In the 19th-century the suburbs of Liverpool were little different from that of the suburbs in many other developing cities. There were, however, special features that developed as a result of Liverpool's role as a port, which, if not unique, set it apart from many other places.

By far the most vulnerable sections of Liverpool society were seamen and their families. Seamen themselves, on shore while their ships awaited cargoes or tides, were regarded as easy prey by the unscrupulous. The seaman docking in Liverpool would have his pockets full of tin (cash) having been paid off and their were many hazards that stood between the sailor and his safe arrival at his place of residence. If it were just the pubs, and there were many in the city, that the sailor had to avoid, that would have been bad enough, but there were the prostitutes and the gangs that hung around the docks, seeing the sailor as easy pickings. However, Charity came to the rescue.