Well, Victorian Transvestites…the story of Fanny and Stella, otherwise known as Frederick Park and Ernest Bolton who sadly ended up arrested as ‘he – she’ ladies.
The two lived in Wakefield St, Regent Square, where on most nights, they and others would dress up as women before going out to the theatre and generally have a good time which was rather risky or risque or both.
When the case came to court, Newspapers had a field day, reporting on what silk their dresses were made from, the frills on their handkerchiefs and how stubbly their chins were.
However they had been arrested only a year before in 1870 and charged with conspiring others to commit unnatural offences at the Strand Theatre.
When they appeared at Bow Street Magistrates Court the next morning. still in their evening dresses, huge crowds were waiting outside to see this unusual spectacle. You can only imagine the conversations that were had at tea time! The case was seen as a farce by many and Fanny and Stella were let off.
One year later and the two men found themselves sitting in the dock of the Court of the Queens Bench in London, on trial for something they hoped and believed would help towards ending the vicious anti gay laws of that time but they acquitted. It is possible that one of their fathers being a judge may have helped their case…