Monday, July 06, 2015

Mapping London's 18th Century Prostitutes

Harris’s List of Covent-Garden Ladies was an annual 18th century directory of London prostitutes. The directory not only provided the addresses and rates of London's prostitutes it also included descriptions of their physical appearance and sexual specialities.

Romantic London has mapped the 93 entries in the 1788 edition of the directory. Mapping Harris’s List of Covent-Garden Ladies (1788) plots the addresses of the 93 entries on top of the vintage Horwood's Plan of London (1792-9). Select a marker on the map and you can read the 'lewd and frequently misogynistic' account given in the directory.

As Romantic London points out the directory romanticizes prostitution 'while largely silencing the women involved ... (and) ... fails to account for the suffering and exploitation of those whose histories it affects to encompass'.

Romantic London has also used the vintage map of Horwood's Plan of London as the backdrop for mapping a number of other 18th century London texts. This includes Fore's Guide to London, a guide to some of 18th century London's most important buildings, and Modern London, an 1804 guide to the city.

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