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Meaning of word 'fallen' in 1871 census

Discussion in 'Any questions?' started by NikkiM, Nov 13, 2020.

  1. NikkiM

    NikkiM LostCousins Member

    I am trying to trace my 2x great grandmother and have come across an 1871 census entry that could be her, but the occupation for her (and several other unmarried women on the page) is 'fallen'.

    Does this mean what I think it might mean, i.e. a lady of ill repute (to be polite)?

    My 2x great grandmother had had a child out of wedlock (I believe) in the workhouse in 1861 when she would have been about 18.

    Can anybody shed any light on the word?

    Many thanks
  2. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    My grandmother had my Dad out of wedlock in 1908. In the 1911 census, age 20, she is living as a laundry maid at the House of Mercy in Clewer, Windsor. When I Googled it, I was informed that it was a place for "fallen women, a term used to imply female sexual promiscuity or work in prostitution" It also said, "However, many women entering were just unmarried mothers, an unacceptable situation at that time." My Dad, in the same census, was being fostered out in another home. Two years after that, she had my aunt, also father unknown.
  3. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    If it was an institution I can understand why several of the women have the same occupation. I am inclined to agree with canadianbeth that it meant an unmarried mother. I haven't come across that 'occupation' myself.
  4. NikkiM

    NikkiM LostCousins Member

    It's not an institution, she is shown as a lodger in a boarding house. Most of the other properties along the same road and others nearby are also boarding houses with women with the same 'occupation'. It appears to be quite near the docks and there appear to be a number of sailors in residence at many of the properties, so I am assuming they are brothels?
  5. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    I think you are correct, I've been searching with Google and found a couple of answers for 'what was a fallen woman'. this link in particular provides an explanation.

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