The West End girls were regularly "arrested" by the police. A tacit understanding with the police required the girls to let themselves be arrested about once a month or so, and the rest of the time they would be left alone. They would then have to appear in the Bow Street courts, at an unfashionably early time (for a Soho prostitute). Barbara must have witnessed this just about every month, and here is her account:
Rita was one of the West End girls who will eventually play quite a big part in Barbara's memoir of life amongst the prostitutes of Soho. She was a little different to the other prostitutes, and preferred thieves over ponces. ‘I can’t stand their greasy, lying mugs. And they’re bone-idle! And, if they ever went to school at all, they certainly never learnt nothing. I’ll stick to my feeves. A feeve’s got to use his loaf and know what’s what. They’re clean, upstanding men.’ . . .
As a maid for a working West End Girl, Barbara became acquainted with just about every variation of the human male species. Every personality type, from every walk of life, every body type, all ages and all perversions. Many of Mae's customers were regulars. Barbara adored some of them - like Fred, the kind man whose only interests in life were Judo and Mae. Others she couldn't really stand . . .
The daily business of being a prostitute's maid brings it own education. Not necessarily the kind of education taught at finishing school, and perhaps not the kind of education that have any value other than highlighting the sheer magnitude of masculine sexual preoccupation. With sex, their own sexual prowess, and their most prized posessions - the male genitals. Perhaps Barbara has even picked up a few artistic tips from what she has been shown in Mae's bedroom ...
Barbara Tate passed away on 12 November 2009, only months before her book is due to appear on the bookshelves. Barbara, you will be missed by many. Her friend and collaborator on her book, Richard Gallagher, remembers her in this eulogy.