At a time when there were almost no career openings for women, a group of intrepid and gifted females scaled the heights of what was literally a man's worldóthey became brothelkeepers, or "bawds." Mother Clapówomen bawds were often known as Motheróran male brothels, or Molly Houses. Elizabeth Holland had an immense moated mansion built on Bankside and for 30 years entertained the aristocracy, including royalty. When troops attempted to stop her trade and eject her from the house, she and her girls drove them off. The Georgian bawd Charlotte Hayes held a "Cyprian Fete" at which gentlemen "of the highest breeding" first watched athletic young men copulating with nubile whores and then joined in themselves. Fergus Linnane reveals the other side of London's years of pomp and splendor, painting a vivid picture of the bawds, their girls, and their clients. Madams is fresh and original, offering humor, insight, and a very candid view of the sexual behavior of Londoners through the ages.
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Fergus Linnane is an historian who has written widely on social history, including Drinking for England, The Encyclopedia of London Crime, The Lives of the English Rakes, London: The Wicked City, and London's Underworld.
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