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

The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon

Published in the Pall Mall Gazette in July, 1885, "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon" was Stead's highly scandalous expose of child prostitution. A tour de force of late nineteenth century prostitution, it exposed in graphic detail the entrapment, abduction and "sale" of young under-privileged girls to London brothels. Written in successive installments, Stead's "infernal narrative", as he called it, revealed to a respectable readership a criminal underworld of stinking brothels, fiendish procuresses, drugs and padded chambers, where upper-class paedophiles could revel "in the cries of an immature child."

Within days, the series was an international sensation, and in London, frenzied crowds of newspaper vendors lay siege to the Pall Mall Gazette offices for reprints. With sensational crossheads, such as "The Violation of Virgins" and "Strapping Girls Down", the "Maiden Tribute" threw London society into a state of moral panic, and forced, as a consequence, the passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, which raised the age of consent for girls from 13 to 16. Stead and several of his accomplices (including Bramwell Booth of the Salvation Army) were later brought to trial as a result of the unlawful methods used in the investigation (see the Eliza Armstrong Case) and Stead himself spent three months in prison for abduction.

© Owen Mulpetre 2012

The Eliza Armstrong Case

The Armstrong Case

Miscellaneous

Speech by Stead on the "Maiden Tribute" Campaign (August 21, 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