How Southampton’s notorious Ellen Wren changed history!

If you have been on our Southampton Ghost Tour you would have come face to face with the unforgettable Ellen Wren. Her screams are loud enough to wake the dead…including herself.

But, Ellen Wren really was a resident of Southampton and in the Victorian era she was a crook, thief and yes, prostitute. But did she manage to change the course of history?

Wren was born to a poor family in Shirley at spent much of her life in the slums around Simnel street. She was forced into prostitution in a desperate attempt to make money.

Her life continued to spiral and in 1872 a local paper referred to her as an ‘old criminal’ referring to her constant brushes with the law for being drunk and violent.

It was in September 1894 that Wren became so drunk on gin that she suffocated on her own vomit in an attic on Simnel street.

Her body was left decomposing for several days until her landlord find her body when he came to collect the rent. It wasn’t discovered before because the area was so run down the smell was mixed up for dead animals and waste.

Her death grabbed the attention of the nation after it was dubbed ‘horrific’ and this lead to Southampton cleaning up its act and improving the housing.

Find out more about Ellen Wren on our monthly ghost tour!

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