Wednesday 16 March 2016

The Empire Theatre of Varieties

The Empire Theatre of Varieties (a high-class West End music hall) is famous in Victorianist circles for the attempt by self-described 'social puritans' to close it down in 1894, principally on the grounds of prostitution in the dress circle promenade (the most expensive part of the house). The 1894 licensing session at the London County Council's Theatres and Music Halls Committee was prefigured by this similar, briefer effort by the notorious anti-music hall home missionary Frederick Charrington, in the 1890 sessions. (LMA ref.  LCC/MIN/10803)

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Hearing at the Session House, Clerkenwell, October 7th [? illeg.] 1890

Mr. Forrest Fulton: In this case I am instructed to ask the Committee to recommend the Council to renew the Licence. We have had no notice of any opposition.

Mr. Charrington: I oppose this licence.

Mr. Frye: Have you had any notice of opposition?

Mr Forrest Fulton: No none whatever.

The Chairman: Would you prefer to go on at once?

Mr. Forrest Fulton: I have conferred with Mr. Edwardes, who appears on behalf of the Directors, and he prefers that the matter should be gone into immediately.

Major Probyn: I think it is exceedingly unfair to applicants not to have notice opposition. I think for the opposition to come up in this way is not at all in conformity with English ideas of fair play.

The Chairman: The Committee were not aware that any opposition was intended until this moment.

Mr. Fulton: Your rules require notice of opposition, and whether it comes from your own body or from the general public it is only fair to applicants that they should have [20] notice of it.

The Chairman: Our rules do not provide for that.

Mr. Foster: Would not the justice of the case be met by giving the applicant an opportunity of adjournment?

Col. Rotton: Would it not be for the advantage of the cases generally that it should be distinctly understood that the Claimant should not be in any worse position in consequence of it coming on now than he would have been if the case had been adjourned.

Mr. Fulton: The difficulty would at once occur to every member of your body that we have no knowledge whatever of the nature of the complaint that it made. The notice of complaint should contain the reasons - as for instance "harbouring prostituets"; "indecent dance"; "indecent songs;" and matters of that kind, and days and dates so that we might know what is the complaint: otherwise, of course, we have no means whatever of meeting it.

The Chairman: It is quite as inconvenient to the Committee as it is to the applicant.

Mr. Westacott: May I suggest that if any notice had been given by any one beforehand outside the Council they would have had to give the grounds of their objection: if Mr. Charrington is now objecting he should state the grounds of his objection and if afterwards the Counsel wish for time it would be only fair to give them time to get in the evidence.

[21] The Chairman: Mr. Charrington proposes to make a statement.

Mr. Beachcroft: I would ask, whether the course now being adopted by this Council is not precisely the same as that adopted by the Bench of Magistrates.

Mr. Fulton: No, the practice of the Middlesex Magistrates was that the unopposed cases were taken on a different day from the opposed. The moment Notice of Opposition was given the case was put in the opposed list: it was taken that day week, and, in that way the difficulty was met.

The Chairman: I should like to say that the Magistrates always felt they could raise any opposition on the Bench without giving any notice.

Mr. Fulton: I quite agree with that.

The Chairman: We are prepared to do that today in any case where there is opposition at the last moment by a member of the Council.

Mr. Fulton: We have now a different tribunal and I was always of opinion - it was the general opinion of the profession - that the practice of the old Middlesex Magistrates was in that respect an exceedingly unfair one, and now we have a new tribunal we hope it may be altered, and that we shall have the same notice from a member of the body as we do from an objecting member of the public. That is the view I take of it.

The Chairman: What is your objection, Mr. Charrington?

Mr. Charrington: In the first place I think it is perfectly reasonable what Counsel urge on [22] the other side, and for my own part, I should be prepared to adjourn this case to tomorrow or a later day - a fortnight if he likes - to give him the opportunity that he desires. I entirely agree on that point - I do not wish to press this matter to-day. I willingly give notice today.

The Chairman: It will be better that you should state the grounds of your objection.

