17-19 Napier St, Fitzroy

It is believed this building was build c. 1850.

In January 1886, a case was heard to ‘purify the social atmosphere’ when “Louise Seal appeared on summons charged with being the occupier of a house frequented by people having no lawful viable means of support.” The houses in question were 17 and 19 Napier Street which were inhabited by women of ill-fame. On several occasions the Constables visited and the house was known as a common brothel. “The defendant had been ”manageress” for a similar institution kept by Madame Brussels in Lonsdale-street”. Evidence was heard from the neighbours against the defendant, which talked about couples arriving together and leaving in separate directions. For the defendant, an accountant that attended the house for a night or two with his wife indicated that there was nothing to indicate ‘lasciviousness’ in the house. Mrs. Thompson, licensee of the Early Bird Hotel in Lonsdale-street, who is also the owner of the premises, also ‘did not think there was anything wrong in the house’. Despite this, the bench delivered in favour of the prosecution and sentenced the accused to three months in prison, but the solicitor raised the customary appeal and had it reduced to a 20 pound fine. (Fitzroy City Press 9 Jan 1886).

Image held by Fitzroy Library. Photo taken by Ross Keith July 1970. Photo shows 17, 19 and 21 Napier Street.
Photo from 2011, from Realestate.com.au

3 thoughts on “17-19 Napier St, Fitzroy

  1. omg my wife and her family lived in that house
    and my long lost relative ran a brothel in napier St omg

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