Florence Scanwell is a Christian Evangelist in Harlots played by Dorothy Atkinson. She wishes to improve the lives of the prostitutes through charity and the Word of God.
Florence is a religious zealot whose life’s mission is to rid the streets of harlots. But hers is not a message of redemption, it is a message of damnation. Florence’s blindness means her daughter Amelia is a constant presence beside her mother, caring for her, preaching with her. They have very little and rely on charity and the church to survive.
A religious zealot, Florence frequently and constantly preaches outside the various brothel houses in London, and eventually enters into a deal with Lydia Quigley to stand outside rival Margaret Wells' brothel. She stands on a soapbox day and night preaching in order to take business away from Margaret, which works rather well. However, her already poor health begins to worsen, and the constant preaching leaves her bedridden and very near death. Florence tells Quigley that she can't go on anymore and that she and her daughter will leave her residence, where they have been staying rent free. Quigley; however, tells Florence that she knows of her dark past as a harlot and threatens to tell her daughter and her congregation if she does not continue doing as she asks. Florence regrettably agrees to continue working for Quigley, despite Amelia's protests. Her mother's health deteriorates so much that Amelia is forced to take over her preaching work.