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

Rabbits, a fat, cantankerous old maid

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Pencil drawing :Good looking maid

Like many others before and after her, Barbara's first job in Soho was as a barmaid in a basement pub with a dubious but generally well-behaved patronage. One night a couple of women entered the bar, one a gorgeous blonde and the other, her companion, a grotesque character. This meeting were to change Barbara's life for ever. Here is Barbara's description of the fat old women . . .


"My attention was once more diverted by her companion, who was again grimacing at me. Really, she was a most gross and repulsive woman, with sly reptilian eyes. She was dressed in a revolting, food-spluttered red Moroccan frock, and a shiny black straw hat, decorated with bunches of artificial cherries nestling amongst crumpled leaves. Somewhere at her feet was the disgusting, matted fur that I later found out was the reason for her nickname.

Fumbling in her handbag, she produced a compact and smirked at her reflection for a while; then, leering across at me with what she obviously believed to be a winsome smile, but was, in fact, something grotesque, she spoke; ‘It comes to something, dunnit, when the maid’s better looking than the mistress!' "


An oil painting of Rabbits - A prostitute's old maid


Copyright © 2019. Hannes Buhrmann.

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