Mr. Charrington: The reason I am opposing this particular house - the Empire - is that from the evidence I have it is not only the resort of prostitutes - it is not only that prostitutes go there but that the prostitution is of the most dangerous character possible to those that go to this house. The licence I opposed recently affected the poor at the East End of London, and now I oppose this licence on the ground that it is particularly dangerous to young men of the better class. I am given to understand, on good authority, that there may be seen young fellows up from Oxford and Cambridge, and there they see prostitution and vice in its most attractive form. The evidence I think will prove to your satisfaction that not only is this prostitution going on and prostitutes there frequently and night after night I believe - but that the whole matter is arranged quite different to any other Music Hall - that prostitutes in this Empire Music Hall and Theatre are dressed very often in evening dress and instead of occupying the cheaper seats they are found in the best part of the house so that as I say you may find young fellows up from [23] Oxford and Cambridge just entering life and there they are inveigled into this scene of vice and prostitution. I think it is most injurious and on these grounds I beg to oppose the licensing of this Music Hall today. If the Committee do not see their way to actually taking away the licence I trust it may be the means at any rate of drawing attention to it, and perhaps deterring many from being inveigled into this place who otherwise might be if they did not know the character of the house. I consider it does a great deal of good if we only draw attention to the character of some of these houses.

Mr. Foster: Would Mr. Charrington indicate the nature of the evidence he proposes to call?

Mr. Chairman: He is stating the case generally.

Mr. Charrington: I will if a member of the Committee wishes it. I shall be happy to say my informant went to the Empire Theatre on one or more evenings.

Mr. Foster: Is he here?

Mr. Charrington: Yes. He thought the ballet was very indecent indeed.

Mr. Bassett Hopkins: I am very sorry to interrupt my honourable colleague, but I venture to submit to you, sir, that there is nothing in our regulations of procedure which justifies a member of the Committee in opening his case.

Mr. Charrington: I entirely agree at once.

Mr. Hopkins: I suggest that Mr. Charrington should now call his evidence.

Mr [blank] He was asked to state his ground of opposition.

Mr. Hopkins: Yes, but he now purposes, as far as I [24] gather to state what he expects his witnesses will hereafter state. That will necessarily be occupying time.

The Chairman: He was rather asked to do it.

Mr. Fulton: Having heard Mr. Charrington's statement as to the grounds of his objection would you prefer now that we should go on?

Mr. Fulton: Certainly the management are perfectly satisfied that nothing can be proved against it.

Mr. Charrington: My further objection and reason for opposing a licence to this Music Hall is that not only is it a source of temptation to young men of the better class but it is a most frightful source of temptation to young women of the poorest class to be tempted to live such a life of luxury instead of having the drawbacks and the hindrances that there are in a life of prostitution in the ordinary way. On those two grounds especially I oppose the licence of this particular house. Then a members of the Committee asks me to give some idea of the evidence that is to be submitted on this occasion, and I quite agree with my legal friend that it is rather out of place, but still if the Chairman rules it is right for my friend to ask the question, I am very pleased to have an opportunity of answering the question.

Mr. Westacott: May I ask if there are any grounds of objection other than the harbouring of prostitutes?

[25] The Chairman: Mr. Charrington has stated some grounds and, unless he states any more, we must assume they are all.

Mr. Charrington: I have been asked to speak as to the character of the evidence being present in this particular way, my informant will, I think, prove that the dresses are very indecent indeed - especially in the ballet called "The dream of Wealth".

The Chairman: Of the performers you mean in this case.

Mr. Charrington: The dress of the ballet girls in the piece entitled "The dream of Wealth." And then I believe he will be able to prove that not only were there prostitutes present but present in considerable numbers, In fact, I may mention that a member of this Committee - Mr. Macfarlane - on a previous occasion - and this is one of reasons for coming today -

The Chairman: That really will not be evidence unless you propose to call Mr. Macfarlane.

Mr. Charrington : I am not proposing to bring it as evidence but I have been asked the reasons for my opposing the licence for this particular house.

Col. Rotton: I do not think you were asked to state your reason.

