Salvation Army personal papers collections: Rebecca Jarrett

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection comprises the personal papers of Rebecca Jarrett, 1884-1989.

As no original order has survived, the records have been arranged in a logical structure.

The records have been arranged as follows:

RJ/1 Correspondence

RJ/2 Memoirs and autobiographies

RJ/3 Press cuttings relating to Rebecca Jarrett

Administrative / Biographical History

Rebecca Jarrett was born in London in 1864. At the age of 12, after the death of her father and the onset of her mother's alcoholism, she began working as a prostitute in Chelsea's Cremorne Gardens. She later ran a number of brothels across the country until she was found, during a period of sustained ill health in Northampton, by The Salvation Army in 1884. After a time with The Salvation Army at 212 Hanbury Street, Whitechapel she was sent to Josephine Butler's House of Rest in Winchester. Butler (Secretary of 'Ladies National Association for the Abolition of the State Regulation of Vice and for the Promotion of Social Purity') helped Jarrett establish Hope House, a rescue home in Winchester.

Rebecca Jarrett came, through her connections with The Salvation Army, to play a pivotal role in the expose of child prostitution by the journalist W T Stead. She used contacts from her time as a prostitute to stage the abduction of 13 year old Eliza Armstrong. The Armstrong case was published in Stead's Pall Mall Gazette under the title 'The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon' and the ensuing public outrage led to the passing of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, which raised the female age of consent to sixteen. However, it also led to a court case against Stead, Jarrett and Bramwell Booth. Jarrett (along with Louisa Mourez, a midwife involved in Armstrong's 'abduction') received the longest sentence of all the defendants and spent six months in Millbank Prison. After her release in April 1886 she was cared for by The Salvation Army until her death in 1928.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research. The reading room of The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre is open Tue-Fri 9.30-4.00. It is advisable to make an appointment. Tel: 0207 326 7800; email: heritage@salvationarmy.org.uk.

Open

Custodial History

The provenance of the collection is unknown, but it seems likely that the letters at RJ/1 are from the papers of Florence Booth. This correspondence includes letters from Josephine Butler and Captain Susan 'Hawker' Jones relating to the Maiden Tribute Case.