    Will any one cart of the whole blooming lot?
    For I want to get rid of girls.

On the other hand, the same man sang a character song with great effect, containing a very visible and impressive moral; he gave highly dramatic sketches of the fate of the dishonest city clerk, the gambler, and the drunkard, and finally of the little actress, "Flo," who was betrayed by the fine gentleman in whose promises she had put her faith, and who ended her life by a fatal plunge off London Bridge. The entertainment was varied by acrobatic performances, conjuring, and some dancing of a comparatively decent kind. Having endured semi-asphyxiation for nearly three hours and a half - and as there was no apparent prospect of the entertainment, which began at eight, drawing to a close - we could stand the poisonous atmosphere no longer and made our escape into the reviving air. Never did London air appear so fresh and balmy to two poor mortals, and to us it was Spring itself, with healing on its wing, that we breathed anew. The night was a beautiful one, and we came out upon a very picturesque scene - the whole of Edgware Road turned a huge market, with stalls crowded with many coloured ware and lit by flaming jets of naptha lining the pavements, which were so thronged with purchasers we could scarcely get along. A quiet, patient, orderly, dowdy throng it was, absorbed in the paramount duty of purchasing food to sustain a life which, to the large majority among them must be one long weary grind. Here were whole families doing the shopping for the week-end, heaving inert-looking fathers, and wan-faced worn-out mothers, with tiny children in their arms of dragging at their hands. The things seemed to us marvellously cheap, from the bonnets and hats and second-hand clothing to the disorderly piles of paper-covered books - (by the way, why does not the S.P.C.K. get its rival penny dreadfuls on to these stalls?) - bacon, vegetables, fish, periwinkles, and flowers in profusion: as many beautiful pink tulips as you could hold for one penny. We were investing when my friend noticed a poor, pinch-faced woman gazing with long eyes at the bright flowers; she said to her, "They are very pretty, aren't they?" and the poor thing replied with such a depth of yearning in her voice, " 'Deedm an' they are, mam; I was just thinking whether I could get a ha'porth." "Of course you shall," was the reply; "which would you like?" "Oh, mam, something a bit green, please." As I turned I caught the exquisite smile of voiceless gratitude which lit up the poor wan face as she shook hands with her unknown friend. The glory of the earth's spring was never perhaps to rejoice her sad eyes, but into her heart at that moment the power of the spirit, which is of the spring entered; and we felt that our evening had not been spent wholly in vain.

Vigilance Record, July 1888

A Visit to a Music Hall (no.1)


By a Novice - I.

The saying that the man who writes the ballads of the nation is a greater power than he who makes it laws may be applied with equal truth to the men who provide its amusements. The power of the individuals mostly unknown who cater for the entertainment of the public is indeed immeasurably greater than that of the legislators enthroned in Westminster. A very large proportion of the electors of the country frequent at some time or other place of amusement, there they receive the food in the shape of the pleasurable excitement which they go for, in so far does it go to form part of their characters, whether they forget all about it in the next hour or not, just as surely as the dinner they ate last year went to build them up physically. The amusement managers therefore have direct influence in the formation of the characters in the individuals constituting the nation, whilst the legislators merely formulate and organize the collective opinions which are the result expressed in votes of these characters.
    It was perhaps with some such thoughts in our minds that my friend and I started off down Regent Street one evening this Spring for a well-known place of amusement. Being mere novices, we somehow at 8.30 found ourselves somewhere else, but fortunately at the doors of another notorious music hall, which would do equally well for the purpose of our researches. We entered, not it must be confessed without some inward trepidation, my friend emphasising the request that I should take the tickets by the doubtful compliment that I looked "the most like it". Having invested in shilling places, we passed into a large luxuriously fitted building, like a theatre built square; the space in which we found ourselves, beneath the dress circle, formed a promenade, and was fitted like a restaurant. We were informed by an old official in French uniform at the door, that if we wanted seat we must apply to the waiter who was at that moment engaged in paying conspicuous attention to almost the only young girl to be seen in this part of the hall. having received the expected tip, this amiable personage was enabled to discover the needful chairs at a table already overcrowded with smoking youths.
    The whole of the parterre (the stalls and a pit at an ordinary theatre) was fitted with luxurious plush setées, running at right angles with the stage and facing marble tables. They were occupied as the evening advanced by a great number of society young gentlemen, accompanied in numerous instances by ladies not in society, though we remarked one or two women amongst the company who were apparently quite respectable. The dress circle consisted entirely of small private boxes, a deux, price £1 1s. to £3 3s., which were filled in every instance by a gentleman with a cigar and a lady, generally young and pretty, in extremely decoletée costume. A strange feature to unaccustomed eyes was a gentleman, got up regardless of expense, in evening dress, seated throughout the performance in the stalls, in a prominent position, with his back to the stage. His duties consisted in announcing the name of the performer about to appear, whilst rigidly retaining his uncompromising attitude, as they he at any rate washed his hands of the whole concern.
    The entertainment began well enough: that is to say, although intensely vulgar, there was nothing morally objectionable in the first few songs, until we were treated to one sung by a man, describing supposed feminine indiscretions with the following chorus:

    "The poor little darlings they're not to blame,
    "They know that their mothers have done the same,
    "So why should we blame the girls."

     But even this was quite thrown into the shade by a song entitled, "A very different place," sung by Mr. M- , the last verses of which described how he had been invited by a cousin to visit her girls' school in St. John's Wood, and how on his arrival he found it "a very different place," the chorus being,

     "If in you chance to pop, I'll bet a crown  you stop," &c. &c.

Both these choruses were enthusiastically shouted by the audience.
    We read in The Indian Purity Trumpet "that several Hindoos were recently arrested and fined for singing indecent songs in Bombay theatres, the magistrate in passing sentence expressed his strong determination to put a stop to such conduct." British hypocrisy has indeed reached a climax when we exact from subject heathen races a morality to which we ourselves make no attempt to conform.
    The songs were followed by a coarse burlesque scene of a man who was the bone of contention between two girls; the man was finally chased up the stage by a dog, amidst delighted yells from the audience.
    A delightfully clever Japanese juggler, now formed a pleasing interlude with his marvellous dexterity. Then a pretty child who, we were told, was twelve, although her voice that of a child of eight, danced six or seven dances in succession, changing her dress, if her very slight attire may be dignified by that name, between each, with lightening swiftness.
     There was besides this an immense deal of solo-burlesque dancing of a very objectionable kind, which culminated in the appearance of a man, about 6ft 6in. high, attired as a ballet girl. This person was accompanied by a burlesque woman dancer, almost as objectionable as himself; they were both French, in which tongue they sang several comic songs. A shadow performance, also by a Frenchman, was very clever and interesting at first; but was spoilt by the vulgarity and indecency introduced into it towards the end.
     The whole entertainment concluded with some beautiful jumping by wonderful dogs; but the audience rose en masse and left as the dogs made their appearance. The simple grace and beauty of the faithful animals had no attraction for an audience whose tastes lay in a "very different" direction.
     The French say that John Bull takes his pleasures "sadly"; it would be more to the point if they said he takes it respectably, however questionable or unquestionable it may be in kind; his outward demeanour is irreproachable, whether he be assisting at a Church Service or a Music Hall entertainment. The present occasion was no exception to the rule; for, if homage was done to the goddess Lubricity, due respect was also paid to the great god Conventionality. About one-fourth of the audience consisted of women of light character; the remaining three-fourths of young men of every conceivable rank and condition in life, from those who could barely afford a shilling to those to whom a hundred would be of no moment; and one and all behaved with the greatest decorum and propriety throughout.
      As we followed the multitude out into the crowded thoroughfare, we overheard one young fellow say to another, "This is no place for you and me." Perhaps the calm peace of the midnight sky, looking reproachfully down with its clear shining eyes, may have brought to him the vision of a refined and simple home, sleeping far away amidst flowers and trees in the stillness of the starlight, the abode of pure-minded mother and sisters, whose hopes, and joys, and sacrifices, had centred for years round a beloved brother, now gone forth into the great world of which they know so little, and whose tender faith in him has been desecrated this night for the first time. Is it the beginning of the end? Or will the true manliness which uttered those words conquer? Who can tell?

Vigilance Record, June 1888

Saturday 19 March 2016

The Reeds and the Empire

Below is the full text of the LCC Theatres and Music Halls Licensing Committee's hearing on the Empire Theatre and Music Hall in October 1896. This was the third attempt by 'social puritans' to close the Empire at the licensing sessions. The theatre's promenades, notorious haunts of West End prostitutes, had been closed in 1894 on orders of LCC, but opened again the next year. (LMA ref.  LCC/MIN/10803)

[see also ]

[see also ]


Administrative County of London
Session of the Licensing Committee
Sessions House Clerkenwell
Wednesday October 14th 1896

W.B.Yates in the Chair

Transcript from the shorthand notes of Mr. E.Howard, 11 New Court Carey Street WC.


Empire Theatre of Varieties

Mr. Chairman: May I ask the gentlemen who appear in the next three cases whether there is anything fresh - whether there is any necessity to go through the evidence at great length?

Mr. Bailache: The evidence is of course of the same character as you have already had. The only thing is that being in reference to different halls I suppose it must be taken in some way. That is the difficulty I feel about it; that we can scarcely take it as read. There is the same class of evidence though  [186]  there would be different illustration of course.

Mr. Chairman: Any new points?

Mr. Bailache: So far as the Empire is concerned the notice there only goes to the promenade and so far as that is concerned there is no objection to the programme at all.

Mr. Gill: I ask the committee to recommend the renewal.