Mr. Charrington: I was asked to state my grounds of objection; and I think certainly I am entitled to give my reasons also for opposing this particular licence. However, all I was going to say was this, Mr. Chairman - that I have been upbraided for opposing the licences to poor places [26] and I have been asked by members of this Committee - especially Mr. Macfarlane - why I do not oppose a place like the Empire Theatre where you may see 70 or 80 prostitutes any night; and other people said the same thing to me. That is one reason for my especially opposing this licence today, at any rate I shall not be accused in any way of partiality in the matter, for if I attack the poor places I attack the rich ones also. However, I do not know that I have anything further to say in regard to this particular house. Mr. Barclay is the name of my informant: he will come forward; but if he is not present I will ask that this case may be adjourned till tomorrow.

-- Mr William Barclay called and examined

Mr. Besley: This is our friend the Grocer.

Mr. Charrington: I think you paid a visit to the Empire Theatre and Music Hall on Friday August 3rd: did you pay one visit.

Yes, about that time - I could not tell you the date exactly - about that time.

Col. Rotton - You do not know the date?

No, I do not.

Mr. Charrington:  It was about the first of August?

About that time, yes.

And on that occasion I should like to ask you what you thought of the dresses of the performers. Whether you thought it decent [27] or indecent?

Mr. Hopkins. Not what he thought.

The Chairman: You really should not put leading questions, Mr. Charrington. You should ask him what he saw which in his opinion was objectionable.

Mr. Charrington:  What did you see that you was objectionable?

I thought the dresses exposing the shapes of the performers very much - and the remark I heard from people sitting before me alluded to the same thing.

Did you think it was indecent or not?

I did think it was indecent.

Very indecent?

Very indecent.

And that was in a ballet entitled what? Do you remember the name of the ballet.

The Dream of Wealth.

And did you see any people that were disgusted besides yourself?

Yes. One lady sitting before me with her daughter. She stopped during some portion of the performance and then at least she said "I am so thoroughly disgusted I will not stay."

Mr. Fulton: Is it possible you can admit statements by this witness of something that somebody said she is not here and who is not called, and whom I shall have no means of cross-examining, because that is such a defiance of the first principles of evidence as administered in this country for centuries.

[28] Mr. Charrington: Did it evidently produce disgust in the minds of others of the audience besides yourself?

Mr. Fulton: I object.

Mr. Charrington:  Did they evidently show by their behaviour that they were disgusted?

Mr. Fulton: I object.

Mr. Charrington:  Did they get up and go out disgusted with the whole thing. Did you hear them say so?

The Chairman: Objection is taken to the question, and we must be governed, as nearly as we can by the practice of Courts of Law and we must hear the objection that Mr. Fulton has to make.

Mr. Forrest Fulton: I object upon every point of view. The impression upon this witness' own mind he can give us, but the impression upon the minds of other people it is impossible he can give - for the best of all reasons - he is not able to peer into their minds; and the mere fact that a person went out would not be evidence that he went out because of what he saw. The question was in a leading form, but I pass by that, for it is objectionable on much wider grounds than that it is in a leading form.

Mr. Charrington:  Did you have any sort of real evidence - that they actually said they were disgusted?

I only heard "No - no".

The Chairman (to Mr. Charrington): You must confine yourself to what the witness saw which [29] in his opinion was of an objectionable character.

Mr. Charrington: Tell us what you saw as to the indecency of the dresses and so on - the impression produced in you.

The impression was that the dress was indecent.

Mr. Fulton: You have told us that, because it exposed the shapes of the performers.

Mr. Charrington:  Perhaps you will say how I might ask the question.

The Chairman: The witness has twice or three times I may say stated that in his opinion the dresses were objectionable - he has not said why they were objectionable or anything beyond that.

Col. Rotton: He says they exposed the form.

Mr. Fulton: His evidence, as I have taken it down, was this "The dresses were objectionable as exposing the shapes of the performers."

The Witness: And the necks of the dresses were so law that you could simply see their dresses.

