The Infamous Mrs. Gallagher 1816-1895

Prolific Victorian Brothel Keeper

by Susan Bennett,

Genealogical Researcher and Freelance Writer

Mere daughter of a carter, married at 16 to a drunkard, she had seven children, but propelled herself by sheer determination out of the slums of Victorian Liverpool  to become a respectable, middle class and very wealthy brothel keeper with houses in four major cities, her children all educated at expensive private schools.

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Quietly tolerated, prostitution has existed throughout history

An accepted, if unspeakable, part of society

Always lurking just out of sight

Based on centuries of understanding prostitution as a ‘safety valve’ for women

And an outlet for men’s insatiable sexual urges

It came to be considered an inevitable part of any civilisation

A necessary evil - A Social Evil

‘Evil Becomes Her’ by Jacqueline Shelton 2013


Presentations available to interested groups 

Please contact me on or via the Chat facility on this website.

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Victorian Social Evil - Prostitution

A one hour presentation plus a question and answer session for Book Groups, Historical Societies, students of Victorian Social History or general audiences. It will be tailored according to their particular interests in Victorian Social Evil and include information and materials which are not in the book..


The Making of the Infamous Mrs. Gallagher

A one hour presentation plus question and answer session about the challenges and solutions to researching this book, validating evidence, finding sources, tracing descendants and primary materials and self publishing. Suitable for Archives and library staff, researchers, family historians, local history groups and the general public.

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Introduction to the Infamous Mrs. Gallagher

Want to know more about Mrs. Gallagher and her life and times before buying the book? This presentation will introduce you to the brothel Madams, the nefarious menfolk in Jane's life and an extraordinary creature she, with her lover, exhibited across the kingdom as a great Victorian curiosity!

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  • 16th February 2021 - 'The making of the Infamous Mrs. Gallagher' for a Book Group

  • 10th March 2021 - 'The Infamous Mrs. Gallagher -the Final Years' for a library

  • 24th. March 2021 - Victorian Social Evil' for a Heritage Lottery Project

  • 30th March 2021 - 'An Introduction to the Infamous Mrs. Gallagher' - for an Archives Service

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  • 3rd Septermber 2021 - ''An Introduction to the Infamous Mrs. Gallagher' for Nursing Home Residents

  • 11th October 2021 - ''An Introduction to the Infamous Mrs. Gallagher' for Young at Heart

  • 11th November 2021 - "The Infamous Mrs. Gallagher' in six sessions to December 2021, for a large Carers organisation

  • AND a new topic featuring Victorian life....

  • 17th November 2021 -"The Station Masters of Birkdale 1848-1958' for a library


About The Infamous Mrs. Gallagher

Well advised by her genteel and rich clients who visited her 'silken brothels, she kept her head high, conducting herself with style and finesse in court rooms across the kingdom, earning herself a reputation as a woman not to crossed.

More importantly, Jane proved her resilience, surviving near ruin in the 1860s with enough energy and money to start again, accumulating more houses, money and power as well as managing a new and successful money lending business.

But, she suffered great personal loss in the process and was not exactly free from blame.


Mrs. Gallagher

The mystery of wives’ separate trade

By me, Jane Gallagher, was made

In latter days elucubrate.[i]

I writ no writing, sealed no thing,

I dealt after a man’s dealing,

Until my debt was heavy and great.

By rede of the one Lord Justice,

Albeit it was newfandgledness,

That will bind separate estate.

To tell now in what wise was meant

This law should have additament[ii]

By wisdom of the Parliament,

Whereof our scriveners, as men seen,

Reck no more than an old bean,

As now it is not mine intent,

The tale were full too long.

By these ensamples yea may find

What power han wives to loose and bind;

This ends my little song




Buy from Amazon Books or request it from your library

The Infamous Mrs. Gallagher

Available in paperback,  Large Print as a series of three books, also downloadable as a Kindle version

Woman Writing

About Me

It was a miserable February day in 2018 when I received an email from the Museum of Liverpool. 'We've got a new project for you, interested?' I read on eagerly, for the last two projects had been fun. 

'We want you to find out as much as possible about brothels and prostitution in Victorian Liverpool.'

Well, as a volunteer researcher, how could I refuse this one? No matter what came of it I would be able to dine out on the stories for months, if not years. Off I went and it was a rip-roaring ride, totally exhilarating, completely unpredictable and tremendously exciting.

Susan Bennett