"a home for fallen women"

A common charitable endeavour in the Victorian period was to attempt to reform fallen women: women who had had pre-martial sex, frequently leading to pregnancy, and thus were (it was believed) at risk of becoming prostitutes. The attitude towards these women had not changed greatly since Jane Austen wrote "loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable, that one false step involves her in endless ruin" in Pride and Prejudice in 1813.

Fallen women were generally socially ostracised, but the homes run for them had such harsh regimes as to be scarcely a better option than the streets.