Before you leave..

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

Mr. Charles Russell Q.C on Rebecca Jarrett

The Old Bailey (October 29, 1885). Quoted in Alison Plowden, The Case of Eliza Armstrong: A Child of 13 Bought for £5 (1974)

The Jury must know how, for years in this country, good and earnest men and women have deplored the injuries to which little girls, especially in crowded cities, were exposed; how they became objects on which debased passion centred itself; how, to gratify depraved tastes, children have been ruined for life; how they were made subjects almost of mercantile traffic; and how apparently this great country, with all its civilization and wealth, and its appliances of police and judicial machinery, was unable satisfactorily to deal with their protection. It is all very well for the armchair moralist to express decorous sentiments in denunciation of crime, and discourse placidly on the evils of the age, but there are times when special means must be resorted to, and when enthusiasm is necessary to rouse and, if need be, create popular feeling. It was for this reason that it occurred to these persons, to Mr. Stead and Mr. Bramwell Booth and to Rebecca Jarrett - to demonstrate that such a traffic was being carried on; that it was possible to get hold of a child of tender years, to get her examined by a midwife, to introduce her to a brothel, to administer chloroform so that a vile purpose could be accomplished and, finally, to deport the child from this country without leaving a trace.

It is my duty, gentlemen of the Jury, to address you on behalf of Rebecca Jarrett. Her history is a sad one. She herself, when a child of fifteen, was seduced by a person of position and, being eventually thrown aside as a worthless thing, has since led a life - as she will tell you - alternating between fits of decent employment, a weak desire for a better life and a relapse into her old paths of sin. In January of this year she was attracted by the Salvation Army service and again made an effort to quit the life she was leading. She was getting on in years and saw nothing but a dreary life and a shameful death before her. Whether her heart was touched, who shall say? At any rate, she professed to be touched and she came into the kindly care of the Salvation Army. She was afterwards taken charge of by Mrs. Josephine Butler of Winchester, and at the end of May she was in that lady's service.

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