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Hi. I hope you are finding the W.T. Stead Resource Site helpful. If so, please consider making a contribution to help me preserve this valuable resource for future researchers. As a subscription-free resource, this website depends on donations to help with the cost of development, hosting and historical research. Thank-you.

Owen Mulpetre, BA (Hons) Mphil

Reasons to support this website..

A treasure trove of contemporary documentation..
Richard Webster - The Secret of Bryn Estyn: The Making of a Modern Witch Hunt

W.T. Stead & the Eliza Armstrong Case

The Eliza Armstrong Case was the criminal prosecution of Stead and his accomplices for the abduction and indecent assault of thirteen-year-old Eliza Armstrong. From the impoverished Marylebone area of London, Eliza was the real face behind the character of Lily, who's tragic fate in "A Child of Thirteen Bought for £5" concluded the first installment of The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon. Having heard during his investigations that unscrupulous parents were willing to sell their own children into prostitution, Stead sent his agent, reformed prostitute Rebecca Jarrett, into Marylebone to purchase a child, to show to how easily young girls could be procured. The child procured was Eliza Armstrong, allegedly sold to Jarrett by her own mother for just £5. Though never physically harmed, Eliza was nonetheless put through the motions of what a real child victim would have had to experience, including being "certified" a virgin by an abortionist midwife and being taken to a brothel where she was drugged with chloroform. She was then packed off to France under the care of the Salvation Army, leaving Stead to re-invent her as Lily in the Pall Mall Gazette. The subterfuge, however, did not prevent Eliza's mother from recognising the character of Lily as her daughter. Claiming she had been duped into parting with Eliza, she went to the police, who brought charges of abduction and indecent assault against Stead and his accomplices. After two lengthy trials, Stead and three others, including Jarrett, were convicted at the Old Bailey and incarcerated. Stead was sentenced to three months in Coldbath-in-the-Fields prison, but was later transferred to Holloway as a first class inmate.

© Owen Mulpetre 2012

Proceedings at Bow Street

1st Day' Proceedings (Wednesday, September 2, 1885)
2nd Day's Proceedings (Monday, September 7, 1885)
3rd Day's Proceedings (Tuesday, September 8, 1885)

The Press on the Armstrong Case

A Missing Daughter (July 13, 1885)
The Press on the Armstrong Case (November 11, 1885)
Lloyd's Weekly London Newspaper (August 9, 1885)
Lloyd's Weekly London Newspaper (September 27, 1885)

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