Paperback and audio book coming soon!

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 


West End Girls - The real lives of Soho's working girls

West End Girls : Hardback on sale now. Paperback and audio book on 3 March 2011

Book cover for West End Girls, Barbara Tate's memoir about life as a prostitute's maid in postwar Soho

1948. A twenty one year old girl, mistreated, headstrong, virtuous and very innocent, escapes from her dysfunctional family life and ends up in Soho. There, in a bar, she strikes a most unlikely friendship with Mae, the glamorous West End working girl, the Queen of Soho.

For two years she worked "before the bedpost" as Mae's maid, getting intimately acquainted with the prostitutes and other colourful characters frequenting low life Soho. In this unlikely setting she experiences love, laughter, betrayal, tears. This is the place where she came of age and learnt to stand on her own two feet. A foundation that would launch her into a successful and rewarding life as a painter and artist.

West End Girls is a true account of an extraordinary friendship between two exceptional outcasts. It is scheduled for release in July 2010. Before then, please avail yourself of some of Barbara's very interesting stories and drawings about life in decadent Soho...

Read snippets from the original manuscript and other background information

View the wonderful drawings Barbara created for the story

The Barbara Tate gallery of oil paintings


Barbara Tate and the Society Of Women Artists

Logo of the Society of Women ArtistsThe Society of Women Artists was established around 1855 to give serious women artists the opportunity to exhibit. Under Royal patronage since 1865, it has continued to attract some of the most noted artists of the time. With a well-deserved reputation for excellence, it counts some of the finest contemporary women artists in its membership.

Having joined the Society early in her painting career, Barbara recalled her feelings after her work was first exhibited: "I watched with awe our President Dame Laura Knight escorting our Patron, Princess Marina Duchess of Kent, on her tour of the exhibits, and I remember so vividly my feelings of pride that my own work was amongst them". Barbara developed a passion for the Society, and was invited to serve on the committee in 1981, and through hard work and singular focus was elected President of the Society in 1985.

Realising how important quality of work was to maintain the status of the society, she was dedicated to raising the standard of work displayed during the Society's annual summer exhibitions. She also managed the independent running of the Society following its split from the Federation of British Artists in 1986, traced early catalogues and papers and negotiated a four volume publication charting the history of the Society of Women Artists with Charles Baille de Laperrie.

Barbara still felt that the SWA had not received acknowledgement for its past great efforts in the field of art against terrible odds, and to this end contacted the Victoria and Albert Museum to ask if they would be willing to provide a permanent home for our archives. They showed great enthusiasm and set wheels in motion to fund the project. In June 1996 the archive was gifted to the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Archive of Art and Design, where it is presented as a corporate body, and the mechanics of running the Society can be viewed today on the Internet. In 1993 Barbara was awarded an Honorary Professorship by Thames Valley University.

In the words of the current President of the SWA, Barbara Penketh Simpson : "Nobody who worked with Barbara could fail to remember her presence and her devotion, which continued long after she had been forced, by ill health and advancing years, to hand over to the next generation, a Society, revitalised in great measure, by her hard work and dogged perseverance". With more than 160 active members, the Society is going from strength to strength. Its annual summer exhibition runs from the first to the tenth of July 2010, at the Mall Galleries. Find more details on the Society Of Women Artists' website.

With gratitude to Barbara Penketh Simpson for supplying the above material

Copyright © 2019. Hannes Buhrmann.

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