Mr. Charrington:  Do I understand you to say that the upper part of the dress was indecent and also the lower part of the dress was indecent too?


In exposing the person?


I take it that clearly you consider it indecent in both ways?


That it exposed the person above and exposed the person of the performer below?


Mr. Frye [?]: Did you ever go to the Theatre?


Mr. Charrington: Now as to the presence of prostitutes in the place: can you tell us whether you found it was the resort of prostitutes?

In the dress circle there were a great number of prostitutes - respectably dressed prostitutes walking about in twos promenading round from one end to the other - some were sitting down.

Were they particularly well dressed compared to other places?

Very well dressed indeed.

And I understan you to say you found them in the better parts of the Theatre?

In the upper part of the building - the better part.

Can you give us an idea as to how many were present at the one particular part where you were?

They were principally in the dress circle - I should say there were from twenty to thirty.

Twenty to thirty in one part alone?


In the dress circle. And did you find any in other parts of the house?

No. As I came down back again to the bottom of the building one went down before me - looked round - and went down the stairs - looked round and then went up again. She came down to find some one and went [31] back again.

You saw some of these prostitutes pace from one part of the house to another - apparently looking after customers - and then going back again?

Mr. Fulton: The witness has never said so.

The Chairman: No: the witness did not say that.

Mr. Charrington: I did not quite catch you.

One lady came down stairs from the upper part to the basement. She looked round and went back again.

And were you there a tolerably long time?

I was there about three hours.

Did you see them drinking with gentlemen?

No, I did not.

Is there any other instance you wish to tell us of?

No more than on leaving I stayed outside and saw a great many of them go away in hansom cabs.

With gentlemen?

Some with gentlemen. One went out with a decanter of brandy on her arm and a gentlemen with her. They went away in a hansom together.

You saw one prostitute go away with a decanter of brandy?

Col. Rotton. He did not say so.

Was she a prostitute?


Mr. Charrington: You believe it was a prostitute?

Major Probyn: What do you draw your inference from that the lady was a prostitute?

[32] From their parading around by themselves.

To the best of your knowledge you think that this woman was certainly a prostitute who went off in a cab?


You do not think it was a very lady-like thing to go off with a bottle of brandy under her arm?

It was not wrapped up in paper. It was simply lying on the arm. Ladies as a rule get them wrapped up.

-- Cross-examined by Mr. Fulton

How many times did you visit this place?

Only once - one occasion.

Have you ever been to the theatre?

Many times.

Have you seen a ballet at the theatre or at the opera?

No I have not.

Never have?


Have you ever seen ladies in evening dress?

Oh yes, very frequently.

At other place than the Empire?

Yes, at theatres.

Will you be good enough to tell us in what respect did the dresses of the people there differ from ordinary evening-dress worn by people in this country as a matter of habit?

Nothing very different that I can tell you.

[33] Now then about exposing the shapres of the performers - do you suppose any ballet could be performed without the person wearing tights underneath the dresses?


You know it is the universal practice in every city of the world for dancers to wear tights underneath short dresses?


Was that done here?

They did not have short dresses?

Did they have long ones?

No - open down the side.

Open down the side - this is a new description to me.

They were drawn up at the side.

Were they dancing as men do you mean?

They were dancing in this ballet.

They had open trousers fastened at the knee - is that what you mean?

No, I do not.

What do you mean? What were these dresses which you say exposed the forms of the performers?

Some of them changed so often it was impossible to bear in one's mind how they were dressed - they kept coming on in groups.

It was a ballet where sometimes they appeared in one character and something in another?


You were very much shocked?

Not over shocked I was not - but I did not think it decent.

[34] If you did not think it was decent I suppose you were shocked?

No, I am not so easily shocked.

You were not shocked?


Yet you thought it was indecent?


Was there any note taken by you of what you saw?


How came you to go there? You went there about the first of August. In July you were appointed an Inspector under the Council - it was the 16th July you were appointed I think?

I could not say the date.

Do you really mean to tell me on your oath that you do not know perfectly well?

The Chairman: He is not on his oath.

Mr. Fulton: You ought to have the power to administer an oath.