Mr. Bailache: So far as the Empire is concerned the objection is confined to the promenade and the objection to the promenade is the same that I took to the Oxford, that it is resorted to by prostitutes, not for the purpose of seeing the entertainment at all, but for the purpose of using it as I have described it in the other case as a market for prostitution. That is the full case against the Empire and it is to that point that I propose to direct any evidence. I feel of course in some difficulty about this case because you have heard similar evidence at full length in the case of the Oxford and I have not satisfied you in the case of the Oxford. My evidence in the case of the Empire is of a similar character. It is rather stranger. I fancy that it was in the case of the Oxford but still it is of a singular character and there is the further difficulty about it as I was reminded [187] by a member of the Committee, everybody knows that prostitutes do in fact resort to these places. That seems to be common ground to us all - they do in fact resort to these places. Now of course I have had a considerable amount of evidence that goes to that fact. I am bound to say Sir that I should have thought in the absence of very strong evidence to the contrary that it was also common knowledge that they did resort there for the purpose for which I saw - namely for the purpose of prostitution or bargaining for prostitution and not for the purpose of seeing the performance. I should have thought that speaking to a committee of businessmen in the City of London that was just as much common ground as the first point - that they did in fact resort there. Well, Sir, I only want to say this further. I want you to consider this. When you find that they go there night after night, I want you to ask yourselves, dismissing all humbug and cant about the matter - what on earth do they go there for if it is not for the reason that I have suggested? Now then, in addition to that, there is the positive evidence of my witnesses that they [188] have seen cases of solicitation and so on. Now I put those two things together and I ask the Committee to say that I make out my case. Of course, if you, notwithstanding that, say that you think it is a proper thing to license buildings with promenades in which this sort of thing is done, I am quite helpless in the matter. My clients have done what they consider is their duty in bringing the matter before you and they must leave it of course for you to deal with their evidence as you think fit. But I do not think that, having approved the Oxford, I need need not say a word more about the Empire. I will call my witnesses. They are the same as before.

--- Mrs. Reed called and examined by Mr. Bailache

You have visited I believe the Empire? As you did the Oxford, for the purpose of seeing how the place was conducted?


And I understand that so far as programme of the Empire is concerned you have no fault to find with it?


That reduces us to the matter of the promenades. As to the promenades have you been into them on several occasions since the beginning of this year?

On two occasions.

I think the first of these occasions was the 10th of March was it not?


Have you made notes of the times at which you visited?


If you will kindly take your notebook out you can see if I am right. Was the first the 10th March, and was the second the 8th of May: are those the dates?

They are.

Now then first a general question. You noticed no doubt as you did at the Oxford a lot of women in the promenade?


What do you say as to the general character of those women - what were they?

I should say they were women of [190] immoral character.

Did you observe whether they were there for the purpose of looking at and enjoying the performance? Did you notice that?

They were not: it was impossible for them to see.

Are the promenades there at the Empire so constructed that unless you happen to be in the front, or exceptionally placed, you cannot see the performance?

That is so, because the promenade goes round behind the back of the boxes.

And of course where it goes behind the back of the boxes you cannot see the performance in any case.

Not at all.

Are the drinking bars there attached to the promenade and at the back of it?

There is one drinking bar at the back of the promenade - on the promenade itself.

You say, these women were prostitutes; that they did not go there for the purpose of seeing the performance.


Will you tell me from your observations on the 10th of March what purpose they were there for: you say they were not there to see the performance: what were they there for as you gathered?

They were there to attract the attention of men.

I do not know whether on the 10th of March you saw any solicitation [191] of the women by the men, or the men by the women at all?

Yes, I saw a great deal. There seemed to be a lot of unsatisfactory bargaining. It was apparently unsatisfactory bargaining for noticed the women shake their heads - leaving the men, and then going after other men. I heard one woman say to man: "No, I cannot do it for that."

Then on the 10th of March was there the same drinking at the tables and at the bar as you deposed to in the case of the Oxford?

I did not notice so much drinking. Women are not allowed to go to the bar on the promenade of the Empire. They are allowed to sit at tables and drink but if they want to get drink at the bar they have to go away from the promenade.

Did you notice them drinking at the tables in the promenade?

Yes, but not to excess.

Then so far as the drinking goes, you did not object to that so much on the 10th?

Not on the 10th.

Were there some pictures or some thing exhibited at the Empire which necessitated a turning down of the gas?

Yes; that was on the 10th of March.

Did you notice anything different in the conduct of the women on the [192] promenade when that took place?

Yes they seemed to be rather freer - more abandoned - when the gas was turned down. A man who was standing next to me, when the gas went down, immediately turned to me and seized me. He put his arm round me, and pulled me by the arm - pulled me along with him.

That was when the gas was turned down?


Up to that he left you alone?

Yes, I had not noticed him.

Did any other man accost you at all that evening?

Yes, another man did accost me. I was alone in the dark. He held out his arms and offered to lift me up that I might see. I had great difficulty in getting away from the man that first accosted me. My husband and Mr. Barnes both had to come and push in between in order to separate us.

He was persistent as that was he?

Yes, very.

Then as to the number of women at the Empire: was that considerable?

Yes, I think one night between 50 and 70. I counted 50, and many came in later. One girl came in at half past 11.

The performance finished within a very few minutes of that?

Yes, very shortly afterwards.

[193] Are there two promenades at the Empire?

There are two. There is one above.

Do you speak as to both or only as to one?

Only as to the 5s. one.

Your evidence is given with reference to that?


Did you observe there the women coming in alone as you stated in the case of the Oxford?

Yes. I do not think I saw one woman come in with a man.

And as to there being prostitutes I suppose you have no doubt about it.

No, by their behaviour.

Did you again visit the Empire on the 8th of May?


With Miss Reed, I think, Mr. Barnes and your husband.

Not Mr. Barnes on the 8th of May - Miss Reed and my husband.

Then does you general evidence apply to what you saw on that 8th of May as well as on the 10th of March?


Then I may leave it in that way.

The Chairman: Leave it for Mr. Gill to cross-examine.

Mr. Bailache: Yes; I will shorten it as much as I can consistently with getting it on the notes. Did you overhear any actual cases of solicitation on that 8th of May?

[194] Yes.

Will you give the Committee any instance of what you heard?

A Frenchwoman was singing - I forget her name - she was singing a song and just then a man came up to a woman standing by and said: "I hardly knew you for the diamonds." "Oh," she said, "it is only a brooch my friend has given me." Then this Frenchwoman began to sing and he said, "I am going to Paris tomorrow." She said, "Oh, take me with you." He said, "No, I cannot afford it." Then they talked a little longer, and she said, "What are you going to do?" He said, "I am going to have a good supper presently." She said, "Give me one too." He said, "No, I cannot afford it. There has been a slump on the Stock Exchange." After a little more conversation she said, "See me home tonight." He said, "I cannot afford it, my dear girl; indeed I can't." "Oh yes you can. Your friend will lend the money." After a time he said, "Come and have a drink anyhow," and then they went off to drink together. It was loud conversation. That is not the only one.

On the same 8th of May you heard other instances I think?


Will you kindly give the Committee [195] any other instance you heard on the same 8th of May?

A man who was very drunk was staggering about really almost giving chase to a girl. I had noticed this girl a little earlier in the evening talking to another man who was trying to get her purse out of her. These girls nearly all carried their purses. She said, "No, it is not heavy enough." Then this drunken man began talking to her and she said, "No; besides you are such a low man. Go away, you dog." Presently he began talking and asked her to have a drink. She said, "No, I have had one God damn it all." Then he whispered to her and she said: "I do not believe you have got it." He said, "Yes I have any way you like." They went and had a drink. A little later another man was talking to her. He asked her who she was and where she lived. She told him. He said, "Shall we go now." She said, "Yes," and they went together. Then the little man who was drunk was reeling about the promenade, and I noticed several of the girls seemed alarmed - when he came near they jumped up hastily from the seats at the back of the promenade to get out of his way. He was talking [196] to any and all who would talk to him.

Did you hear a couple of other girls talking about a man who was present?

Yes, there were two or three girls standing in a group, and they were talking about some man near. "Oh yes, he is a very nice fellow. He always gives you a fiver" - and another man - "You should see his rooms - they are lovely - he wants me to go away with him from Saturday to Monday."

Were you accosted by a man on that occasion at all?

Yes, I saw a man. He was very offensive and he leaned against me with his shoulder behind my shoulder and he made some remarks about the heat or something of that kind, and I simply turned my back and got away from him.

I think you have exhausted your evidence as to those two night?

Yes; I have not been there on any other occasion. Of course, there were several other things on that night.

--- cross-examined by Mr. Gill

This is a case in which your husband has given the notice of opposition?

I believe he has.

Mr. Charles C. Reed?


Did you take him with you on both [197] of those occasions?

He went with me.

Did he ever go there by himself?

He went there without me but I think not quite alone?

With another lady, I suppose?

I think so.

With Miss Reed, perhaps.

Yes, I think he did.

Do you know whether he did or not?

Yes, I know he did.

Upon one other occasion.

Upon one other occasion.

And he has been there three times and you have been there twice?


And you did make a report in each case?

I think I did, yes.

With regard to both the nights.

I think so.

Could you let me look at your note of the 10th of March?

The original note is in my bag at the back there if someone will pass it up to me [note is handed to Witness]

Whom did you report to - to Miss Reed?

I am not sure. I do not think I did report at all on the last occasion.

The 10th of March?

[198] The 10th of March I think I reported at a meeting verbally.

Where did you meet?

At different places?

This meeting would have been at one place? Where was it?

I am not quite sure. I think it was at the West London Mission that one: we met at different places.

Who met?

The Committee.

Who were there?

The witnesses here, and a few others.

The witnesses that we have had in the other case?

Yes, and others.

That is to say, you and your husband, and Miss Reed and Charlotte Skinner and I suppose Mr Le Pla?

Mr. Le Pla no, but several others.

You mentioned some other name - a Mr. Barnes is it?


But was far as the Empire is concerned your visits there were two you have mentioned, and one other occasion that your husband went?


Would you let me look at your report of the 10th of March?

I am afraid if you want the original it is exceedingly rough.

How often have you written it out?

I wrote this original - that is all.

[199] Have you copied it twice?

I have just made rough headings in this little book that I might have it handy.

Is this the first time that you have done any work of this kind of visiting places for the purpose of reporting?


You have taken to it this year for the first time?


You went in separate from your husband?


You did that by arrangement?


You were desirous of getting evidence?

We knew we should be noticed if we went in together.

Why - because you looked too respectable?



Because it is not the custom for men and women to go in together, on the promenade.

Do you mean you were afraid you might not be allowed in, or what?

