Detective Jerome Caminada had received a tip-off and organized a combined force of police constables and local men. He climbed onto a neighbouring roof so that he could see over the paper covering the window. He saw a mixed group of 47 men, some smart, some shabby, half dressed as male historical figures and the others as women. He noted a couple dressed as Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and another as Romeo and Juliet. The can-can was being danced. Sometimes persons left the main hall into the ante-room, where Caminada imagined what might be happening.
He knew that to gain admittance, he should give the password ‘sister’ in an effeminate voice. He did so and his gang burst in and arrested everybody present, and transported them to the magistrate’s court.
The magistrates considered the possible scandal. “In this city -- not in Turkey or Bulgaria or some places where these odious practices were common -- but in Manchester this vice ... was practiced and solicited’. After consideration, no further investigation was pursued, the defendants were bound over and released.
|Reproduced in Cocks.|
- Illustrated Police News, 2 October 1880.
- Manchester Evening News, 30 September, 1 October 1880.
- H.G. Cocks. “Secrets, Crimes and Diseases, 1800-1914”. In Matt Cook (ed). A Gay History of Britain: Love and Sex Between Man Since the Middle Ages. Greenwood World Publishing, 2007:118-9, 121.
What a pity that Detective Caminada did not consult with the magistrates before organizing his raid. The police resources would be better spent elsewhere.
Unfortunately the name of the ball organizers were not given.