Ancestry UK


by J.H. Stallard

The Female Casual and her Lodging, by Dr Joshua Harrison Stallard, was published in September 1866, some nine months after the appearance in the Pall Mall Gazette of A Night in a Workhouse — journalist James Greenwood's undercover exposé of the the shocking conditions in the male casual ward of the Lambeth workhouse. Stallard, a medical practitioner with an interest in public health and how it was affected by economic and social conditions, was the author of a long series of articles in The London Evening Standard under the title 'London Pauperism'.

One of Stallard's concerns was the treatment of females in casual wards and he determined to examine the matter by means of a Greenwood-style incognito investigation. However, he concluded that no 'lady' could be found to undertake such a task and would anyway be incapable of concealing her inevitable disgust at what she encountered, and so give away her true identity.

Accordingly, he sought a woman who would be accustomed to the squalid conditions she might encounter and also be clever enough to conceal from officials the nature of her mission and be able to provide an honest report of what she experienced. The unnamed person he commissioned for the role was an impoverished widow of good character who, over a ten-day period in July 1866, made separate visits to four different London casual wards, presenting herself to the officials with a different pseudonym on each occasion.

Her reports, in which Stallard needed to 'soften' the language his reporter had encountered, were initially published in August 1866 in the London Evening Standard (and reprinted in a few other newspapers). These reports, which included Stallard's own 'introductory', then formed the first five chapters of the The Female Casual and her Lodging. The two further chapters were mostly culled from sections of Stallard's 'London Pauperism' columns.

Chapter I — Introductory
Chapter II — Newington
Chapter III — Lambeth
Chapter IV — Whitechapel
Chapter V — St George's-in-the-East
Chapter VI — Present State of the Casual Wards
Chapter VII — Conclusion

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