By Steve Jones
Last updated 2011-02-17
Sometimes both physical features and behavioural traits were noted. The average height for female offenders was around 5 foot, with men some 6 inches taller. Tattoos were de rigueur. These ranged from the usual assortment of self-inflicted 'I love Bill's' to professionally administered ships in full rig sailing across the offender's chest. Other popular prisoner tattoos, noted in Nottingham in 1900, included: women in tights, a figure of a woman with 'you naughty flea' written over it. Figure of nude female on globe, three fish entwined, a snake charmer, Buffalo Bill's head and a sailor dancing the hornpipe.
Prostitutes were often tattooed with letters or initials that seemed to make no sense at all. In Manchester, Catherine Read had the following letters tattooed. Right arm J A A N M A J N O D M A B. Left arm: M J W W K H N C M A J S J W. This fashion was not confined to the north-west; 'unfortunates' from all areas of the country had similar lists of apparently meaningless alphabetic characters.
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