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Madams - Bawds & Brothel-Keepers of London - cover

Madams - Bawds & Brothel-Keepers of London

Fergus Linnane

Publisher: The History Press

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Summary

At a time when there were almost no career opening for women, a group of intrepid and gifted females scaled the heights of what was literally a man's world - they became brothelkeepers, or 'bawds', Mother Clap - women bawds were often known as Mother - ran male brothels, or Molly Houses. Elizabeth Holland had an immense moated mansion built on Bankside and for 30 years entertained the aristocracy, including royalty. When troops attempted to stop her trade and eject her from the house, she and her girls drove them off. The Georgian bawd Charlotte Hayes held a 'Cyprian Fete' at which gentlemen "of the highest breeding" first watched athletic young men copulating with nubile whores and then joined in themselves. Fergus Linnane reveals the other side of London's years of pomp and splendour, painting a vivid picture of the bawds, their girls, and their clients. Madams is fresh and original, offering humour, insight, and a very candid view of the sexual behaviour of Londoners through the ages.

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