Public Meeting About Fallen Women

In The Liverpool Mercury—a popular newspaper company in the 1800s—there was a particular  first-person account that caught the attention of many. For most, it was a small step towards a brighter future; one where women would be more respected. For others, though it was a good act for prostitutes, it still wasn’t enough to aid in the horrible conditions that ‘fallen women’ had to live in. This account described the incredible public meeting that occurred 26 November 1860 where men and women were both invited to and discussed the betterment of prostitutes. As the population grew to exponential numbers in Britain during the Victorian era, the number of prostitutes expanded as well. The church and police were finally starting to look towards the ‘fallen women’ because for most, that was the only way to earn money. Therefore, this called to action a change for the environment these women were forced to live in. The church and police were willing to be considerate and the women were offered lodging and money if they wished to get another job or return to their families (Article in the Liverpool Mercury about a meeting of the 'Fallen Women'). However, they were only offered 26 beds. For an enormous population and a great number of ‘fallen women,’ that would prove to be unhelpful. In the newspaper article, the author states, “The accommodation was found to be very inadequate. If this movement is to be carried on, funds must be forthcoming. Not only a home must be provided, but suitable employment for those who avail themselves of it” (Midnight Meeting of Fallen Women). It was a good first step towards the socio-economic problem yet at the same time, it wasn’t enough to truly change the overall issue. However, people were starting to be more understanding of these ‘fallen women’ because a lot of them were forced to be in that situation. The citizens were compassionate towards them and were willing to help. In that regard, it was a huge step towards a better socio-economic situation during that time. 

Class, gender, and rank are huge aspects in the themes of the Victorian novels we’ve been reading. How a person earns their money is greatly looked on and determines their character. For ‘fallen women,’ that was seen as something morally horrible and disgusting. However, with this article and account, it reveals the progress that the society was moving towards. There was change in the society and there was change in the novels we studied as well. 


“Article in the Liverpool Mercury about a Meeting of the 'Fallen Women'.” British Library,

“Midnight Meeting of Fallen Women.” The Liverpool Mercury, 26 Nov. 1860.

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

The end of the month Winter 1860