Mr. Hopkins: We can take the evidence on Statutory Declaration.

Mr. Fulton: Do you really mean to tell me that you do not know that on the 16th July or thereabouts you were appointed an Inspector under this body, the County Council.

I do not: as far as a my memory serves me I had a note to that I should be required to attend, but I do not believe I had my instructions and rules at that time from the County Council. I am not clear.

From whom did you receive your instructions to go there on the 1st of August?

[35] From Mr. Charrington.

Did you submit a report to him of what you have seen?


Where is it?

Mr. Charrington has it, I believe.

Was that the result of notes you made at the time?

Notes I made next morning when I got home - not at the time.

When was it you submitted this Report? You went home on the first of August. This is the first of October. When was it you submitted the Report?

To Mr. Charrington?


Some few days ago.

Only a few days ago?

That is is all.

Will you tell us seeing these things which shocked you and were so indecent on the first of August, why it was that you did not make a Report until a few days ago?

I had several places to visit for Mr. Charrington; and I was to send all my reports in together. Mr. Charrington has been away from home and I sent them to him when he came back again.

That is the reason you only sent them a few days ago?


You say you saw several prostitutes in the dress circle?


Had you ever seen any of the persons whom you [36] describe as prostitutes before?

No: it was my first visit there.

Will you be good enough to tell me how you know they were prostitutes?

By their manner of walking round.

Tell me how they walked round different from other people?

In twos walking about.

Do I understand you to ask this Committee to say that because they walked round in twos - therefore you came to the conclusion that they were prostitutes?

By the manner of their going about - the manner of passing by people and looking with their eyes and the suggestion -

Did they look at you?

They might have done.

Did they look at you?

I do not know that they did.

Did they look at you?

Not in the manner I suggest - they did not.

But you suggest they looked at other people?

I was hardly swell enough for them I expect.

Do not say that. I do not disparage your appearance at all. They did not as a matter of fact look at you, but at other people. Did anything come of the looking?

No, I did not see any engagements made.

How long were these ladies in the dress circle?

An hour.

An hour walking about in twos and looking [37] at people and nobody took any notice of them?

I think - I am not on my oath - I might say there was one walked away - sat down by the side of a gentleman and got into conversation with him.

There were 20 or 30 according to your evidence?


But only one of them sat down by a gentleman?

That I noticed.

And whether she knew the gentleman before or not you do not know?


That is the only instance you can give of any one of them speaking to any gentleman there?


Did you see any of these undergraduates and persons who were being corrupted by what they saw?

I could not discern them.

They did not seem to take much notice of these ladies?

I should not know an undergraduate from anybody else.

You say these ladies were very attractive?


And yet you were there for an hour and only saw one go and sit down by a gentleman?

Only one I noticed.

You were there for the purpose of noticing: that [38] is what you went there for?


You kept your eyes open and walked about?

I sat down occasionally.

Can you tell us anything else which caused you to come to this conclusion. Were there any walking alone?

Not many -several.

What did they do - anything?

Walked round about - looking out I suppose to see -

Do not tell us what you suppose. Tell us what you saw. They had as much right to walk about as you?

Most decidedly.

Tell us what they did besides walk about.

I cannot say.

Did they do anything?

I saw them do nothing.

As to this one unfortunate lady you say she was going downstairs and she looked round and turned back?

She wet downstairs and sat downstairs perhaps a minute.

And looked round and came back?

Came back again.

Did she see you when she looked round?

I could not say.

You could not say whether that is the reason she turned round - because she saw you?

I could not.

Nobody stoke to her; she went downstairs and came back again?

[39] Yes.

Is that the reason you can say she is a prostitute?

I go by her manner when she was walking about upstairs.

You have told us that she went downstairs - she remained there about a minute - she turned back again and went upstairs: now I want to know whether that is the reason why you ask the Committee to say that she was a prostitute.

I do not ask the Committee to say so. I say I have reason to say she was a prostitute.

She never solicited you?


Did any of them solicit as far as you know?


