This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Almost a thousand persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing - especially in the year-end summaries (see links in right sidebar.)

There is a detailed Index arranged by vocation, doctor, activist group etc. In addition to this most articles have one or more labels at the bottom. Click one to go to similar persons. There is a full list of labels at the bottom of the page. There are also a search boxes at the top left. Enjoy exploring!

10 February 2012

The Temperance Hall, Hulme.

The Temperance Hall, Hulme, (map) close to central Manchester was rented for a ball in late September 1880 by what purported to be the Manchester Pawnbrokers’ Association. To ensure privacy the organizers covered the windows with black paper, and engaged a blind accordionist to provide the music.

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.

It was discovered that the organizers were not local men, but that they arranged similar events as far away as Leeds and Nottingham. Detective Caminada informed the court that ‘in society, there existed a class of men, almost unknown to many gentlemen, who prowl about the streets almost to the same extent as unfortunate women’. The most prominent of those arrested was a Mr Parkinson, a professional female impersonator, who had toured with Tute’s Minstrels. Caminada had heard him address men in the streets in a female voice. The defence argued that the defendants had been foolish, but not criminal.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments that constitute advertisements will be declined, as will those attempting to be rude.