We knew one member of the Committee had been turned out.

Was that Miss Reed?


I have no doubt she is coming, She will tell us about that?


[200] Did you go in alone then?


So that you might possibly be taken for a woman who was not respectable?

Well we knew that the women did not go in with gentlemen.

Then did you go in alone so as to make it appear -

So as to look like one of the ordinary visitants.

Do you mean like a woman of disreputable character?


Did you dress yourself for the part?


Just as you are now?

I was not in mourning at that time.

You had light clothes on, had you?

Not very light, it was in the winter.

Smartly dressed were you?

As I dress ordinarily.

What did you do when you got into the promenade?

I did what the other women did.


I stood about, and I tried to see the performance, which they did not try to do.

Did you expect somebody to speak to you?


Did you wait for them to speak to you?

I hoped they would not.

Did you really?

Yes I did.

You hoped that no one would speak to you?


[201] Of course, if anybody did speak to you, you would have been in the fortunate position of having to report it to your Committee?

I should have reported if I should have been in a very uncomfortable position.

You went there in a measure to see whether you would be spoken to?


Did you not?


You did not suspect you might be spoken to?

No, I hope I would not really.

You really never suspected you might be spoken to?

I knew it was possible but I meant to do what I could to avoid it.

Not even after having talked this over with Miss Reed?

I had not talked it over with Miss Reed. I had not spoken about going.

I suppose you and your husband did talk it over together?

I expect we did.

Have you any doubt that you and your husband talked it over?

I know we have talked about the whole matter, but whether we talked specially about that visit I do not know.

This is the case in which he is the person giving the notice of objection?


Have you not talked it over a [202] good deal with your husband?

Yes, but I am talking about this particular visit.

After you go in I understood you  to say you stood about.


And tried to look at the performance?


Did you see the performance?

I could not see it.

That is the reason you did not object to it, perhaps?

There was too great a crowd.

Is that the reason you did not object to the performance, because you could not see it?

No, I did not object to the performance because from what I have heard and believe there is nothing objectionable.

I will just take this notice which your husband has given: "That the drinking bars and promenades are permitted to be extensively and habitually used as the resort of common prostitutes." Did you see any women at the drinking bar at all?

The women are not allowed at the bar.

You may have ascertained that since?

No, there is a notice printed up, "Men only."

Then no women are served at the bars?

At that bar on the promenade.

Perhaps you do not know what the terms of the notice of opposition were. "That the drinking bars were extensively [203] used by prostitutes." You did not know, perhaps, that was in the notice.

Oh yes, I knew that was in the notice. It says "Drinking bars." There is only one on the promenade.

There is no drinking bar on the promenade.

Yes - for men.

You mean at the back of the promenade?

Yes, it opens into the promenade.

In which men only go.


A place that is screened off?

I do not think it is screened.

There is a wooden partition?

No, not as far as I remember.

Did you attempt to go into that?


How long did you stay on this night of the 10th?

I believe until the end or nearly the end.

Always by yourself?

I do not remember.

Have you given us every instance of solicitation that you saw?


Did you make a note of any case of solicitation on the 10th? I will first read you your notes to see whether thing is expanded at all. "10th March. Empire. Mr. Barnes & C.C.R." Who is C.C.R.

My husband.

"Dressing room: painting apparatus; girl making lips red."

[204] Yes.

"Cheeky man then said 'Trade looks good.'"


Is that so?

I heard one girl say it to another, "Cheeky man just said to me, 'trade looks good'."

Was this a note that you made the same night?

The next morning.

Mr. Chairman: The morning after which day?

Mr. Gill: Was this the morning after the 10th of March?


Is this what you say is your note of the solicitation: "Evident bargaining unsatisfactory."


Will you just interpret these words "Evident bargaining unsatisfactory."

That means that there was evident bargaining, and much of it seemed unsatisfactory because the couples separated and tried again elsewhere.

Do you mean you inferred bargaining from the fact of seeing a man and a woman talking together?

I heard the men asking so many of them where they lived. One man asked a girl where she lived. She said "St. John's Wood." "Oh, that is too far," he said and went off to talk to another girl. [205]  As I  said, so many of the girls after talking with the men shook their heads and went away, still looking at the men. I remember one girl saying "No, I cannot do it for that."

Then did you go and walk close to them and listen to what was said?

It was impossible not to be close to them, there was such a crowd.

And you could hear these thing said?


Did you stay in that promenade during the whole time?

I went upstairs for a short time.

To the other promenade?

To the other promenade.

Before that, were you in the promenade downstairs all the time?


In the promenade?


You did not go into any of the place at the side?

I went into the dressing room only.

Then what drinking did you see at all?

On the 10th?

Yes, what drinking did you see there?

I said I saw very little drinking at the tables in the promenade.

What drinking did you see?

I saw very little.

[206] What drinking did you see at all on that day?

I really do not remember. I do not know whether I have made a note of it.

You did not see any drink at all, did you?

I do not remember. I said I saw very little. It could not have been anything that I could bring before the Council at all.

Afterwards did you join your husband to go away?

I expect he came to me and said, "We will go."

Did you talk this over with him?


Did you talk over what you had been doing?

We must have talked it over, yes.

Of course you did. Did not you talk it over?


Did you talk it over with him your experiences?


Did he make a report also?

I expect so.

Did he also write out some report?

Yes, he must have. I am sure I did not see him do it but still I am sure he did.

Did you go there on the 10th March by instructions or of your [207] own accord?

By arrangement - I think we arranged.

Now let me see your note of the 8th May. I may take it it you did not attempt to speak to any man in the place.


Or attract any man's attention?

I always avoided looking at them when I could.

That is to say you did not attempt to do anything of the kind, did you?


You knew when you went there on the 10th March that Miss Reed had been turned out for something of the kind?

I knew she had been turned out but not for something of the kind.

Let me look at the 8th May. All this note was written when?

On the next morning.

And furnished to whom?

Kept to myself.

You have kept it to yourself to the present time, have you?


Curiously enough you write on one of Mrs. Chant's leaflets.

Yes, I am secretary of our branch of the British Women's Temperance Association, and some of those were surplus bills which I used for scribbling. I do not know then [208] that those bills would be so historic.

--- re-examined by Mr. Bailache

What was that about making her lips red? What does it refer to?

I went into the dressing room and one of these girls came in while I was there leaving my cloak. She went to one table where all the apparatus for keeping powder and so on is kept, and she took up some stick of red paint and reddened her lips.

There was some paint if you wanted to paint yourself you could do it in this dressing room?


And this woman did want to, and did?


And that was in the dressing room to which anybody could go in the Empire?

Any of the women.

Any lady?

Any woman, yes.

The Chairman: Whereabouts is this room that you saw?

It opens onto the promenade. There is simply a curtain which screens it off from the promenade itself.

Is it open to anybody?

To any lady.

A ladies' dressing room?

Yes, a ladies' dressing room,

And did you say there was paint there?

[209]  Paint and powder.

Mr. Bailache: You said you heard one of the women say "Cheeky man just said 'trade looks good.'" Did she make any reply to that or did you hear any further conversation about that?

She said, "If I had not been in the Empire I would have shown him what trade was." Then she went on to say how hot it was - "If somebody doesn't take me out soon, I shall faint, and then they will carry me out."

 "If I had not been in the Empire I would have shown him what trade was."?

Mr. Gill: Might I ask a question on that?

The Chairman: Yes.

Mr. Gill: When you say "paint" what do you mean - lip salve?

This was red stuff.

Red stuff the woman put on her lips?

It made her lips very red.

Have you ever seen red lip salve?


Do you know such a thing in Crouch End in Hornsey.

I have never seen it.

You have never seen such a thing as red lip salve?

There was also a powder puff. There was also rouge in little China pots placed as far as I remember on the table. [-- 'on the table' is crossed out, 'as far as I remember' written above--]. I did not notice it much.

Be a little careful what you are saying/ I put it to you what saw there was a powder puff and lip salve.

It was a stuff made of some red material which she took and put on her lips.

And do you seriously say you have never seen red lip salve?

I never have.

Mr. Bailache: Was there other paint that you saw, Mrs. Reed?

Mr. Gill: She described what she has called paint.

Mr. Bailache: You have described it. Do you call it lip salve? Mr. Gill says it is lip salve.

I do not know what lip salve is.

And you do not describe it as lip salve?

I do not know it was. I say it was something red with which she reddened her lips.

And she put it on her lips and she made them red?

Yes, a bright red.

This idea of red lip salve is all nonsense then.

I should think so. I do not know.

Mr. Gill: Who says so?

Mr. Chairman: That is matter of comment.

Mr. Bailache: I mean if my friend says so he has got no evidence, and [211] it seems to me to be nonsense.

Mr. Gill: I will not discuss it. From the Crouch End point of view I daresay it is nonsense.

--- Mr. Cjharles Cory Reed called, examined by Mr. Snowdon

I think you visited the Empire on the 10th March 1896?


You went to the 5s. promenade?


Did you see prostitutes there?


In what numbers?

May I look at my note? Large numbers. It is difficult to count - large numbers - more than 50 I should say at the end.

Did you hear any bargaining going on?


Could you give examples of bargaining?

Yes. Standing near me were two men apparently Germans, talking with a girl. I heard the girl distinctly say her room joined the sitting room room, would not a hotel do, and after a little further conversation the three went off together.

Give me another case of bargaining?

Yes; a young man came and commenced to open conversation with one of these girls who was standing near [212] me and after some amount of conversation - they had been speaking about the programme - I heard him say "You want all the world," and turned off and went away.

Can you give me any further case of bargaining or soliciting?

I heard one girl say to another, "It is so sometimes, when the place is so crowded, you can't get anybody."

Did you see any case of actual soliciting?

I do not remember any more. I saw plenty of soliciting but I did not hear it.

Tell us what you mean exactly by "you saw soliciting".

I saw what I took to be solicitation, but mostly on the part of men.

On the part of men?

Yes, and generally it commenced by inviting to a drink.

None with regard to the performance. Is it possible from the major part of the promenade to see the performance at all?

No, absolutely impossible. It is very difficult to see the performance except you are in the front row of the promenade.

