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FredDeHead

Pre-Victorian Londoners Had Their Own Version Of Pn

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Who knew? ( not me anyway :P )

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harris%27s_List_of_Covent_Garden_Ladies

Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies, published from 1757 to 1795, was an annual directory of prostitutes then working in Georgian London. A small, attractive pocketbook, it was printed and published in Covent Garden, and sold for two shillings and sixpence. A contemporary report of 1791 estimates that it sold about 8,000 copies annually.
Each edition contains entries which describe the physical appearance and sexual specialities of about 120–190 prostitutes who worked in and around Covent Garden. Through their erotic prose, the lists' entries review some of these women in lurid detail. While most compliment their subjects, some are critical of bad habits, and a few women are even treated as pariahs, perhaps having fallen out of favour with the lists' authors, who are never revealed.
Samuel Derrick is the man normally credited for the design of Harris's List, possibly having been inspired by the activities of a Covent Garden pimp, Jack Harris. A Grub Street hack, Derrick may have written the lists from 1757 until his death in 1769; thereafter, the annual's authors are unknown. Throughout its print run it was published pseudonymously by H. Ranger, although from the late 1780s it was actually printed by three men, John and James Roach, and John Aitkin.
As the public's opinion began to turn against London's sex trade, and with reformers petitioning the authorities to take action, those involved in the release of Harris's List were in 1795 fined and imprisoned. That year's edition was therefore the last to be published, although by then its content was less euphemistic, lacking the originality of earlier editions. Modern writers tend to view Harris's List as erotica; in the words of one author, it was designed for "solitary sexual enjoyment".[1]
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I've had a copy of the book for years, I've also bought copies and gave them as gifts. I'm pretty sure I wrote about it on here years ago..

There's also a Scottish one 'The Rangers' Impartial Guide to the Ladies of Edinburgh' but no copies in print available.

Also...there is a book about Harris's List too, it's also by Hallie Rubenhold, she who has brought Harris's List to attention in recent years.

'Covent Garden Ladies, Pimp General Jack and the Extraordinary Story of Harris's List'.

I also have a French one, 'The Pretty Ladies of Paris' by 'anonymous'.

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Dolly: 5:05 !!!  Good grief. An early start or a late finish?? What about your beauty sleep?

 

I'd have put good money on this thread tempting you out to play :P

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As I don't have a 9-5 existence, I have the freedom to get up, stay up, sleep whenever I like. It's great! I was up early though. Porridge with fruit, then off for Nordic walking on Hampstead Heath. When I'm coming out to play, you'll know! : )

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An interesting extract from the Scotsman link:

 

"Tytler employed colourful language to assess the 50 women, described as “worshippers of Venus” or “nymphs”. Further praise was heaped upon prostitutes who could engage in good conversation or sing."

The last bit is an eye-opener - anyone come across a singer on their travels? I have a lovely image of trying to assess a girl's singing qualities on a pre-meet phone call.  

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. I'm pretty sure I wrote about it on here years ago..

'.

When I read the OP I had a sense of deja vu and thought that I had read about this before somewhere. I'm sure that it wasn't before I came on this forum last year and it won't have been before then. If I remember corrrectly Dolly it wasn't all that long ago that you were writing about the origin of your name and your reason for choosing it. Perhaps you mentioned it at that time. I may be going senile but I definitely remember something.

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Oh yes, the Dan Cruikshank one? That's good.

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The last bit is an eye-opener - anyone come across a singer on their travels? I have a lovely image of trying to assess a girl's singing qualities on a pre-meet phone call.  

 

I suppose that in the days before iPods, CD players or the radio that WGs had to provide the musical background somehow ;):D  The trick would be if she could hold a tune in the middle of coitus :o:lol:

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