A Pimps Best Friend

By | June 25, 2008

Harris' list of Covent Garden LadiesAlex and I were watching the wonderful BBC2 series Supersizers, set this week in the Regency period. [Ed: Strictly it was the Georgian and Regency as it covered George III and George IV’s reign] For those who haven’t watched it is hosted by the wacky and insane Sue Perkins and food critic Giles Coren who is equally mental.

If you haven’t seen any of the series I strongly advise that you look it up and watch. Each week they live in a different period in time and eat, drink and socialise in the circles of the day. It makes for hilarious viewing.

Anyway, back to what I was going to say.

This week’s episode featured “Harris’ List Of Covent Garden Ladies” which I had not heard of before. It’s a book listing the prostitutes of the time, it listed the ladies physical qualities, personality and sexual specialities all for two shillings and sixpence. How handy is that!

The directory of Georgian prostitutes was published for 38 years between 1757-1795 and it sold over 250,000 copies during it’s run.

It was actually written by Samuel Derrick, with the details being taken from a listing of available women which was put together by Jack Harris who christened himself “Pimp General Of All England”.

Samuel was a poor poet at the time and the proceeds from the book aided Jack Harris to free himself from debtors prison.

I’m going to get myself a copy because it looks like interesting reading, here is an extract taken from the book:

Miss Kilpin, who concealed her address, but might be found near St. Paul’s churchyard. If you were “no frothy coxcomb, no male Adonis, conceited of his own dear person, no show stringed effeminate puppy, no insipid empty chatterer,” you might have had good luck with her. What she liked was unrestrained rapture within her coach as it progressed, and since she was independently wealthy, she wanted no money, just a good time. If you could entertain her, she was yours.

I looked the book up and it is available here.

The title suits it well “Sex In The City In Georgian Britain.

If you want to read up on the history of the book and it’s author you can read the full story also written by Hallie Rubenhold which you will find here.


Tags: Sue Perkins, Giles Coren, Supersizers, Samuel Derrick, Harris List Of Covent Garden Ladies