I think you were there again on the 8th of May?


[213] Were there women there in numbers?

Large numbers - very crowded.



Those you took to be prostitutes.

Yes, without a doubt.

Did they pay much attention to the entertainment?

With very few exceptions, they seemed perfectly indifferent to the entertainment. They were not looking and for a long time they stood with their backs to the entertainment and some with their backs to the boxes.

Were any of them the same as those you had seen before?


I think you went on the 3s. promenade also?

Yes, that night. I just went up there for a few minutes only.

Did you hear any bargaining going on there?


I think you went again on the 28th September 1896?


Did you see the same sort of things?


I do not know whether it is necessary to go through all these details?

The Chairman: Take it generally, will you?

[214] Mr. Snowden: Taking it generally, did you see prostitutes present?

Yes, in large numbers.

Did you see cases of accosting at all on the part of men or women - of solicitation?

Of treating, which I took to be - I saw one girl treated by three different men.

You saw one girl treated by three different men?


Did you go to the 3s. promenade?

Yes I did, and this girl was treated up there as well as on the 5s. promenade.

She was treated on both promenades?


Were you personally accosted in the 3s. promenade?

In the 3s. promenade I was considerably ogled very much so, and one girl came and look me right in the face, and I turned off. That is while I was walking round.

--- cross-examined by Mr. Gill

The women that you saw there were they perfectly orderly?

No, Sir.



Disorderly, were they?


Were the women that you saw [215] there perfectly orderly and well-behaved?


In what way did the women misbehave themselves?

By loud talking, and by their constantly moving about and eyeing the men.

Loud talking, moving about, and eyeing the men?


Anything else?

I do not recollect any disorderliness beyond that.

Did you upon any of the tree occasions that you went there see any disorderly conduct. Do answer a simple question.

No, I cannot say that I did.

That is the answer, no. Did you hear any indecent conversation?


When did you hear indecent conversation?

On the 8th May.

What was the indecent conversation?

A girl was standing with her back to the boxes. As I passed I overheard her say to a young fellow, "Don't you remember undressing on the chair in my room."

You say you overheard that?


You made a note of that, did you?

[216] Yes.

Any further indecent conversation?

I don't think so.

That is you instance of indecent conversation?


Did you see any instance of excess of drinking?

Yes. I consider excessive drinking to take place when the same girl is treated by different men.

That is what you mean by excessive drinking?


You say you saw that in one instance?

Yes. I saw it in more than one instance.

Did you go there with your wife and this Mr. Bernes by arrangement?


With the Committee?


Your expenses paid for going there?


On each occasion?


And on each occasion I suppose you reported to the Committee.


Expenses paid on all three occasions?


You gave the notice of opposition yourself in this case?


[217] You know that you complained there in the notice of solicitation, immoral bargaining, excessive drinking, indecent conversation and disorderly conduct?


Did you even draw the attention of any person in the house - any of the officials - to any disorderly conduct?

No, Sir.

Or to any excessive disorderly drinking, or to anything at all?


Was this Miss Reed with you all the time?

No Sir, not on each visit.

Did you desire that your wife should go separately from yourself into the promenade?


Did you think she might be accosted?

I had no fear of it because I considered she was quite able to take car of herself.

I dare say; [illegible -- 'see'?] perhaps after upon that; but did you think she might be accosted?

It did not occur to me.

Were you afraid she might?

No, not at all afraid.

Not of the result but did you think that going in there by herself that that would be likely to happen?

I do not know.

[218] Why did she go by herself?

Why, for the purpose of being able to report. Had we gone together we should have been singular.

It is remarkable thing for a man and a woman to be seen talking there together?

Not at all.

Why should you and your wife be singular?

Because I should say that people would be able to discriminate, and see that she was not of the same class at other women there, and that we should attract attention to ourselves, and we were desirous of not attracting attention to ourselves.

Do you not think if your wife were by herself she would be more likely to attract attention?

I do not know/

Perhaps if you were with her she might not look so respectable as if she were quite by herself?

It may be so.

Would not a woman like your wife be much more likely to attract attention than if she were with you?

I do not think so.

Do not you think that?

I do not think one way or the other.

Did not she go in for the purpose of being accosted?

No, certainly not.

[219] Did she not expect she would be accosted?

No, certainly not.

Did not you expect she would be accosted?

No, certainly not.

You intended to report it if she was?

I should have reported it, because I reported -

You looked about to see whether you were accosted yourself.

No, Sir.

Were you not waiting to be accosted?

Certainly not - far from it.

Perhaps you hoped you would not be accosted?


And you were happy in the result - nobody did accost you?

Yes, I was more comfortable.

No-one did accost you?

I was accosted one. I call that being accosted when a girl came up and looked into my face.

She may have been surprised?

Very likely.

Except that a woman looked into your face, that is the only case of accosting?

At the Empire.

Mr. Marks: I should like to ask Mr. Reed a question. When you were at the Empire on March 10th was the promenade crowded?

Yes, very crowded.

About how many women would there be there?

[220] It is difficult to estimate. I might say 50 or I might say 70. It is difficult to estimate because they are passing to and fro, and some of the pass from one promenade to another.

What proportion of women in your judgment there were prostitutes?

I saw - I do not think I saw anyone - a large majority certainly.

About what proportion?

Well, I did not see any women there whom I regarded as respectable women in the promenade.

And then your information for the Committee is that all the women you saw that night were prostitutes?

I should say so, in the promenade.

Will you tell the Committee how you formed that opinion?

By the general behaviour and demeanour of these women.

Of the whole of them?

Yes, and their dress.

Now you saw you saw plenty of soliciting. Will you tell us what constituted the soliciting which you saw?

I cannot explain further than I have done.

And you take it that any women who spoke to a man, or any man who spoke to a woman, was evidence of soliciting?

No, Sir.

[221] Will you tell the Committee what you saw that constituted soliciting?

I cannot say further than I have already done.

Would looking at a man constitute soliciting?

No, Sir, not necessarily.

Or the presence of the women in the promenade?

No, not necessarily.

And you are utterly unable to tell me what was the soliciting you saw?

Further than what I have said.

The Chairman: Have you any more witnesses?

Mr. Bailache: Yes, I propose to call Miss Reed.

--- Miss Carina Reed called, examined by Mr. Bailache

I think you went to the Empire like the other witness or the first witness, on January 4th of this year?

February 13th, January 4th, 1895.

That was in 1895. We will not trouble with that, then. February February 13th was your first visit this year, was it?


Where were you on that occasion?

I was in the 5s. promenade.

Now you have heard the evidence of the other two witnesses, Mrs. and Mr. Reed, as to the number og prostitutes there, and their general behaviour. Do you agree with that, Miss Reed?

I agree with it entirely.

[222] Now, was it on this celebrated occasion that you were turned out, Miss Reed?

It was.

I should like you to tell the Committee what you were doing that induced them to turn you out. How did they go about?

I do not know what I was doing. I was standing at the end of the promenade looking over to see if I could see the performance, which I could not do, and suddenly the female attendant came uyp to me and said, "Will you please take a seat," and I said, "Oh, thank you, I have been sitting down, I would rather stand," and then said said, "Will you come and speak to the manager?" I said, "Oh, why?" and she said, "Will you come and speak to the manager?" I said, "Certainly, if you like," and I went and I saw the manager. The manager said to me, "Will you take a seat?" and I said to him, "I don't want to take a seat, I don't care to take a seat," and he said to me, "Then I must ask you to leave the hall." I said to him, "Why?" He replied to me, "Because you look straight into the faces of men." I was not aware of looking straight in their faces.

That was what he replied to you, was it?

[223] He replied that to me. Then the female attendant tried to find me a seat. I was quite willing to take one. There was not one to be found, so I sat down in one of the wicker chairs at the back of the promenade. The manager came to me and said, "Will you leave the house, and I will return you the money." I did not want a row, so I lefty the house, and got my money.

You were turned out and you got your money back.


Now, Miss Reed, while they were so anxious about you taking a seat, were there lots of women standing about?

There were crowds of girls. I counted 70, and there were more than that. They were standing about with their purses in their hands, with their backs to the boxes along that passage.

And this time you were singled out with such special attention?

I did not see the attendant speak to anyone else.

They were anxious you should take a seat?


I think I have asked you about the general character of the women there. Did you see any particular instance of solicitation on that occasion? What time was it when you were turned out?

[224] It was 9.45 when I was turned out. No, I did not see anything in particular in the way of solicitation on that night. I did on May 8th.

Notwithstanding that experience did you go to the Empire again on May 8th?

On May 8th I did not see the manager on that night.

Did you go there again?

But I was recognised as I always have been when I have been to the Empire.

I believe when you went before, you and Mrs. Shelton Amos, you were more than recognised, you were mobbed?


That was the year before, so I do not trouble you with that, Miss Reed. Now, upon the 8th May: have you got your notes of the 8th May?

Yes, I have my notes of that.

Now I think you said you were recognised by a female attendant on going in?


How was the house that evening: was it full?

The house was very full on that evening.

Did you see any bargaining going on on that occasion?

Yes, I heard one woman say to another, "I never ask the man, I have them to ask me - get more money that way."

Now did you hear a group of them [225] talking noisily.

Yes, I did.

Did you hear what they said?

Yes, they were talking about the men they had had the night before.

What did they say?

One remarked that she had had the fat man, and the other remarked that she had had the dirty little man, and then they asked one another if they were allowed to take them home to their lodgings. They live in Greek Street. The other said her landlady did not allow her to take them home but she had a latch key and she need not be in till 6 o'clock in the morning.

Did you hear any further conversation between these women?

One said to the other, "Are you engaged yet?" and she said, "No, I am struggling along still."

Now were you yourself accosted on that evening?

Yes, I was. I was followed by a man the whole time. He jogged my elbow first of all. Then he put out his hand. I refused it.

Did he ask you where you lived?

Yes, he asked me where I lived. He asked me to come and have a drink. He said the song was very dry because it was French and he could not understand it. Then asked me where I lived, if we could not go for a walk. [226] I told him that I lived at Highbury. He wanted to know if he could not go home with me. After a time he came up again and then he asked me if I was not ready to come with him. He said he wanted to go off quietly, because of his friends.

