"Irene was in what was called the 'Ladies' drawing-room' of the Piedmont Hotel."

Railway stations, department stores and some hotels provided waiting rooms reserved for ladies (such as the one preserved at York station). Women without male escort, or at least accompanied by a maid, were not safe on London's streets.

Investigative journalists such as Henry Mayhew, whose articles from 1861-1862 were collected in London Labour and the London Poor, documented life in the streets of the capital city from the point of view of the street sellers and other street workers. Charles Dickens drew upon Mayhew's work.