Lauren started her doctoral studies with the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies at Leeds Trinity University in September 2014. Her research explores representations of Victorian women in museum displays in the Yorkshire and Humber region. Her wider research interests include hidden histories in museum displays and collections, and Bradford's local history. Lauren has a particular interest in Victorian wife-selling in the Yorkshire region, which she has presented and published on. She is also interested in how object handling and museums (via fieldwork and site visits) can enhance and aid Higher Education pedagogy. You can follow her at @LaurenPadgett24
After months of promise and disappointment (sorry Kate), I have finally written a blog for Whores of Yore. I had put my spouse-selling research to one side for a while to focus on my doctoral studies. Revisiting this research has been an absolute pleasure so I would like to thank Kate for this opportunity. This blog will hopefully introduce you to the fascinating, curious and intriguing ‘British institution’ or ‘British Scandal’ of spouse-selling in Victorian Britain.(1)
A wife has a halter around her neck, and her husband is holding the end of it as they walk towards the marketplace. Once there, she stands on a raised block and a bustling crowd surrounds her, drawn by the sound of a bellman signalling their arrival. An auctioneer announces the sale of this wife and starts taking bids from men in the crowd. After several bids, some made in jest, a genuine highest bidder is found. ‘Going once, going twice, sold!’. The buyer shakes the husband’s hand, gives him the agreed amount and takes the end of the halter from him. The buyer (or new husband) walks away with his newly purchased wife to the crowd’s cheers, while the seller (ex-husband) walks away with his money lining his pocket.
Which country do you think this scene took place in? Which period or century did this take place in? Would you be surprised to know that this scene occurred in Victorian Britain?
If you would like to submit an article, please fill out a submission on the Contact page