And you had some difficulty in getting rid of him?

I had a great deal of trouble in getting rid of him. Then he said, "I must be going now, but if you like come and meet me at the Café Monico."

Then on the 28th were you there again.

Yes, I was there on September 28th.

The same general observations apply I suppose.

Yes, it was more crowded than ever. The girls were gayer.

All I wish to ask you about this is, Did you hear of any case of bargaining and solicitation on September 28th?

There I heard one woman saying to another young girl, "There, go along and get yourself engaged," and the young girl did not see it quite, so the women took her round and introduced her to two or three men.

She was in charge of an elderly woman?

She was in charge of an elderly woman, She was quite a young girl.

[227] Were you recognised again?

Yes, I was recognised as Mrs. Chant, and I heard a great deal of conversation about myself all through the evening, and an attendant followed me through the evening, and when I was passing one man who was talking to a girl, he pushed them aside and said "Hush".

Was that when you went by?

When I went by. I heard two men talking to two girls who were there. They were noticing was a crowd was there that night and one said, "Do you see that girl in green, I think I shall have her," and the other man said, "I think I would have the one in the red blouse; she is better looking, come round and look at her face." They were constantly talking about the girls, and the girls were constantly going up to the men.

That was the general atmosphere of the place?

Yes, there were from 70 to 100 girls on the promenade that night. It was quite impossible to see the performance or to hear.

Have you any doubt in your mind at all as to what those girls were there for?

No doubt at all. I have seen just the same girls when I have been engaged in rescue work in Regent Street and Piccadilly through all the winter and the winter before. They are just the same [228] sort of girls that one sees in St. James's. In fact, I have heard them arranging to go to St. James's. One of them said to a young man if he was not ready to go to St. James's yet, and he was very reluctant.

You have been very much engaged on rescue work on the street: did you notice whether same girls were constantly to be seen in the Empire?

I have seen the same girls there time after time, and also I have seen these same girls in St. James's and seen them in the Streets.

You have seen the same girls in all these places?

I have seen the same girls in all three places.

--- cross-examined by Mr. Gill

You say you have seen the women you saw in the promenade at the Empire walking the streets?

I have.


They go along Piccadilly and they go into St. James's and when St. James's is turned out they walk about and then they take a hansom and go to some club very often.

You have seen the women in the Empire walking the streets?

I have.

[229] Do I understand that you have only been to the Empire three times in the year?

Three times this year. I have been before.

How long was it since you have been in the Empire?

I went last year. I can give you the dates. January 4th and November 27th.

Of 1895?


January and November in that year.

And February 13th, May 8th, September 28th this year.

So to this first time, February 13th. How were you dressed on that occasion?

I was dressed very simply indeed. I never dressed up for the occasion. I go in this or whatever I am in.

Dressed quite quietly?

Yes, just as I always am, for instance -

Quite colourless then, quite quietly.

Yes, just the same sort of thing I have on now.

When you went to the Empire in February do you suggest that the people in the Empire knew you?

Yes, I do.

Do you suggest that the reason you were asked to go out and your money returned was because they knew you?

Yes, I do, or because they knew I was unusual. They knew I was different to the usual run of girls that were there.

[230] Do you mean to say that you were asked to go out and your money returned because you were respectable?

Yes, I believe so, because they thought I was there to get evidence and they did not wish me to get it.

You mean, in fact, when you went there the people thought you were trying to get evidence and turned you out. Is that what you seriously want these gentlemen to believe?

Yes, I do seriously.

That you went in there, and that they thought you were trying to get evidence and so turned you out and returned your money?

Why should they have asked me to sit down and no-one else to sit down?

 You must not ask me questions. I could tell you if you did, but unfortunately you cannot examine me at present. Supposing they do interfere with a woman who pushes among a crowd or is soliciting people, they might perhaps have spoken to you if you did the same thing?

I was not pushing about.

Were you walking backwards and forwards in the promenade?

I was just standing still and had been.

I know you were at the time you were spoken to. Had you been walking backwards and forwards?

I sat down chiefly. All the first part of the evening I was sitting in the balcony.

[231] Where there were a number of other people?

Yes, it was crowded.

Ladies like yourself?


Respectable women?


You had got too hot and you wanted to walk about?

I went to take off my coat in this dressing room.

And having taken your coat off, were you then walking about in the promenade?

Yes, and sitting chiefly in one of the wicker chairs.

Were you walking about in the promenade?

I did walk up and down the promenade.

How long had you been there? You had first of all gone in and sat down in the seat?

I went in at 8.30 and I went out at 9.45.

How long did you sit down before you got up, went to the dressing room, took off your jacket and then came back into the promenade?

I should think 20 minutes.

Do you say that it got hot, and that was the reason you went into the promenade?

Yes, that was the reason.

Did not you go there to see if anybody would speak to you?

No, indeed, I did not.

Did you expect anybody might speak to you?

[232] No.

All the time you went there, did you think you might be spoken to by a man?


Such an idea never crossed your mind? When you were spoken to you were asked to sit down?

I was.

What was your objection to sitting down.

I did not want to sit down. I wanted to walk about. There was not a seat.

Was not there?

No, not in the balcony. They tried to find me one. I pointed it out to the female attendant and she tried to take a gentleman's hat and coat off a chair and push me into it, but I objected.

Where did you see the manager?

He was standing on the steps of that, Americna bar is it?

At the side?

At the side, yes.

Now tell me what was it he said that he had been informed you had been doing?

He said these words to me, "You look straight into the faces of men and that cannot be allowed in this house."

Do you mean to suggest that the manager invented that statement in order to have an excuse for getting you out of the house?

I should say so.

Why did not you say to him "That [233] is nonsense, you know me quite well. You know who I am: I am a friend of Mrs. Chant." Why did not you make known your identity?

I did not wish to make any fuss, because I had been noticed before when we had been recognised as friends of Mrs. Chant.

When was that?

January 4th 1895, soon after the Empire case was up here and they told us then -

Keep to something that it possible of contradiction. Do you mean to say that Mr. Slater, who spoke to you on that occasion, was a person who knew you and you knew then that he knew you?

Yes, I know that he came and looked at us then, on that January 4th.

Do you suggest that he knew you when he spoke to you in January of this year?

I do.

Did you say so to him?


Why not?

I did not wish to make any fuss. I simply went out.

Then I understand that you went how long afterwards.

The next date was May 8th.

Did you go on the 8th May with Mr. and Mrs. Reed?

I did.

[234] Did you go in alone?

I did.

By arrangement.


She went in by herself and then you went in by yourself and then Mr. Reed. Was there another gentleman to make a party of our? Mr. Barnes: was he there?

I think he was.

When you went in on that occasion did you keep by yourself?

Yes, I did.

What was that for?

Because it is very much easier if you keep by yourself.

Did you think you might be accosted?

No, it was not for that object. It was for the object of seeing what was to be seen.

What did you go there for?

I went because I wanted to see what was going on.

You went for the purpose of getting evidence?


Now I just want to know, when you went on that occasion and separated from Mr. & Mrs. Reed, did you think it was possible you might be accosted?

I did not think about it.

Such an idea never crossed your mind?

I did not think about such things.

As that you might be accosted?


[235]  Did you see any excessive drinking?

Yes, there was a good deal of drinking going on.


In the bar, round these little tables.

Did you go in there?

No, I did not go in.

You did not go in there?


--- re-examined by Mr. Bailache

Miss Reed, as to your thinking the manager recognised you and so on, when you went in, on the last occasion - I think it was the last occasion - were you immediately recognised?

Immediately, "Oh here is Mrs,. Chant. What does she come again for? She will do not good. I wonder if we are going to get the licence?"

You were immediately recognised?


And were you followed about by an attendant?


What date was that?

September 24th.

From the time you went in to the time you went away.


Followed about the whole time by an attendant?

By an attendant, and latterly by the manager.

And by the manager on September 24th.


You think he knew you perfectly well? When he turned you out before?

[236] I quite think so.

At any rate he recognised you the other day?

Yes, and the time also when I went there on May the 8th.


What date was that?

May 8th.

Mr. Roberts: Miss Reed, may I ask you did you ask for your money to be returned?

Oh no.

It was offered to you.

Offered me.

When you were first spoken to you were simply asked to take a seat.

Exactly, which I tried to do.

You tried to do that.

Yes, but there was no seat.

And then the attendant spoke to you again.

Yes, because I found a seat in the balcony; one of those wicker chairs.

Did the attendant object to you sitting there?

The attendant came up and said, "I must ask you to leave the house, and I will return you your money."

Although you had done what she first requested you?


The attendant came up to you and asked you to take a seat?


You did so.

[237] No, I went to the manager first, because there was no seat. She tried to find me one, but there was no seat.

Then what did the manager say?

The manager said to me, "Madam, you must take a seat" and I said, "Why?" He replied, "Because you look straight into the faces of men and that cannot be allowed in this house. I must ask you to take a seat." I went into the promenade and took a wicker chair.

Were you turned out of that?

Whereupon the manager came up to me and said, "I must ask you to leave the house."

The second time?


But the first time only, asked you to take a seat?


Then he came and turned you out of your seat?

Yes, out of that wicker chair.

And offered to return you your money?

I said, "Very well, I will  go and get my coat and go then, " because I saw there would only be a fuss if I stayed.

Mr. Gill: Will you just ask her, as this lady says that two years ago she was recognised whether two years ago she was a witness in Mrs. Chant's case?

The Witness: No, but I was with Mrs. [238] Shelton Amos.

But you were not a witness in that case?

I was on the Committee then. I was not called as a witness.

You were in that Committee?


--- Mrs. Whyte Bamford called, examined by Mr. Snowden.

I do not know your address?

The oak, Southend.

I think you visited the Empire?

I did.

Will you give me the date?

On the 24th Janaury.

Of this year?


You went to the promenade?

Yes, I went purposely to see, just to satisfy my own mind as regards what the promenade was like.

What was the character of the women there?

It was my first visit to the Empire and a number of friends had asked me on several occasions if I had been there. I could not previously give any reply. My impression of the promenade of the Empire is that it is frequented largely by a class of women whom I should call prostitutes.

