Thread: From Hell
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Old 01-12-2012, 04:23 AM   #32
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Lightbulb Cleveland Street

In July 1889, the Metropolitan Police uncovered a male brothel in London's Cleveland Street. Under police interrogation, the male prostitutes and pimps revealed the names of their clients, who included Lord Arthur Somerset, an Extra Equerry to the Prince of Wales. At the time, all homosexual acts between men were illegal, and the clients faced social ostracism, prosecution, and at worst, two years' imprisonment with hard labour. The resultant Cleveland Street scandal implicated other high-ranking figures in British society. Rumours swept upper-class London of the involvement of a member of the royal family: Prince Albert Victor. The prostitutes had not named Albert Victor and it is suggested that Somerset's solicitor, Arthur Newton, fabricated and spread the rumours to take the heat off his client. Letters exchanged between the Treasury Solicitor, Sir Augustus Stephenson, and his assistant, The Hon. Hamilton Cuffe, make coded reference to Newton's threats to implicate Albert Victor. The Prince of Wales intervened in the investigation; none of the clients were ever prosecuted and nothing against Albert Victor was proven. Although there is no conclusive evidence for or against his involvement, or whether or not he ever visited a homosexual club or brothel, the rumours and cover-up led some biographers to suppose that he did visit Cleveland Street, and that he was "possibly bisexual, probably homosexual". This is contested by other biographers, one of which refers to him as "ardently heterosexual" and his involvement in the rumours as "somewhat unfair". The historian H. Montgomery Hyde wrote, "There is no evidence that he was homosexual, or even bisexual."
Harford Montgomery Hyde (14 August 1907 – 10 August 1989), born in Belfast, was a barrister, politician (Ulster Unionist MP for Belfast North), author and biographer, who lost his seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom as a result of campaigning for homosexual law reform... Major Lord Henry Arthur George Somerset was interviewed by police on 7 August 1889; although the record of the interview has not survived, it resulted in a report being made by the Attorney-General, Solicitor-General and Director of Prosecutions urging that proceedings should be taken against him under section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885...The Cleveland Street Workhouse is of particular importance in light of the fact that Charles Dickens is known to have lived nearby in what is now 22 Cleveland Street. Dickens lived there as a young child between 1815–1816 and then again as a teenager between 1828-1831. His residence in the street has led to the suggestion that the nearby workhouse was probably the inspiration for Oliver Twist...
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