For nearly four decades, from 1757 to 1795, an anonymous publisher in Covent Garden printed and published a small pocketbook-sized annual directory of prostitutes working in Georgian London. The crudely printed little booklet, which originally cost two shillings and sixpence each, carried a description of each lady, including her appearance, her personality, her sexual specialties and the price she charged.
Published under the title “Harris’s List of Covent Garden ladies”, or “Harris’s List” is short, this guidebook of venereal pleasure catalogued nearly one hundred and fifty up-market prostitutes—providing readers a titillating glimpse into an unfathomably large sex industry that even contemporaries struggled to quantify. Approximation of the size of the industry ranged from 6,000 women to over 50,000.
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