Booklet included the names, brothel addresses and lofty descriptions of prostitutes’ physical appearance and skills.
In Michael Faber’s novel The Crimson Petal and the White the male protagonist peruses a surprisingly un-grubby little book listing (with alarming detail) the different prostitutes around London and what a gentleman in pursuit of pleasure might expect from them.
Now, a copy of the Georgian directory Faber’s fictional Victorian creation must surely be based upon has been acquired by the Wellcome Collection for an undisclosed five figure sum.
Covent Garden Ladies
Harris’ List of Covent Garden Ladies was updated each year between 1757 and 1795 and sold a staggering 250,000 copies – a huge number for a book of that time.
The copy acquired by the Wellcome Collection from a London dealer dates from 1788 and contains a number of scribbled annotations and asterisks which suggest it was well used in its day.