Who was “the great London Minotaur”?

“…not even the great London Minotaur himself—that portentous
incarnation of lust and wealth—fill us with such sorrow
and shame….”W.T. Stead in the Pall Mall Gazette
July 8, 1885

In his epoch making series of articles on the Victorian business of child sexual abuse titled, The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon, W.T. Stead refers to an individual whom he describes as a “portentous incarnation of lust and wealth.” He never named this person but the fact that he began the most sensational series of his career by referring to this person shows how important Stead thought him. Here is a lengthier, additional reference to the Minotaur:

Mr. ———, (is) another wealthy man, whose whole life is dedicated
to the gratification of lust. During my investigations in the subterranean
realm I was constantly coming across his name. This procuress
was getting girls for ———, that woman was beating up maids
for ———, this girl was waiting for ———, that house was a noted
place of ———’s. I ran across his traces so constantly that I began
to make inquiries in the upper world of this redoubtable personage. I
soon obtained confirmation of the evidence I had gathered at first hand
below as to the reality of the existence of this modern Minotaur, this
English Tiberius, whose Caprece is in London.”

No one who questioned Stead ever got him to provide the name of “the great London Minotaur.” It is unlikely that Stead invented this person. His reputation as an editor and journalist was on the line, and this series of articles were to be the most sensational and effective he ever wrote. Shortly after the series of articles was finished, the age of consent was raised and the contagious diseases acts, which Josephine Butler regarded as a legal basis for legalized prostitution, were repealed.

In the social history of nineteenth century England, The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon is almost unique in its impact  on society. Yet, as far as I know, no one has ever named the individual whose behaviour started Stead on his crusade. All we know for sure  is that he was rich and that he had a taste for young girls.

In my novel, The Minotaur’s Children, I suggest a fictional but plausible answer to the identity of The Minotaur. To me, it is as great and fascinating a mystery as the identity of Jack the Ripper, and it is likely that The Minotaur had many more  victims than those of the Ripper. To learn more visit:  http://www.hudsonhousemysteries.com/south.php

About hudsonhousemysteries

I am a graphic artist. My work is based on photography and I am also a writer of historical novels, specializing in the Victorian era with a strong emphasis on the historical connections between that time and this.I began writing by working with my late father, Alvin Schwartz, who wrote Superman and Batman comics for more than twenty years. Starting very early, about age six, I plotted comic book stories then moved on to writing film, advertising and fiction ranging from young person’s novels to my current historical novels http://hudsonhousemysteries.com/south.php. In addition to telling a good yarn, I like to use an historical perspective to comment on modern issues. I learned about art from my mother who was one of Hans Hofmann's students and had one of the last show at Peggy Guggenheim's in NYC. I have had one man shows in Montreal and Toronto. My art website is Alan McKee.com.
This entry was posted in 19th century child prostitution, 19th century Indian prostituion, 19th Century London, 19th century women's rights, Jack the Ripper, victorian London, victorian trade in children, victorian women's rights, victorian, 19th century, Jack the Ripper, the Raj, victorian child prostitution, 19th century virtuosi, The National Railway Museum, Josephine Butler,, women's rights, suffragettes, 19th century industry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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