There is only one other matter to which you have deposed and that is the decanter of brandy.

I corrected myself and it was spirit.

It might have been sherry, might it not?

It might have been sherry.

Or toast [?] and water?

Why do you come here - you are not upon your oath as I am reminded - and tell us that this decanter contained brandy when you do not know in the least what it contained?

I corrected myself and said it might not have been brandy.

In the report you gave Mr. Charrington did you put down that the decanter contained brandy?

[40] I could not be certain.

Do you think you did?

I do not think so.

How was it carried?

Simply carried on the arm.



Do you know where she got it from?

Came from there with it.

Was it glass?

A square glass cut decanter.

Where did you first see this lady?

Coming down the steps from the dress circle.

Carrying a bottle?

Carrying a bottle.

Did she walk out with the bottle?

She walked out with the bottle and she got into a hansom cab with a gentleman.

Did you see her come in?

No, I saw her go out.

Did you see her in the place except going downstairs with the decanter?

I saw her in the evening with the others.

Had she the decanter then?


Did you see her go out?

I saw her go out.

With a gentleman?

With a gentleman.

She got into a cab and drove away?


How do you know she was a prostitute?

[41] By her manner.

Because she carried the bottle?

No, by seeing her walking about in the evening up there.

You have told us that.

I cannot tell you any more.

You did not see her soliciting anybody.

No I did not.

But you have told us that you saw her carrying a bottle which you say contained some spirits?

I saw her with this bottle on her arm.

You do not suggest she was not sober?


Did you see any persons that were not sober?


All perfectly sober and perfectly orderly.

A Member: We are all satisfied we do not wish for any more evidence.

Mr. Charrington: I wish to call the responsible manager.

Mr. Fulton: I do not know whether there is any report by the official employed by your body in regard to the conduct at this house?

The Chairman: We have no complaint whatever against the Empire.

Mr. Fulton: On the part of your official.

Mr. Chairman: Certainly not. If we had we should have opposed the licence.

Mr. Fulton: I only wanted to know that as a matter of fact.

-- Mr. George Edwardes called & examined

Mr. Charrington: Are you the responsible manager?

I am the Managing Director.

Mr. Fulton: Mr. Edwardes has been authorised by a decision of the Board to appear and apply here in the name of the Directors.

Mr. Charrington: I should like to ask you whether you do admit prostitutes or not to the Empire.

Not knowingly - certainly not.

Not knowingly?

We refuse prostitutes every night - ten or twelve.

And you do not allow them to remain in the place even if they are orderly and quiet and behave themselves?

If we know a woman to be a prostitute and a notorious character she is not admitted. There is an Inspector of Police at the entrance to refuse admission.

You deliberately undertake to say, on behalf of the Directors of the Empire, that you do not admit prostitutes into the Empire?

I do. We do not admit them knowing them to be prostitutes.

If there is a gentleman, and even a member of the Committee who says he saw 50 or 60 at one time he must be making  a mistake?

I should ask him to come with me and point them out.

You would say it could not be true?

Could not be true.

You never admit prostitutes into the Empire?

[43] Not knowingly.

You do not admit any women into the Empire that you know are prostitutes?


You deliberately say that?

I do.

And brothel keepers?


You never admit the brothel keepers?

No. I may say we keep a large staff of police and detectives to stop this particular business.

We know all about that.

I do not know what more we can do  - if you will suggest.

You deliberately say in this place, the Empire you admit no prostitutes?

Not knowing them to be such,

Nor keepers of the houses?


No bullies connected with them?

Certainly not.

Rough appearance or genteel appearance.

Of course, if we do not know them we cannot help admitting them.

To your knowledge they have never been admitted?

Certainly not.

Mr. Charrington: I do not think I need ask any more.

Mr. Foster: Does Mr. Charrington propose to call any other witnesses?

Mr. Charrington:  Yes, I shall ask the Inspector of Police to come as usual and swear [44] probably - well -

Mr. Corbett: I protest against that insinuation against the Police.

Mr. Charrington: If we have the same experience that we had last year.