And is it your opinion that they carry on their trade there?

I should say so.

Did you see any bargaining going on?

[239] Yes, I saw soliciting while I was there. It would be after 10 o'lock at night.

Soliciting by men or by women.

Women to men.

Can you give us any instance?

Yes, I entered the building in the company of a gentleman friend about 9.30. There were very dew there in the promenade. Very quickly after my entrance I was asked by one of the ushers to take a seat. That I declined doing. I preferred walking around. Then after some time about 10 o'clock I had a seat along the outside of the promenade and close to an entrance where a number of women came in. In 30 minutes I counted 25 girls. Some came in singly, and some would recognise each other, and they hardly noticed the performance. They evidently did not come for the performance. Then the first thing they attempt to do there - these visitors who frequent the promenade - is to immediately go into a cloak room, and there they will put aside their mantle or what not, and just adjust themselves ready for the promenade. That  in some instances I noticed myself. They went in to use paint and sundries.

Was this in the dressing room?

That would be in the dressing room.

Did you notice them actually using paint?

Yes, I did. I noticed that the attendant there seemed a superior individual, [240] and I noticed certainly that the women who frequent the promenade use various sundries to add to their appearance.

Did you see them using this paint? Did you actually see them using it?

They go to the side dressing benches, on dressing tables, where there is everything necessary for them.

Was it a bottle, or sticks, or what that they used for this purpose?

I cannot say whether it was a bottle. There would be jars.

There were jars?

Well, there were jars that would hold power or whatever it was that was used. I cannot say whether it would be paint from the jars or not.

But did they paint in the dressing room?

Yes, I should say they added paint to their faces.

Were you yourself annoyed in any way?

Well, I cannot say it annoyed me. On two occasions during the first visit I was followed by a man, and he on two occasions touched my cloak: I had on a clock. He pulled my cloak to attract my attention. I passed on.

I think you said the attendant asked you to sit down?


Once to take a seat in the front and once if I would sit down. That would be on one of the chairs there. [---'chairs' is crossed out and 'usher's' written above but I think writer has misread sentence---].

[241] Did you hear other people round being asked to sit down by the attendants?


You were asked?

I was asked but the visitors in the promenade are never asked to sit down. They come in evidently for the purpose they wish to visit this place for: that is to walk around and to speak to those friends whom they wish to.

But you were twice asked to sit down?


--- cross-examined by Mr. Gill

Only just one or two questions: Did I understand you live at Southend?

I do.

Did you come up from there to go to this place, the Empire?


I am not clear - did you go into the dressing-rooms to see these ladies painting?

I went to leave my mantle - a heavy mantle.

In the dressing room?

Yes, I was not sure whether it was a cloak room, but I found it was a dressing room for women who frequent this promenade.

And while there you saw them using these different paints?


Do you distinctly say you saw paint [242] in the room?

I could not positively say it was paint.

I do not want to subject you to a cross-examination - you do not really say that you saw paint in that room?

No, because I did not handle it. I could not positively say there was paint.

Powder puff I daresay there was?

Yes, doubtless there was powder.

It is a ladies' waiting room.

Yes, doubtless it is a ladies' waiting room.

Do you object to a lady putting powder on her face?

No, I have no particular objection. It may be needed sometimes.

The Chairman: Have you much more evidence?

Mr. Bailache: We have two more witnesses. One is Mr. Barnes and the other is Mr. Le Pla.

Mr. Jerome: All the same class.

Mr. Bailache: The same witnesses.

The Chairman: We do not want to stop you in any way, but at the same time you quite understand there ought to be a limit in some way to this. You could go on for ever.

Mr. Bailache: Yes, I think my position is rather a difficult one, because I feel to some extent you may tell me "It is quite useless your calling this evidence. We have listened to what [243] they have said and you see what we did in the case of the Oxford." That presses on me a good deal.

The Chairman: Do not let me do anything to stop you in any way whatever.

Mr. Bailache: I will keep it as short as I can because in the event of our going further it might be advisable that we should have the evidence down.

The Chairman: Do not think I want to stop you in any way. You can call them in the Council afterwards.

Mr. Bailache: I do not know that.

The Chairman: If you put them in the box formally.

Mr. Bailache: I do not know what the practice is.

The Chairman: As long as they have been called, that is all that is necessary, and then you can call the at the Council afterwards.

Mr. Bailache: I am not quite sure about that.

The Chairman: That is so.

--- Mr. F.H. Barnes called, examined by Mr. Snowden

Were you present with the last witness?


Do you endorse what she said on the last occasion?


Did you see her asked by an attendant [244] to sit down?

Yes, I saw her in conversation with one.

I think you visited the Empire on December 14th?

No, not December 14th. That was given in error.

I think you visited it again by yourself?

Chairman: The Committee want your name and address.

F.H.Barnes, 16 Duke Street, Oxford Street.

I think you paid other visits to the Empire?

Yes, I have done so.

You found the same with regard to to the character of the women on the promenade?

Yes, very much the same character.

Have you ever been personally accosted yourself?

No, I was not, more than -

Have you seen solicitation?

I saw what I should regard to be solicitation, women who passed up and down would approach near to gentlemen, in this way and possibly look at them with an endeavour on their part to attract their attention, which I regarded as solicitation.

--- cross-examined by Mr. Gill

What is your occupation?

Agent - manufacturer's agent.

In the employment of any particular individual?


'Agent' is a pretty wide term.


[245] It covers almost anything, does it not?


Any place you carry on business in?

My address I have given, 16 Duke Street.

Have you an office there?


Do you occupy the house?


Carry on business there?


With clerks?

No, not with clerks. My business is for [illegible--- may be 'trimming'] manufacturers.

You carry on your business by yourself?

Exactly so, yes.

In that house.

Not in the house. That is my residence.

Where is your place of business?

Well -

Any place of business have you?

No, my business is transacted as an agent for manufacturers.

Going about and seeing people?


For any manufacturer?


How was it you came to take part in this? Were you invited to do so?

I was invited to do os.

By whom?

By the Committee.

[246] --- The Rev. James Le Pla called and examined by Mr. Bailache

You have visited the Empire I think on two occasions?

I did.

September 1st and September 8th?


Now do you agree with the evidence that has been given as to the general character of the promenade?

I do.

And as to the women who visit them?


And as to the purpose for which they go there?


On September 1st were you yourself personally accosted there?

I was.

Will you tell the Committee what took place as far as you were concerned?

A woman came up to me and it was whilst the lights were lowered for the pictures and she said to me, "Will you treat me?" "No," I said, "I will not." "Well," she said, "will you come out to a certain hotel in the Square with me?" and I refused.

That was on your first occasion?

On the second occasion.

Did you hear any indecent conversation on September 8th?

I did.

[247] Where was that?

It was in the drinking saloon. That was off the end of the promenade, the 5s. promenade, You had to get a ticket to pass out; a ticket that would admit you to the upstairs promenade. You passed out of the door towards the stairs, and instead of going upstairs there was a large drinking saloon: it was in there.

Were there many people in at the time?

Yes, a great number.

Was the conversation carried on in sufficiently loud tones for you to hear?

Yes, I was sitting at the next table to table where these girls and young fellows were sitting and heard it quite plainly.

Who was it between - a girl and two or three men?

It was between a girl and two men, I think.

Can you tell me what the subject of the conversation was? I do not want the details of it, but what was the subject matter of it, Mr. Le Pla?

This girl was telling what she called the fun they had had when she and her girl friend got a young fellow home with them for the night who was not accustomed to that kind of thing.

What was the subject matter of the conversation?

[248] That was the subject matter of the conversation.

Did you see any excessive drinking on your second visit?

I saw three drunken men on one of the visits. I think I can tell if I refer to the note I have.

Refer to the note please and let us see which date is was.

That was on my second visit in the upper circle promenade.

Were they obviously the worse for drink?

They were obviously staggering about.

Were they turned out, or anything done to them?


Did you stay to the end of the performance on that occasion?


Generally, Mr. Le Pla, do you confirm the evidence of Mrs. Red as to its character.

I do.

The Chairman: Mr. Bailache: I am afraid I misled you as to the remark I made about the regulation of the Council. I want to call your attention to it so that you shall not be misled. No.4 "No party shall be allowed to call evidence unless he shall show to the satisfaction of the Council he was prevented from calling or tendering such witnesses before the Committee by surprise, want of notice, or other sufficient cause.' [249] So that you must rely at the Council meeting on the evidence you call here, unless you can show there was surprise.

Mr. Bailache: As I say, I am rather new to the Council procedure and I was under the impression that was so.

--- cross-examined by Mr. Gill

Your particular case which you oppose is the Alhambra, I think?

It is.

It is the one in which you give your personal notice?


You are the gentleman who told us in the last case fixed the identity of 48 women in the Oxford as prostitutes?


How do you pass your time usually? Is it passed in the West End, or at Crouch End or Hornsey?

My time is usually passed in my work at Harringay.

Nearly all the year round, I suppose?


So that your visits to the West End are few and far between?

Few and far between.

Mr. Bailache: That will be the case [250] for the opposition.

