Private Escort Guys – The Cleveland Street Scandal

Cleveland Street Scandal

“Officially No. 19 Cleveland Street no longer exists. Removed from the land register – it was demolished to make room for Middlesex Hospital in the 1890’s. (3) The house has become a “landmark” metaphorically (even though is no longer physically exists) as it represents a period in English history when male homosexuality was outlawed. It also demonstrates how the class system was working to keep the aristocracy who frequented the premises out of trouble. The ‘house’ had come to symbolize, especially for the LGBT community an anarchic time when different sexual orientations were punished by law and even death. (4)

It is speculated, though that the house still exists as the street was renumbered. There is no evidence to contradict that the house doesn’t exist as official records have proven that the house was subsumed by the Middlesex Hospital.

Cleveland Street was owned by Charles Hammond, and its employees were teenagers who worked as telegram delivery boys. They were underpaid by the Royal Mail, and when money went missing, the police were brought in to investigate the alleged theft. Little did they know what they would find out!

In July Police Constable Luke Hanks stopped and searched 15-year-old Charles Swinscow, a telegram delivery boy. Upon searching him, Hanks found that Swinscow was carrying more than several times his weekly wage. (5)

Swinscow, after being taken back to the police station was questioned and the whole story came out. Scotland Yard put the house under surveillance, but authorities were slow to act.

“Signed confessions from the four boys were enough to get a warrant for the arrest of the brothel keeper on a charge of homosexuality. By an 1885 act of Parliament, homosexual acts were illegal and carried a sentence of up to two years in prison; until 1861, the punishment included the death penalty”. (5)

Aristocrats who were accused of frequenting the brothel included Lord Arthur of Somerset, son of the Duke of Beaufort, the Earl of Euston (who successfully sued for libel) as well as Colonel Jervoise from Winchester. Speculation that Prince Albert Victor or Prince Eddy as he was known (the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) was also a visitor. (6)

All concerned except the brothel owner Charles Hammond was let off with little more than a slap on the wrists. The scandal is still well known today and is still the subject of academic inquiry and general interest. (7)



(6) Craig Kaczorowski, “Cleveland Street Scandal”. (accessed 21 April 2018)

(2) (3) Gwther,  Matthew, “Inside story: 19 Cleveland Street”. (accessed 21 April 2018)

(5) Taylor, Rupert. “The Cleveland Street Scandal” (accessed 21 April 2018)

(1) (4) (5) (7) Wikipedia contributors, “Cleveland Street scandal,”  Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed April 21, 2018).

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PHOTO SOURCE:,_-_Vanity_fair_nov_19_1887.jpg

Caricature of Major Lord Henry Arthur George Somerset (1851–1926)