Indecently Exposed: The Male Body and Vagrancy in Metropolitan London before the Fin de Siècle

Indecently Exposed: The Male Body and Vagrancy in Metropolitan London before the Fin de Siècle IntroductionIn the summer of 1861, Sir John Villiers Shelley, a Member of Parliament, was brought to court for having indecently exposed his partially nude body from his apartment window as London's elite paraded the streets in honour of the Queen's Drawing‐Room Day. This ‘extraordinary charge’ and his trial received extensive public and press attention. Mrs Stafford testified in court that Shelley had lifted up his shirt while standing by his half‐open window. She was ‘too much disgusted’ to look, but swore she saw his exposure repeatedly. Miss Griffiths, another witness, declared that Shelley had appeared to be wearing a loose gown and drawers when he exposed his person. Appalled, she tried to block the view from the children present in the room with her. She added, ‘I did not keep my eyes on him more than I could help … I was ashamed, but the shame was his, not mine’. The next day, The Times reported, the court was packed to the point of suffocation. Another witness, Maria Harley, told the court that she had spoken about Shelley's past exposures with a Mrs Train who replied that ‘it was very disgusting’. Mr Garth, speaking for the defence, argued that http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Gender & History Wiley

Indecently Exposed: The Male Body and Vagrancy in Metropolitan London before the Fin de Siècle

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Publisher
Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0953-5233
eISSN
1468-0424
D.O.I.
10.1111/1468-0424.12338
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

IntroductionIn the summer of 1861, Sir John Villiers Shelley, a Member of Parliament, was brought to court for having indecently exposed his partially nude body from his apartment window as London's elite paraded the streets in honour of the Queen's Drawing‐Room Day. This ‘extraordinary charge’ and his trial received extensive public and press attention. Mrs Stafford testified in court that Shelley had lifted up his shirt while standing by his half‐open window. She was ‘too much disgusted’ to look, but swore she saw his exposure repeatedly. Miss Griffiths, another witness, declared that Shelley had appeared to be wearing a loose gown and drawers when he exposed his person. Appalled, she tried to block the view from the children present in the room with her. She added, ‘I did not keep my eyes on him more than I could help … I was ashamed, but the shame was his, not mine’. The next day, The Times reported, the court was packed to the point of suffocation. Another witness, Maria Harley, told the court that she had spoken about Shelley's past exposures with a Mrs Train who replied that ‘it was very disgusting’. Mr Garth, speaking for the defence, argued that

Journal

Gender & HistoryWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2018

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