Mr. Gill: In this case I do not propose to address the Committee on the case as a whole. Every member of the Committee is very familiar with the story of the Empire. The steps taken by the management of the Empire are also well known to the Committee. I have today here in court Mr. George Edwardes to sustain the licence, who is prepared to give evidence with regard to the conduct of the house. I have here also Mr. Slater.
     What is done is this. Persons going in there pass the pay box - pass a man at the door of the pay box, and also pass two people at the entrance to the circle and the same condition of things exists practically with regard to the whole of the house. I shall be able to prove by any number of witnesses that there is no pretence for saying that this is a place where there is anything like disorderly conduct. I have a number of independent witnesses here who can give evidence with regard to that. Any suggestion that it is a place where there is excessive drinking could be disposed of. As a matter of act, in accordance with the practice that has obtained there for some time, no women are served at the bars [251] at all, and with regard to the conduct of women in the house, if any complaint is made, or if attention is directed to a woman in the house who does anything in the way of soliciting, she is turned out, and, being turned out, she is never allowed into the house again. I say with regard to the evidence of the lady who is opposing here, that it is absolutely untrue that she was recognised when she came there in January. It is absolutely without foundation. It is as without foundation as the statement that paint is to be found in the dressing room, or in the waiting room in that place. It is a statement made by her for purposes of her own, and for the purpose of leading you to suppose she is a marked women who would be recognised at once by the officials of the Empire. If a woman in this place attracts attention by her conduct, she is spoken to and ask to sit down, and if she does not sit down - if she does not do as she is told - the manager is spoken to - and you find in two cases here that from the conduct of the women who were going there they did attract attention from the way in which they were acting. I venture to say with regard to Miss Reed and with regard to Mrs. Reed that going there, and going  [252] there as they did separately, they did rather anticipate that something like solicitation would take place, and that they were in fact looking for it. There is no imaginable reason why they should be separated - that she should have gone in by herself, that Miss Reed should have gone in by herself, if that were not the reason.
     Now, on the first occasion that she speaks to, when she went in there, the way she walked about the place, and her conduct in there did attract attention. She says she came in, sat down for a short time, then went out, took off her jacket, and was in the promenade, and she was seen there, as it was believed, acting in some objectionable manner, and the attention of Mr. Slater was called to her conduct. He did speak to her on the subject. She had been asked over three or four times to sit down, and he told her that complaint had been made of her conduct in moving about where men were, looking into their faces, and pushing against them, and he returned her her money and asked her to go. In doing that, Mr Slater will say that he did it absolutely without any knowledge as to who or what this woman was or where she came from - that he had absolutely no knowledge whatever of her identity.
[253]      Now that is the only matter in the evidence that I will trouble to deal with. It is a somewhat extraordinary thing that evidence should be given such as that by Miss Reed and by that lady who comes all the way from Southend for the purpose of visiting the Empire, but who I think would refrain from saying that she saw any paint in the room, or persons using paint. Miss Reed's evidence is that some person used the stuff for something upon her lips, and in such a condition of mind is a woman of this kind that she actually attributes importance to that  - that persons who use lip salve on their lips or put something on their lips for the purpose of making them - stuff which happens to be red - that is a circumstance which should excite suspicion. And this lady tells you she has never heard of such a thing as red lip salve in her life - never happened by any chance to be in the room of a lady who had red lip salve on her dressing table. It is an extraordinary confession of ignorance apparently on her part, but I suppose she has no time to spare to trouble herself about the frivolities of life because she has directed so much attention to the pursuit of information for the purposes of a Committee of which she is so very active a Secretary.
     [254] I will call Mr. Slater before you and put Mr. Edwardes into the box.

--- Mr. Slater called, examined by Mr. Gill

You are the manager?

I am the acting manager.

Are you continually in the house?


Have you also an assistant Mr. Hutchins?

Mr. Hutchins is the manager, I am the acting manager.

With regard to persons coming into the house, they have to pass the pay box at the door. Is there also a man stationed close by?

They pass four men, one at the principal door, one at the inner door, passing the money taken and two at the door who receive their tickets. She has to pass four men.

Now with regard to the conduct of persons in the house - what men are stationed in the promenade?

There are 23 men altogether.

In the whole of the house?

In the whole of the house.

With regard to persons going to the house, suppose any disorder occurs on the part of any male member of the audience, what is the course adopted?

If he is violent and noisy he is at one ejected. If he is only apparently funny he is warned.

Spoken to first of all?

[255] Yes, and then after that there is no more warning, he goes.

If he does not stop immediately?

He goes at once.

Now with regard to the bars, we have been told no women are served at the bars?

No women are served at the bars.

With regard to the question of women soliciting in the house, is that forbidden?


If the attention of one of the men in the house is called to that, or there is any complaint with regard to a woman there what is done?

The woman is taken out of the house, and told not to come back any more.

And is she subsequently refused admission?

Always afterwards.

And is that a fact that is perfectly well known?

Oh, undoubtedly, everybody knows that. I suppose there must be many stopped that cannot come in for that reason.

During the past year have there been any complaints of any kind?

No complaints of any kind.

You saw this lady who gave evidence here today?

I was here today, yes.

She speaks of going there upon one occasion early in the year when she saw you?

Yes, I remember her. I do not remember [256] the date, but early in the year she was there.

Until you saw her in the witness box this morning in the other case, had you the slightest idea who she was?

I did not know who she was until I saw her here this morning.

And was if after she had gone into the witness box this morning that you communicated to the solicitor that you recognised her?

Yes, it was while she was in the box.

Is there the slightest trust in the suggestion that you acted towards her in February in consequence of knowledge of her, or that you supposed she was a friend of Mrs. Chant?

Certainly not. I acted to her as I would to any women who was behaving strangely.

If a woman is noticed acting in any peculiar manner in the place, or pushing about amongtst the men, what is the course that you adopt?

She is warned if it is not very prominent. She is told to sit down if we are not quite sure what she is doing it for. We look for all sorts of purposes in that way. A woman going in that way might be a pick-pocket - threading her way among the people.

Is that attention directed to a woman going on in that way?

At once.

Was your attention directed to this woman?

[257] I saw her myself.

What was she doing?

She was apparently aimlessly walking about with no idea at first; then she put her back to the audience and looked at men as they passed. She followed two women and put her head in between them. If these women stopped she would stop and listen to them, but her principal objected seemed to be to attract men to speak to her; to incite men really to accost her.

Did you send anybody to speak to her?

I sent a female attendant to her so as not to cause attention - not a man in livery.

In order that might sit down.

That she might have a seat. A seat was found for her in the stalls, that she refused to take.

She refused a seat?

The attendant came back to say the lady refused to sit down in the stalls. What was she to do? I then spoke to her and said we should not allow that sort of thing; she must take a seat. She said she preferred to stay here, going back into the lounge chair, and then I said she must leave the theatre, and returned her money, and she went without any remark.

At the time you did that, were you acting towards her as you would towards any woman in the same circumstances?

[258] In the same way, just the same.

Of course, there is in this theatre, as there is in every theatre, a ladies' room.

A cloak room in every theatre.

Ladies going into the boxes or into the stalls, leave their cloaks there?

Leave their cloaks there. They may leave their bonnet on a wet night and arrange their hair.

Is there slightest truth in the suggestion that they are supplied with paint there?

I believe there is some cold cream in a pot. I believe that is the terrible weapon.

And I suppose there is a powder puff?

Undoubtedly; there is sure to be that.

Not an unusual thing I suppose, in the dressing room of a theatre.

Or in any lady's room, as far as I am a judge.

Is every step taken that is possible in looking after this place, by the number of people employed, by the directions given to them to have the place properly conducted and in an orderly manner?

Every possible care is taken, I assure you. Every man or woman is looked over before they come into the house.

--- cross-examined by Mr. Bailache

As to all these people that you speak of - you do not [259] object to a prostitute coming in as long as she behaves herself?

It is a difficult matter to define what is a prostitute. A person claims admission to a theatre: how would you define - at least I must not ask you that - but you could not define it.

Then any well-behaved woman goes in?

Any well-behaved woman goes in.

You are about there a great deal?

A great deal about there.

Then you know a lot of ladies who come there, by sight?

By sight, yes.

Seeing them there night after night?

Yes, night after night some of them.

Week after week?

I would hardly say that.

Month after month?

I would not say that.

You have seen them come for years, have you not?


Seen them there night after night?

I have seen them there night after night.

You know them well?

No, pardon me, I do not.

You know them by sight?

Oh, I know some of them by sight.

I am not attempting to take away your character at all, Mr. Slater. I [260] mean you know them by sight.

I know some of them by sight.

Then do you know that Miss Reed, when she went the other night,  was immediately recognised by one of your attendants and followed by him.

I cannot say that; I did not know that. She was recognised by me on the second time she came as being a  woman who had been debarred from the house and asked to leave, and I made enquiries how she got in. It was an extraordinary thing she got in.

Now then, when she the other night, she says she was recognised immediately by the attendant and followed about the place. You cannot deny that?

I cannot deny it or agree to it because I do not know it was so.

Now, Mr. Slater, your suggestion is that you thought she was either a pickpocket or a prostitute?

No, I do not say that. I do not say that of this lady at all. I do not say that.

I understood that to be -

No, I said the reason we have to have so much care is that women going on as she did -

I understood that you turned her out because you thought she was either pickpocket or prostitute?

No, I turned her out because she was [261] inciting men to accost her; and she refused to take a seat in the auditorium.  That is why I turned her out.

Because she refused to take a seat?

To take a seat.

There were hundreds of other women there, I suppose who did not take seats?

I will not say hundreds. There were others.


There might have been scores.

Why did you particularly want to get rid of this one woman?

I did not wish to get rid of her. We rather punished ourselves in getting rid of the lady, because we returned her her 5s.

Do you return disorderly women their money when you eject them?

We so rarely have disorderly women that I can hardly remember.

When you do eject them do you return their money?

You think not.

Just tell me about that.

We do return the money. The reason I said "you think not" was because I did not like to contradict you.

You do return the money?

All men or women we eject we return them their money.

Even if you eject them for being disorderly?


I should like to know exactly why you turned Miss Reed out - because [262] she would not take a seat? Is that the reason?

No, it is not.

Why did you, then?

Because she continued to incite men to accost her.

She says you recognised her.

She says so, yes.

Now I want to know what your system is.

I did not know her. I did not know who she was till I recognised her here today.

You knew she was not a regular frequenter of the place?

Well, I can hardly say I knew that.

You know the regular frequenters.

No, I do not.

Not by sight?

Not all of them.

And you are there every night?

Every night.

You know some of them.

Some of them.

What do you say these women come night after night for? What is their reason for coming night after night?

I have never gone into the matter. It never occurred to me, as long as they behave themselves properly.

Now let me suggest to you and see if you can answer. It does not require deep consideration. You know a lot of women who come there. you know them by sight?

[263] Yes, I know them by sight.

And they come night after night. They come to the promenade. Do you suggest that they come to see the play, that they come to see the pieces?

I could not suggest anything of the kind.

Then what do they come for?

I think they come for the music. Many hundreds of people there come for the music, sit and smoke their cigar, and listen to the music, and they look at the stage.

