W.T. Stead by Josephine Butler

Quoted in Harold Begbie, The Life of General William Booth (2 vols., New York, 1920)

Mr. Stead is publicly known only as a brave and enterprising reformer. But to my mind the memory is ever present of a dark night in which I entered his office, after a day of hand-to-hand wrestling with the powers of Hell. We stumbled up the narrow dark stairs; the lights were out, not a soul was there, it was midnight. I scarcely recognized the haggard face before me as that of Mr. Stead.

He threw himself across his desk with a cry like that of a bereaved or outraged mother, rather than that of an indignant man, and sobbed out the words, "Oh, Mrs. Butler, let me weep, let me weep, or my heart will break." He then told me in broken sentences of the little tender girls he had seen that day sold in the fashionable West-end brothels, whom he (father-like) had taken on his knee, and to whom he had spoken of his own little girls. Well might he cry, "Oh, let me weep!"


About this website

I founded this website in 2001 to assist me in my own research on W.T. Stead, little knowing then that it would become the largest online resource on Stead's life and career. Today this site is used by students, scholars and institutions around the world and has significantly contributed to the Study of W.T. Stead and the evils which he campaigned against. I hope you find it useful.

If you have a question that explicitly concerns any of the content on this website, feel free to Contact me and I will get back to you at my earliest convenience. However, please note that I no longer work in academia. With a very "busy" business to run, the time I can spare responding to enquiries through this website is finite, to say the least. So, please do not ask me to do research for you or assist in matters of family history.

Finally, though this website includes a section on Stead's obsession with spiritualism, I myself am not remotely interested in the subject. So, if you think you have seen Stead's ghost in your kitchen or believe you are the reincarnation of the great editor himself (or anyone else who died on the Titanic), I beg you not to tell me about it..

Owen Mulpetre, BA (Hons) MPhil