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Sunday, 18 March 2012

Cattle Market Kate


Mechanics Institute from derbyinpictures.com

For a while in my teens I used to visit the Mechanics Institute in Derby to play table tennis and sometimes a frame or two of snooker. The Mechanics was housed in a tall Victorian building with a kind of entrance vestibule on the ground floor. A wide staircase led to the upper floors.

Upstairs there were meeting rooms, a bar, library snooker room and table tennis rooms. There was nothing in the vestibule apart from a wooden bench upholstered in brown leather.

One cold evening there was a woman sitting on the bench who didn’t seem to belong somehow. You came across all kinds of people in the Mechanics, but she didn’t seem to fit.

Later that evening a friend said she was Cattle Market Kate, a well-know local prostitute. She usually plied her trade around the Cattle Market area when the local farmers came to market.

As you can see from the link, she was at one time quite a character, but I think my encounter would have been quite a few years later. All I really remember was how forlorn she looked. Sheltering from the cold I suppose. A quick fag and back to work. Yet even Kate was somebody’s little daughter once upon a time.

6 comments:

Roger said...

A deep well there. Yin and Yang, light and dark. Messrs Levitt & Dubner discuss the economics of the trade in Freakanomics and say it all really - little girls usually don't grow up saying 'I want to be a hooker when I grow up'.

As Omar says;_
The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
Turns Ashes - or it prospers; and anon,
Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face
Lighting a little hour or two-is gone.

A K Haart said...

Roger - yes, a different throw of the dice is all it seems to require.

James Higham said...

I used to visit the Mechanics Institute in Derby to play table tennis and sometimes a frame or two of snooker.

Not too many can put on their CV, AKH.

A K Haart said...

JH - and some of those can't remember it now!

Maddy Jackson said...

Does any one have any more information about this Cattle market Kate? i have been told she is my Great Grandmother

A K Haart said...

Hi Maddy,

Unfortunately I don't know much more than is in my blog post and the Telegraph link, apart from the fact that she was with a man of similar age but I have no idea who he was.

When I saw Kate at the Mechanics I was told who she was but that's all. She didn't look well and as I recall her she could have been roughly the right age to have died in 1972 aged 46 after a hard life, but I don't know it that's the right age for Kate. It may be worth checking dates with the writer of the Telegraph piece.

I'm sorry I don't know more - these gaps in family history are frustrating. I have one or two in my family history but the people who might have had the answers are long gone.

I hope you make some progress - Kate sounds as if she was quite a character in her day.