Minnie McGuire (1861-1919)

The story of hapless Minnie McGuire has now been told in a new book (2016) entitled The Cruel Streets Revisited" by John F Wake. As a child, the South Wales Echo of 13th January 2017 says, Minnie was an attractive child/young teenager, but some years later was described as "A repulsive looking woman who bore on her face the marks of debauchery and disease due to her lifestyle." Minnie was buried in Cathays Cemetery on 24th November 1919 in plot R371.

An Incorrigible Woman - 13th July 1885 - South Wales Echo

Before deputy-stipendiary, Mr Valpy Minnie was charged with being a disorderly prostitute and causing an obstruction in Bridge Street on 11th July 1885. The police constable Price stated that on Saturday the defendant was behaving in such an indecent manner amid a crowd of young men, who had come to Cardiff on an excursion, that a crowd of 200 persons were drawn together. She was removed to the Police station. She had been convicted 58 times for disorderly conduct. Minnie was sent for 3 months with hard labour.

Todays Police Report Cardiff - 18 May 1886 - South Wales Echo

Appearing for the 63rd time, before Dr Paine and Archibald Hood, sentenced to 1 months imprisonment for causing an obstruction in Bute Street.

An Old Offender - 25th September 1886 - South Wales Echo

Both Minnie and her husband James Butler (aged 23) were charged with creating a disturbance in Lyndhurst Road. Minnie was by now "one of the most notorious women in Cardiff". She had been before the courts on 64 occasions. As it was her husband's first appearance he was let off, Minnie however was fined 5s or 5 days hard labour.

9th November 1888 - South Wales Echo

69 previous convictions, when charged with assaulting and wounding PC Dyment on the nose and eye with an umbrella in Bute Street. The injured constable appeared in court with a bandage over his eye, but was not permanently injured. Minnie was sentenced to 6 months hard labour.

Shocking Indecency at Cardiff - 4th September 1889 - South Wales Echo

In front of Dr Paine, Mr Rees Jones, Alderman Jacobs, W Sanders, Peter Price & Alderman Waring Minnie now 28 was charged with being a prostitute and behaving in a disorderly manner and using obscene language in Bute Street. PC 57 saw prisoner conducting herself in a shocking indecent manner before a large crowd of people. It was her 74th appearance. Minnie wept, admitting this and begged to be sent to the Union. She had only just come out of prison after 3 months. She attributed her actions on the fact that her husband had yesterday went to sea an event she was celebrating by taking a glass too many. She was sent to the Union.

An old Offender Severely Punished - 11th September 1889 - South Wales Echo

Charged at Cardiff for the 74th time with being a prostitute and behaving in a disorderly manner in Bute Street. The Stipendiary, Mr T W Lewis had previously let Minnie off leniently so imprisoned her for 3 months with hard labour.

How much drink makes a woman drunk? - 19th May 1891 - South Wales Echo

Then aged 29 along with Lizzie Day made her 82nd appearance (Lizzie's 18th) before Cardiff Magistrates. Both protested against policeman's right to consider himself a judge of how much makes a woman drunk. Sentenced by Dr Paine - kindness seemed thrown away on the prisoners, so sentenced them to 1 months hard labour.

Cardiff Character's Old Haunts - 8th July 1891 - South Wales Echo

Appeared for the first time in Newport court charged with drunkenness. In trouble with Cardiff Magistrates 58 times. Having visited a friend, She promised to leave Newport once released.

A Cardiff Virago Sent to Gaol - 29th November 1892 - South Wales Daily News

Aged 31 and now already a "notorious character of Tiger Bay", 83 convictions, recently transferred herself to Newport. Went into a Newport public house and was refused a drink. She threatened to smash the windows. A passing policeman escorted off the premises. She returned in the evening to repeat her bad behaviour, ending up throwing stones at the windows. Sentenced to 6 weeks imprisonment. She promised the landlord she would return with dire consequences.

Minnie McGuire Appears at Newport - 19th April 1894 - South Wales Daily News

"I'll leave the town this minute; may God bless you all." On hearing that a commitment for 28 days imprisonment would be suspended to enable her to leave the town. Minnie was intoxicated in Commercial Street at 10 o' Clock on Tuesday morning and was disorderly. 83rd Cardiff offence and 12 times at Newport. Minnie said she had been married for 12 months. She had come to Newport to kook for her husband and was celebrating the event by drinking whisky and he beer. Now reunited they promised to make their way to Gloucester and were allowed to go.

Her 90th Appearance - 30th September 1896 - South Wales Echo

Aged 36 and fined 10s and costs od 14 days imprisonment in default. Drunk and disorderly in Bute Street.

News and Notions on the Seamy Side - 26th May 1897 - Evening Express

Minnie McGuire, a young lady with a Temperance -town appearance, fined 10s or 1 months imprisonment, for using obscene language in Cowbridge Road and assaulting Police-constable Rees. Spitting into the policeman's face on the way to the Station. As she descended the docks steps she exclaimed " Now we shan't be long.". This was her 93 occasion and she was aged 37.

Her 112th Conviction - 29th August 1903 - The Cardiff Times

Charged at Merthyr with being drunk and disorderly. Convicted 84 times at Cardiff and 27 times at Merthyr for drunkenness, assaults, etc. She pleaded for leniency as she had been very steady for the last 13/14 years. Her husband was now blind and would not be able to cope without her. Let off with a 10s fine and costs.

"Three Two's" of Whisky - 24th April 1907 - Evening Express

"You seem to be always in prison" said Newport judge to Minnie. The reply "No, not always" Minnie correctively responded. She claims to only have had "three two's" of whisky and as she was not used to drink, it overcame her. Fined 20s or 14 days.

Mountain Ash - Thursday 6th July 1916 - The Aberdare Leader

Drunk and Disorderly in Oxford Street, Mountain Ash, fined 13s

Source : Welsh Newspapers Online