Painting depicting Mae, the Queen Of Soho, and a bald customer combing his

West End Girls : Working girls and their maids

Soho 1948. A glamorous West End Girl charms a naive young barmaid into her service. This is the maid's true account of life in the decadent underbelly of postwar London.

On this website, you can read book extracts and explore Barbara's interesting world.

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West End Girls by Barbara Tate

Paperback and audio book coming soon!

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We are looking forward with great excitement to the release of the paperback version of West End Girls, out on the 3d of March 2011. 

At the same time, an audio version, the abridged audiobook, wonderfully narrated by Kate O'Sullivan is coming out. 

You can read more about it here 

 

All in a day's work - first the courts, and then the hairdressers

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Pencil drawing :Return to the cradle

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:

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A girl who preferred thieves

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Pencil drawing :Hot buns

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.’ . . .

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A West End Girl and A Fat Cat customer

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Pencil drawing :Heave ho!

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 . . .

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Who did the tattooing?

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Pencil drawing :I have something to show you

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 ...

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