The eighteenth-century literary blockbuster, Harris’s List (1757 to 1795) is featured in the opening scenes of Harlots. Harris’s List was an annual almanac of London sex workers. A forerunner to TripAdvisor, the list detailed the appearance, skills, and prices of up to two hundred women selling sex in the capital. The list seems to have been the result of a collaboration between an Irish Grub Street hack and poet, Sam Derrick, and London Pimp, Jack Harris. Only nine known volumes of the list survived today (1761, 1764, 1773, 1774, 1779, 1788, 1789, 1790 and 1793), and they are scattered throughout various archives around the world. There have been a handful of reprints, but until 2005, if you wanted to see the list, an appointment at an archive and a pair of white gloves would have been required. It wasn’t until historian Hallie Rubenhold undertook the herculean task of researching and editing the list in her publication The Covent Garden Ladies: Pimp General Jack and the extraordinary story of "Harris' List" (2005), that the list was dusted off and shown to the public anew. Rubenhold and her work remain the leading authority in the study of the list.
The first ten entries from the 1788 edition are listed below.
Miss L—st—r, No. 6, Union-Street,
Oh, pleasing talk, to paint the ripen'd charms
Of youth untutor'd in the female arts;
To see instinctively desire blaze out,
And warm the mind with all its burning joys.
The tell-tale eyes in liquid pools sustain'd,
The throbbing breast now rising, now suppress't;
The thrilling bliss quick darting thro' the frame,
The short fetch'd sighs, the snow white twining
The sudden gush, and the extatic oh.
SUCH our all pleasing L—st—r leads the train, and, smiling like the morn, unfolds her heaven of beauties. Oh, for a Guido's touch, or Thomson's thought,
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thought_, to paint the richness of her unequall'd charms; every perfection that can possibly adorn the face and mind of Woman seem centered in this be- witching girl; hither resort then, ye genuine lovers of beauty and good sense; here, whilst Plutus reigns, may you revel nor know satiety; here feast the longing appetite, and return with fresh vigor to every attack. Now arrived at the tempting age of nineteen, her ima- gination is filled with every luscious idea, refined sensibiiity, and fierce desire can unite, her form is majestic, tall, and elegant; her make truly genteel, her complexion
——-As April's lily fair,
And blooming as June's brightest rose.
Painted by the masterly hand of nature, shaded by tresses of the darkest brown, and enlivened by two stars that swim in all the essence of unsatiated love.
Her pouting lips distil nectarious balm,
And thro' the frame its thrilling transports
which, when parted, display a casket of snow white pearls, ranged in the nicest regularity, the neighbouring hills below full
( 71 )
full ripe for manual pressure, firm, and elastic, and heave at every touch. The Elysian font, in the centre of a black be- witching grove, supported by two pyra- mids white as alabaster, very delicate, and soft as turtle's down. At the approach of their favourite lord unfold, and for three guineas he is conducted to this harbour of never failing delight. Add to all this, she sings well, is a very chearful companion, and has only been, in life nine months.
Miss H—ll—nd, No. 2, York-Street,
No time shall pass without that dear delight,
I'll talk of love all day, and aca it all the night;
Pleasure and I as to one goal design'd,
Will run with equal pace, while sorrow lays
Those who choose to sail the island of love in a first rate ship, or to enclose an armful of delight, must be pleased with this lady; who, tho' only seventeen and short, is very fat and corpulent; yet, notwithstanding, she is a fine piece of frailty; her face is handsome and her
( 18 )
her nut brown locks, which are placed above and below, promise a luscious treat to the voluptuary. Her temper is agreeable and pleasing, and she is so far from being mercenary, that a single guinea is the boundage of her wish.
Miss B—rn, No. 18, Old Compton
Close in the arms she languishingly lies,
With dying looks, short breath, and wishing
This accomplished nymph has just attained her eighteenth year, and fraught with every perfection, enters a volunteer in the field of Venus. She plays on the piano forte, sings, dances, and is mistress of every Manoeuvre in the amorous contest that can enhance the coming pleasure; is of the middle stature, fine auburn hair, dark eyes, and very inviting countenance, which ever seems to beam delight and love. In bed she is all the heart can wish, or eye admire, every limb is symmetry, every action under cover truly amorous; her price is two pounds two.
