Georgian London evokes images of elegant buildings and fine art, but it was also a city where prostitution was rife, houses of ill repute widespread, and many tens of thousands of people dependent in some way or other on the wages of sin. The sex industry was, in fact, a very powerful force indeed, and in The Secret History of Georgian London, Dan Cruickshank compellingly shows how it came to affect almost every aspect of life and culture in the capital.
Examining the nature of the sex trade, he offers a tantalising insight into the impact of prostitution to give us vivid portraits of some of the women who became involved in its world. And he discusses the very varied attitudes of contemporaries - those who sympathised, those who indulged, and those who condemned. As he powerfully argues, these women, and many thousands like them, not only shaped eighteenth-century London, they also helped determine its future development.
Dan Cruickshank is an architectural historian and television presenter. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, a member of the Executive Committee of the Georgian Group, and on the Architectural Panel of the National Trust. His recent work includes the television programmes and accompanying books Around the World in 80 Treasures (2005) and Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture (2008). He lives in Spitalfields, London.