-- Edward Birch (Inspector C Division) called & examined

Mr. Charrington: What is your evidence as to this house?

The Chairman: Have the Police made any complaint against the Empire?

None. It is visited two or three times a week by the Police, and by me, during the year; and our Report to the Commissioner of Police is that it is well conducted. That is my evidence here today.

Mr. Charrington:  My particular question to you is this - Are there or are there no prostitutes in that place - are they present in the Empire?

Not known to me as a prostitute. There are plenty of women, but I could not say they were prostitutes.

You deliberately say there are no prostitutes to your knowledge in the Empire?

Not harboured there. It is my opinion that women - reputed prostitutes - do go into the Empire; but to say that they are prostitutes I could not.

Reputed prostitutes do go into the Empire?

Do go into the Empire.

[45] Mr. McDougall: In any numbers - considerable numbers?

Well, I should say some - many sometimes. Sometimes I can see people of what I call questionable character perhaps ten or twenty; but I could not say they were prostitutes.

Mr. Frye: Because you do not know them?

Mr. Foster: Your opinion of them is that they are prostitutes?

Reputed prostitutes I should say they are.

We are asking your opinion.

The Chairman: You have seen them on your beat behaving as prostitutes.

Not as prostitutes. I have seen them at the place some times.

Mr. Charrington: These who as you say are reputed prostitutes, have you ever had an opportunity of seeing them there at different times?

I have.

You have seen reputed prostitutes again in the same place in the Empire.

Mr. Beachcroft: Have you been engaged in turning away any prostitute from the Empire Theatre in the evening?

I have not; but it has been reported to me by the Police that they have been requested to stop the entrance of prostitutes or reputed ones by the management; but I have not been called upon to do it.

[46] --- Examined by Mr. Fulton

You have been a great number of years in the force?


You have had a large experience in the control and management of house of public resort?


Is there any truth in the suggestion which has been made from the Bench that you deliberately falsify your evidence on these occasions and state that which you know to be untrue?

Mr. Hopkins: I do no think that question ought to be put, Mr. Chairman, especially in the form in which it was put.

Mr. Fulton: I thought that was the suggestion that the Police evidence was not to be believed?

Mr. Charrington: I said I hoped we should not have the evidence in the same way that we did last year from the Inspector.

Mr. Davies: I visited this house, and a gentlemen who is as actively engaged in work among the people of London as Mr. Charrington - we went there on a Saturday night and we found that the place was decently conducted. It is true there were prostitutes by their manner but at the same time they behaved themselves decently. We found when we got into the streets that we were [47] accosted; but whilst in the Empire we were not accosted, and the place in my opinion was conducted quite as it should be.

Mr. Frye: I have been there many times with my wife, and it is a most respectably conducted place.

The Witness: I may inform you that all the times I visited the house and each Inspector it has never been recorded that he had had to call the attention of the management to any misbehaviour on the part of any women in the house.

Mr. McDougall: Do you go officially to the house?


Are you instructed to report as to the conduct of it?

Yes. I was never there on special duty. They do not employ an Inspector -

An Inspector in that district?


Ever since it was opened?

Yes, before it was opened.

I should like to be able to say in reply to two members of the Committee that I do not complain of the behaviour of the prostitutes inside the house, but to the presence of prostitutes in the Theatre.

Mr. Davies: May I say in reply to that Mr. Chairman that you will find prostitutes in the fashionable West-End churches.

The Chairman: Have you anything further?

Mr. Charrington: No.

[48] Mr. Westacott: I move that we recommend the granting of the licence.

The Chairman: The Committee are agreed that we should recommend the Council to grant the licence in this case; but I should like to say that Committee generally do not agree with the remarks which have fallen apparently as to the evidence of the Police. So far as we have been able to judge the Police have endeavoured to give evidence satisfactorily. There is a great deal of difficulty with regard to the Police, because their duties do not take them inside these buildings and it is impossible for them as a general rule to give evidence which entirely depends upon the nature of the performance inside the buildings, and it is unjust to the Police to make a general accusation that they evidence is untrustworthy.

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