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Forgot password? Morning in Covent Garden by Spooner, 18th Century. Coming in all shapes and sizes, from a variety of backgrounds, they were given different names. Other girls used prostitution to upplement their day jobs. Some flower girls for instance would stay out later than their more virtuous peers, looking to sell a different kind of flower when night fell.
Customers looking to hire the services of a spell or part-time flower girl typically had to do so in the open. Black Betty also known as Tawny Betty is one of the figures depicted.
When they were not running their bagnios , bawds could be found plucking homeless girls from the streets and training them for prostitution. She established herself as a successful courtesan by the s, popular enough that she was referenced in popular culture at the time.
Due to the theatres located there, Drury Lane was actually the locus of most prostitution on Covent Garden. Much of it started there. Though the business could be said to be glamorous, prostitution was generally only resorted to because so many girls had no other choice. In London Labour and the London Poor , Henry Mayhew discusses how numerous women took up the trade as a way to build funds to open up small businesses in the future. Sadly, a great many of these women would end up catching sexually-transmitted diseases, typically syphilis.
Some hospitals specialized in treating these cases, but as there was no known cure for it at the time, many young women had to return to the streets where they unintentionally spread the disease further. If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.