Saturday, 14 January 2017

6 strange newspaper stories that shocked Victorian Britain

The somnambulist Miss Charlton falls from a roof, from the IPN, 17 April 1897.

Somnambulists in peril

The Victorians in general, and readers of the weekly newspaper the Illustrated Police News (IPN) in particular, had a fascination with the mobile but unconscious female body. Sleepwalkers, or ‘somnambulists’ as the Victorians called them, were among the favourite subjects for the IPN’s bawdy-minded draughtsmen. Male somnambulists may have been news, but they were never Illustrated Police news, even if they performed a tap-dance on the roof of the House of Lords; the IPN’s somnambulists were all young, female, and scantily clad.
One of the earliest IPN somnambulists was the 17-year-old Clara Dalrymple, from a small village near Glastonbury. She was well known to often go walking in her sleep, but in May 1868, she rose from her bed in her bedroom on the second floor-read more

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