That is what these women come for?

I think so. I -

Do they talk to men at all?

I have seen women talk to men, and I have seen men talk to women.

In the promenade.

In the promenade, in the stalls, in the private boxes, and in the gallery, I have seen the same thing.

I am speaking about the promenade.


Have you seen prostitutes talking with men there?

I should not recognise a prostitute unless she behaved - if I saw a woman ply her trade in the streetI should know what she was.

So your view, then, Mr. Slater, that when you are in the Empire you do not know a prostitute unless she behaves in some disorderly way?

[264] Unless she behaves as a prostitute would, disorderly or plying her trade - then I can see that a woman is a prostitute, and then she is removed.

Until she does that you are not able to tell?

No, I am not able to tell, and I do not think any other man can.

What is your experience of the Wets End of London?

15 years - at this theatre nearly 7 years.

And yet you have not sufficient experience to tell you that?

Not to say that a woman is a prostitute.

Not noticing her night after night going to your place?

I could not say she was a prostitute.

And then you say you can only say that when she behaves in some outrageous way?

If she is plying her trade and accosting people, and soliciting, then I say that woman is a prostitute.

How do these women get drink off these men? Tell me how they manage it.

By invitation I should think in many cases.

By invitation?

I should think so. That is the way a lady generally drinks with a gentleman.

Do you suggest that does not arouse your suspicions when you can see two people who did not know each other before drinking together?

I have not said that they did not [265] know each other.

Then you think the women who come there know the men?

I did not state that. You have not asked me the question.

How do they come to drink together?

I do not know.

You do not know?

It is not part of my business.

No idea?

As long as they behave themselves that is all I have to deal with.

That is to say as long as they do not make a noise?

As long as they behave themselves properly.

Do you mean make no noise?

Make no noise, create no disturbance, behave as an audience should behave - orderly.

As long as they do that you do not interfere?

Do not interfere.

As long they do that you think they are brother and sister or husband and wife.

I do not know.

What is your opinion of it?

I have no opinion upon the subject - whether they are brother or sister. None at all.

You do not exercise your mind upon it at all?

No, not upon it.

And perhaps you do not open your eyes either to see?

Oh, I think I open my eyes.

[266]  You open your eyes upon it, but you do not exercise your mind upon it.

I did not say so. You say so.

No business of you, only let them be quiet and then you let them alone. Is that your view?

It is not my view.

When do you interfere?

When they misbehave themselves. If a woman accosts a man, or a man accost a woman, I interefere.

What do you call accosting? Must it be verbally?

Oh dear, no. Accosting is done in many many ways.

The Chairman: You must really keep within reasonable bounds. We do not like to interfere.

Mr. Gill: My position is this. I have got Mr. Edwardes here. I tender him as a witness. I have a number of gentlemen here who frequently go to the Empire, gentlemen of position, and who would be prepared to give evidence as to this being a perfectly properly conducted place, people who come there to hear the music and so on. I do not know whether the Committee desire it?

The Chairman: I think we ought to have some evidence of that sort.

--- Mr. Edwardes called

The Chairman: We do not care to hear Mr. Edwardes. We would like some independent gentleman.

[269] ---- The Hon. Hugh Spencer Boscawen called, examined by Mr. Gill

You live at South Street, Park Lane? Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Wicklow?


You are a magistate of the county of Middlesex?


You know the Empire Theatre and you have visited it from time to time.

I have.

And have you been to these promenades, the promenade downstairs and the promenade upstairs?


Have you had an opportunity of seeing how the place is conducted?

I have.

You have been in your time to a good many theatres, I daresay, and music halls.


How do you say the place is conducted?

I should say that there is no place of entertainment more carefully or better managed.

We know the entertainment is a remarkably good entertainment, a splendid orchestra?


--- cross-examined by Mr. Bailache

As to the promenades, will you say there are large numbers of prostitutes from time to time in the promenade?

Well, I would not say a large number.

Considerable number?


[268] A few?

I mean I cannot tell you.

A few?

I should think very likely, but I mean I cannot tell you more than that.

Have you been solicited yourself in the Empire at all?




Never been accosted by a woman there at all?

No, I do not remember ever being.

Have you seen other cases of solicitation at all?


Never at all?

Never noticed any.

Have you been there pretty often?


When were you last there?

Last Thursday.

Quite recently?


Mr. Roberts: Do you go to the promenade?


Is it the promenade you normally go to?

I go to different parts, sometimes a box, sometimes a stall, sometimes the promenade.

Do you walk around the theatre, or do you simply go there occasionally to see the performance?

I go there to see the performance and walk about and listen to the band before I go home.

[269] You have seen nothing to object to in the promenade?


May I ask have you been solicited?

No, not that I remember.

Mr. Dixon  Have you ever had women come up to you and ask you to treat them?


Not to give them drink?


Nor have you noticed it?

No, I have never noticed it, certainly, they never have to me.

--- Mr. Charles L. Leatherby called, examined by Mr. Gill

Are you churchwarden and overseer for this parish of St. Ann.

I am.

Do you know the Empire? Have you been frequently there?


You have seen the entertainments there for years past?

Very often.

Have you been in the promenades?

I mostly walk through the promenade when I go.

From what you have seen of this place, how should you say it is conducted as a place of entertainment?

I should consider it is conducted in an exceptionally good manner, and is a great credit to those who manage it.

Have you ever been solicited in the place [270]  or asked to give women drink, or anything of the kind?


Is there any ground for saying it is a place where excessive drinking goes on, or indecent conduct?

No, I think it is untrue.

--- cross-examined by Mr. Bailache

Do you say you walk through the promenade.


Have you stayed any length of time in it al all?

Yes, sometimes I stand in the promenade and see the performance when all the seats are full.

Have you been solicited there at all?

No, not once, and I have been in on many occasions - ever since it was opened.

You have not been solicited?

No, I have not.

Did I hear you say you were a Vestryman?

Yes, I am a Vestryman, and again an overseer.

Is that Mr [---blank space here---] parish?


Mr. Gill: I call one other witness.

The Chairman: Very well.

--- Mr. S.A.Bartlett called, examined by Mr. Gill

Have you been to the Empire on many occasions?

I have.

In the different parts of the house?


Have you been in the promenade?

[271] I have been in the promenade, the fauteuils, the 3s. places.

Have you had a full opportunity of forming an opinion as to how it is conducted as  a place of public entertainment?

I think it is managed excellently well.

Is there any ground for saying it is a place where there is excessive drinking going on, or that men are accosted there?

There is no ground whatever, in my judgment.

Mr. Roberts: I should like to ask you one question: are you a shareholder in the Empire?

No, I am not,  and I have no connection with it at all.

Do you often go there?

Yes, I was there last on night of September the 24th but I have been away from London for a fortnight or probably I should have been there since.

You have been frequently there?

I have been there twice a week, possibly three times, since 1888 I should say.

And do you often go into the promenade?

I nearly always go into the promenade, I prefer it.

And you have seen nothing objectionable?

I have never seen anything objectionable.

Mr. Dixon: Have you noticed any drunkenness?

I have not. I saw a man trying to get in one night, he was probably turned out.

[272] Mr. Gill: Very quickly, I think.

Very quickly.

--- Mr. Henry Ashley Travers Cummings called

You have visited the Empire from time to time.

Very often.

What do you say as to the way in which the place is conducted as a place of public entertainment?

About the best in London, I should think.

Is there any ground for saying it is a place where disorderly conduct goes on, or excessive drinking?

Not the slightest.

Have you ever been accosted there?


Or interfered with in any way?


You are in an official position?


Nothing whatever to do with this?

Nothing at all.

The Chairman: You offered to put Mr. Edwardes in the box. The Committee think you ought to tender him, so that Mr. Bailache may have the opportunity to cross-examine him.

--- Mr. George Edwardes called

I am not going to take you over any details with regard to this. I will take from you first this fact: the entertainment presented at the Empire is a very high class entertainment?


[273] An enormous amount of money spent on it, and very great care?

I believe it is the most careful entertainment in London.

In connection with it a very large number of people are employed?


With regard to the general conduct of the house, is there great care taken that it should be well-conducted?

Every care that is possible is taken that the place should be well conducted, both on the stage and in the front of the house.

--- cross-examined by Mr. Bailache

I think I ought to ask you just a question or two. Do you agree with your acting manager Mr. Slater that as long as the women in the promenade do not make themselves conspicuous you do not interfere with them?

No, we do not interfere with them so long as they behave themselves. Whether they are gay women or not, we do not interfere with them so long as they conduct themselves properly.

Whether they are gay women or not, as long as they behave themselves you leave them alone.


Now what do you mean by "as long as they behave themselves" - as long they do not make a noise?

No, as long as they do not walk [274] about and attract attention unnecessarily.

You know they do walk about  all the time in the promenade. That is what the promenade is for, is it not?

No, not altogether.

Is it not to walk about?

If a woman walks constantly up and down the promenade, she is stopped and told to sit down.

Whether she makes a noise or not?

Whether she makes a noise or not. If she is seen constantly going there walking up and down, she is stopped and told that she must not go there to walk up and down; she must take a seat. If she keeps on she is then after two or three occasions not allowed in the place again.

I suppose you agree with Mr. Slater that the same women go there pretty frequently.

They do, yes.

You agree with him that you cannot tell whether they are gay women or not?

You can tell that they are gay.

You do not quite agree with at. You can they are gayish, you may say. Of course, there are a great number of respectable people in the promenade, and a great number of men that are a little gay.

Yes, I am not saying a word against that. But you can tell that these women [275] are, as you say, a little gay, and they do come in fact a good many times night after night, the same women.

Yes, they do come frequently.

What you require of them is understood -

That they should behave themselves.

Mr. Gill: I have a good deal of other evidence but it is all to the same effect. A number of witnesses, members of the public, not connected with the company in any way and no interest in it, are willing to give evidence, but I do not propose to repeat the evidence that has been already given.

The Chairman: Is that all?

Mr. Gill: That will be the case.

[The Committee Retired]

After a short time they returned into Court.

The Chairman: The Committee have decided to recommend the Council to grant the licence.