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24 September 2014
BBC Liverpool - Local History

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Ladies of the Night

Corner of Duke Street
Corner of Duke Street - supposed residence of Maggie May.
Image courtesy of Liverpool Record Office and Liverpool Libraries.
Audio
Maggie May's Song
Played by Stan Ambrose on a penny whistle.
RealPlayer Required: More Info

"Lime Street had a world wide reputation for "ladies of the night", with one name particularly associated with that trade, but as the opening line of the famous song "Maggie May" tells us … "she’ll never walk down Lime Street anymore".

"Prostitution was rife in the 1800s, especially during the so called 'naughty nineties', when Maggie and her contemporaries offered their services to seaman, and others, on Lime Street and in the public houses which lined that famous thoroughfare.

"Maggie herself is alleged to have plied her trade in the American Bar. Some other famous "ladies" associated with that period are Mary Ellen, the "Battleship", Jumping Jenny and Cast Iron Kitty, although how and why they acquired those names is not clear.

A Policeman from the 1940s recalls Liverpool's prositute problem:

"When you see films with regards to prostitution, you get the impression it was a tremendous problem. Well that didn’t apply to Liverpool. The poor girls in Liverpool were just poor girls. In my day, a lot of them were just married women who were just bloody hard up."



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Ladies of the night
Harlots & Courtesans
Maggie May
Current Journey
Lime Street History
Empire Theatre
St George's Hall
Punch & Judy
Lime St Station
Maggie May
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Adelphi Hotel
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My Merseyside Memory
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