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Miss J—ns—n, No 17, Goodge Steet,
And all these joys insatiably to prove,
With which rich beauty feasts the glutton love.
The raven coloured tresses of Miss J—ns—n are pleasing, and are charac- teristics of strength and ability in the wars of Venus. Indeed this fair one is not afraid of work, but will undergo a great deal of labour in the action; she sings, dances, will drink a chearful glass, and is a good companion. She has such a noble elasticity in her loins, that she can cast her lover to a pleasing height, and receive him again with the utmost dex- terity. Her price is one pound one, and for her person and amorous qualifications she is well worth the money.
Miss L—v—r, No. 17, Ogle Street,
Queen Ann-Street East.
She darted from her eyes a side long glance
Just as she spoke, and, like her words, it flew,
Seem'd not to beg, what yet she bid to do.
This young nymph of fifteen is short, of a dark complexion, and inclin- able
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able to be lusty; she does not rely on chamber practice only, for she takes her evening excursions to seek for clients, who may put their case to her either in a ta- vern or her own apartments; her fee is from a crown to half a guinea, and she strives to earn her money by seeming to be agreeable; however, she may please some, and as we have only known her about four months she cannot have lost her appetite, but seems particularly fond of the sport.
Miss L—ns—y, No. 13, Bentick Street,
Close in the arms she languishingly lies,
With dying looks, short breath, and swimming
To all lovers of carrots we would re- commend this fair complex, and blue ey'd nymph; she is now steering into the nineteenth year, and has very little of the vulgarity too often found in the sister- hood, but would be rather silent than speak nonsense: the mere sensualist will not find her quite to his fancy, but she will please the delicate and sensible, who can
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can spend the dull pause of joy with her agreeably, till call'd by nature to repeti- tion; in which, as well as in conservation, we are informed she is equally charming.
Miss H—rd—y, No. 45, Newman Street.
Her look serene does purest softness wear,
Her face exclaims her fairest of the fair.
This lady borrows her name from her late keeper, who is now gone to the In- dia's, and left her to seek support on the wide common of independence; she is now just arrived at the zenith of perfec- tion, devoid of art and manners, as yet untutor'd by fashion, her charms have for their zest every addition youth and sim- plicity can add. She has beauty with- out pride, elegance without affectation, and innocence without dissimulation; and not knowing how long this train of perfections will last, we would advise our reader to make hay whilst the sun shines.
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Miss Br—wn, No. 8, Castle-Street,
Her every glance, like Jove's vindictive flame,
Shoot thro' the veins, and kindle all the frame.
A peculiar elegance in make and taste in dressing distinguishes this daughter of love; her shape is remarkably genteel, and her figure good; she sings a good song and is a chearful bon companion; her complexion is fair, her eyes, though grey, exceedingly melting, and seem to speak the disposition of the parts below very forcibly, and if you would wish to find a good bed-fellow, tho' not blest with every other perfection, this lady will perhaps suit her price, which is two pounds two.
Mrs. T—rb—t, No 25, Titchfield-Street.
The glow of youth, the fire of wanton love,
Sport in her eye, and rouse the sensual heart
To strong desires unmanageable pitch.
So universally known, and so great a fav'rite with the bucks is this lady, that her desription is almost needless; her eyes And hair are of the most inviting darkness,
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darkness, her temper and disposition good, and her mind replete with the choicest gifts of Minerva; her figure is elegant, she is very tall, sings and dances to perfection, and has only been in a public way of life twelve months; for a single skirmish she does not refuse the King's smallest picture, but for a whole night's siege expects three of the largest.
Miss R—ch—rds—n, No. 2 Bennett-
If women were as little as they are good,
A peas cod would make them a gown and a
A pretty, little, lively, fair complex- ioned girl, with a dainty leg and foot, and as pretty a pair of pouting bubbies as ever went against a man's stomach, and one who well deserves the attention that is paid her by every man capable of knowing her value. She is pleasing, though fond, and can make wantonness delightful; every part assists to bring on the momomentary delirium, and then each part combines to raise up the fallen mem- ber, to contribute again to repeated rapture; her price is commonly two gui- neas,
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but if a man is clever, she is very ready to make some abatement.