Freda Clive, brothel keeper

Freda Clive
Domestic and prostitute, born 1879, New Zealand
Tried: 27 September 1916, Auckland Magistrate’s Court
Charge: Keeping a brothel
Sentence: Two months’ imprisonment

War Regulations issued on 21 September 1916 gave the police new powers to close down ‘houses of ill fame’ (brothels) and imprison those running or living in them for up to six months. Auckland constables Potter and Clifford carried out their first raid a week later, bringing in five women from three central-city brothels. They charged Freda Clive, who was about 37, with keeping a brothel in White St.

The papers described her as well-dressed, though police records noted she had a broken nose, a broken cheek bone, and no teeth in her upper jaw at the time of her arrest. The police had had her house under surveillance from 6 September, and had observed men, including soldiers, coming and going, drinking and carousing. Clive’s husband John was serving overseas in the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, and she claimed to be living on her 5s daily military allowance. After Constable Clifford testified to Clive’s ‘prior history of … immoral life’, the magistrate dismissed her protestations of innocence and sentenced her to two months in prison.


Sources: Auckland Star, 27 September 1916, p. 2; Police Gazette, 1916, p. 854

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