Thursday, 4 April 2013

Prostitution in Boston.

Let me say from the outset that I went in the New Park Inn many times in the 1960's and 70's and it was no different from other pubs in the town except that it was full of Merchant seamen, German, Dutch, Norwegian etc. and of course the girls, but not once did I see anything happen in there that doesn't happen every night of the week in any pub or club in "modern" Boston but in those days the pub and the girls who went in there had a bad name. All I remember is having a good laugh and joke in there.

The New Park Inn, centre left with the balcony.

In the 1970's a report said "Prostitution is alive and well in some parts of the town though not often glimpsed by local people because the handful of women who are well known by the police confine their activities to the dock area."
Gordon Eady, Boston's senior probation officer said, " Prostitution in Boston is one of those things that no-one will admit, although everybody knows it happens. If you asked anyone in the town which public house you should go into to find prostitution I don't think there's one who would have any doubt at all."
He said he felt prostitution was probably made easier on the docks in Boston because they were open, unlike some private docks in other towns and cities, and he knew of groups of girls from other towns arriving at Boston dock because they knew they would not be prosecuted for trespassing as they were in other places.

When the dock was "open" and families visited.
He went on, "Prostitution is generally seen as an easy way of life and there are second generation prostitutes in the town, daughters having followed mothers way of life."
He said he did not feel there was any big time organisation behind the prostitution and as probation officers he and his colleagues had contact with a number of the girls who had appeared before the courts for brawls and assaults at public houses, thefts and other allied offences.
A Boston taxi driver at the time said, "There are at least 10 of these girls, who are well known in the town, and they often operate from council houses and flats in several parts of Boston. I sometimes take girls and their clients from the boats to the girls homes, and then I get early morning calls to go and pick these chaps up to take them back to the dock. Their clients were always foreign seamen, and very few local men would go with these girls."
He added, "I think it's a fact that certain girls work certain boats, they have their own territory, and get a bit nasty if they find another girl has gone on their particular boat. It's a funny way to live," he said, "but the way I look at it is that at least while there is this type of girl in Boston, the decent girls are safe to go out."
The chief executive of Boston at the time said, "turning the council owned dock into a closed dock will not cut down prostitution. Sailors being sailors want women, and some women, being what they are, are prepared to provide a service. Over the ages, wherever there is a seaport, there has been this demand for prostitution."

Chief Supt. George Bulman, head of the Boston Police division said, "They are nicely contained in the dock area, there is no soliciting on Boston's streets, ordinary people don't see anything of it and I don't think it is a problem. It is just a small handful of women that are known to us, probably not more than about eight. As for the dock being open, if anyone thinks having a closed dock would make any difference to what goes on they must be living in cloud cuckoo land."

The girls of course hit back at the condemnation of their profession. Mrs X, a middle aged divorcee said, "I don't know why anyone should complain about us - we don't upset the ordinary people of Boston." She added, "Nobody sees anything they shouldn't, and we don't bother anybody. It's not as if we walk round the Market Place accosting men.
Boston Dock.
Plenty of people know what I do for a living, and they don't shun me. We're perfectly normal, it's just work to us, it's not the easiest way to make a living but it's the only way we know."
It had been said that there were concerns for the safety of the children of the prostitutes and some of the girls were incensed when they heard about this.
Mrs X continued, "Most of the girls' children are in care, and the ones with small babies look after them well. They are always prepared to pay for a good babysitter while they're out."
The remarks about mothers and daughters "on the game" was also incorrect said Mrs X, and she herself was the only one she knew of with a daughter working as a prostitute. Although she agreed that most of the prostitution was confined to the dock area she also said that there was also a lot going on in other parts of the town. The girls did not have territories on the dock as had been suggested by a Boston taxi driver although many of them had regular seamen. "I have known many girls who have met and married seamen," said Mrs X, "and they have a good and happy life together. Prostitutes make the best wives because they've had a wide experience of men, and they know how to choose the right man for themselves. Once they have chosen a man they are loyal, and stand by him."
There was anger too at the remarks made by the taxi driver, and the girls said it's not fair to slag them when the driver has been making good money out of them. The driver also claimed that local men had nothing to do with the prostitutes but Mrs X said, "Of course they do, I have been with plenty of them but I wouldn't mention any names because it would break up marriages."
Mrs X said she first went "on the game" after she and her husband parted and she was unable to get a job. She added that now she was getting older she had begun to "ease off a bit" and was hoping to settle down within the next couple of years. She thought it a pity that prostitution was not as it was on the Continent, "We could do with a Union, too," she said. "You'll never stop prostitution, not while men are prepared to pay for sex," she added.
The New Park Inn, one of Boston's old pubs.


  1. excellent read billy, really liked the picture of park inn and skirbeck rd corner,my old hunting ground as a child. My dad told me that at 7.30 -8 am that you could not get across the road for the amount of cyclist going to the docks for a days work, what stories must have been told in that pub about the so called characters of st johns rd , south terrace,heyho