The British Prudery Archive resulted from an instruction from Edward Goodman in December 2018. At the time I was doing a lot of newspaper research on an unrelated subject. Anytime I found something of interest to him or anyone else, I would forward it. When I got to a certain point, Goodman, who is Chairman of the Campaign Against Censorship, decided we must set up this Archive, which might be viewed as complementary to The NCROPA Virtual Archive.
So here we are!
Although prudery has as long a history as censorship, the following articles largely from the national, regional and local press including sundry websites (with the occasional article from overseas) begin with the founding of the Society For The Suppression Of Vice in 1802. Also included are some brief video and audio clips.
Many articles will of course appear in several or even hundreds of newspapers, especially those carried by one of the wire services. These may be rewritten slightly or partially in-house. When a subject attracts massive coverage, the Profumo Affair for example, it would be pointless to publish dozens of articles that merely repeat what each other say. In such cases, the articles included here have been selected using my professional judgment as time and resources allow.
The entries are in strict chronological order; explanatory notes can be found in a separate file.
The scans posted here are the best quality that can be produced with my resources and equipment. Sometimes I have found it necessary or desirable to rearrange the layout of text. For example, the entry for November 16, 1928 from the Northern Daily Mail concerning The Well Of Loneliness and the resulting court case, consists of two files. The original article appears in two columns of unequal length, not as displayed here.
While prudery is generally seen to relate to sexual matters, the reader will find herein references to for example the BA Robertson song Bang Bang (which refers to snorting cocaine), The War Game and the later film The Truth Game, both of which attracted the attention of the censor for reasons totally unrelated to sex. Nor is prudery related solely to officialdom, so the reader will also find many references to all manner of people exhibiting (at times mock) indignation to the antics of especially the young.
This is a work in progress. Feel free to submit scans of articles (with full citation) or simply Internet links.
November 2, 2019
Updated November 29, 2019
Return To HomePage