Erotic guide to Victorian London’s brothels goes on sale for £500

A pocket guide to Victorian London‘s secret brothels and prostitutes disguised as a wallet could fetch up to £500 at auction.

The copy of The Man of Pleasure’s Illustrated Pocket-Book for 1850 provides an eye-opening insight into the the capital’s red light districts during the 19th century.

It describes, for men with ‘rebellious members’, individual prostitutes using equestrian and seafaring references as a coded language as well as 50 sketches of women.

A pocket guide to Victorian London's secret brothels and prostitutes disguised as a wallet could fetch up to £500 at auction

A pocket guide to Victorian London's secret brothels and prostitutes disguised as a wallet could fetch up to £500 at auction

A pocket guide to Victorian London’s secret brothels and prostitutes disguised as a wallet could fetch up to £500 at auction 

The guide is going under the hammer at Hanson Auctioneers in Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire, on December 12 and is expected to smash its estimate after a number of similar publications sold by Hansons Auctioneers proved to be a popular success.

The salacious guide describes one woman as a ‘frigate fit for a king’, while another performs her part with admirable skill and dexterity’.  

Miss Alice Grey – The love-inspiring queen 

One page of the guide describes a Miss Alice Grey, of Portland Road, Westminster, as ‘frequently mounted a la militaire, and as frequently performs the rites of the love-inspiring queen according to the equestrian order, in which style she is said to afford uncommon delight.’ 

The copy of 'The Man of Pleasure's Illustrated Pocket-Book for 1850' provides an eye-opening insight into the the capital's red light districts during the 19th century (Pictured: One page in the guide refers to prostitute Miss Alice Grey, who could be found in Portland Road, Notting Hill)

The copy of 'The Man of Pleasure's Illustrated Pocket-Book for 1850' provides an eye-opening insight into the the capital's red light districts during the 19th century (Pictured: One page in the guide refers to prostitute Miss Alice Grey, who could be found in Portland Road, Notting Hill)

The copy of ‘The Man of Pleasure’s Illustrated Pocket-Book for 1850’ provides an eye-opening insight into the the capital’s red light districts during the 19th century (Pictured: One page in the guide refers to prostitute Miss Alice Grey, who could be found in Portland Road, Notting Hill) 

Miss Murray – A frigate fit for a king 

The salacious book calls Miss Murray, of Foley Place, Oxford Street, ‘a little frigate fit for a king to board.’    

Hansons Auctioneers books expert Jim Spencer said: ‘Early erotic publications are extremely sought after with collectors both nationally and internationally.

‘Books like these were published and sold in secret at a time when they would have been regarded as obscene.

‘The fact that this latest find was disguised as a wallet speaks volumes about its content.’

It describes, for men with 'rebellious members', individual prostitutes using equestrian and seafaring references as a coded language as well as 50 sketches of women (pictured: The salacious book calls Miss Murray, of Foley Place, Oxford Street, 'a little frigate fit for a king to board)

It describes, for men with 'rebellious members', individual prostitutes using equestrian and seafaring references as a coded language as well as 50 sketches of women (pictured: The salacious book calls Miss Murray, of Foley Place, Oxford Street, 'a little frigate fit for a king to board)

It describes, for men with ‘rebellious members’, individual prostitutes using equestrian and seafaring references as a coded language as well as 50 sketches of women (pictured: The salacious book calls Miss Murray, of Foley Place, Oxford Street, ‘a little frigate fit for a king to board) 

Miss A Parks – ‘She performs her part with admirable skill and dexterity’

The raunchy guide goes on to describe other prostitutes including Miss A Parks who is noted for her singing when she ‘visits the side-boxes’.

It says: ‘In duets she employs her tongue and voice full as satisfactory as when it emits the shrillest note.

‘She performs her part with admirable skill and dexterity, and in such cases chooses the lowest part’  

The guide is going under the hammer at Hanson Auctioneers in Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire, on December 12 and is expected to smash its estimate after a number of similar publications sold by Hansons Auctioneers proved to be a popular success (pictured: Miss A Parks, of New Road, Whitechapel, who is noted for her singing when she 'visits the side-boxes'

The guide is going under the hammer at Hanson Auctioneers in Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire, on December 12 and is expected to smash its estimate after a number of similar publications sold by Hansons Auctioneers proved to be a popular success (pictured: Miss A Parks, of New Road, Whitechapel, who is noted for her singing when she 'visits the side-boxes'

The guide is going under the hammer at Hanson Auctioneers in Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire, on December 12 and is expected to smash its estimate after a number of similar publications sold by Hansons Auctioneers proved to be a popular success (pictured: Miss A Parks, of New Road, Whitechapel, who is noted for her singing when she ‘visits the side-boxes’

There is a section entitled 'The Health of The Man of Pleasure' which includes prescriptions and descriptions of sexually transmitted diseases

There is a section entitled 'The Health of The Man of Pleasure' which includes prescriptions and descriptions of sexually transmitted diseases

There is a section entitled ‘The Health of The Man of Pleasure’ which includes prescriptions and descriptions of sexually transmitted diseases

However, the unknown author also offers a glimmer of romance among the debauchery, writing of Miss Parks:

‘Observe the rapture-giving squeeze

The glowing cheek, the sparkling eye

The falt’ring voice, the trembling knees

That speak in silent words – I die’

Another unnamed woman found at Jessops near Windmill Street is also recommended.

It adds: ‘Her conversation is pleasing, she drinks little, and swears seldom, so that, as time go, she is a very desirable companion.’

Miss Fowler – ‘Makes the most of her leg’ 

Then there is Miss Fowler ‘who when stepping into a cab or coach, she makes the most of her leg.’

It continues: ‘She generally sets fire to all the male passengers, so that you see them fidgeting and adjusting their rebellious members the remainder of the journey.’

A Miss Fowler, based in Church Street, Soho, 'makes the most of her leg' when 'stepping into a cab or coach'.  The document adds: 'She generally sets fire to all the male passengers, so that you see them fidgeting and adjusting their rebellious members the remainder of the journey'

A Miss Fowler, based in Church Street, Soho, 'makes the most of her leg' when 'stepping into a cab or coach'.  The document adds: 'She generally sets fire to all the male passengers, so that you see them fidgeting and adjusting their rebellious members the remainder of the journey'

A Miss Fowler, based in Church Street, Soho, ‘makes the most of her leg’ when ‘stepping into a cab or coach’.  The document adds: ‘She generally sets fire to all the male passengers, so that you see them fidgeting and adjusting their rebellious members the remainder of the journey’

Beware of clickman toads and fiery snorters: The language used by the ‘men of pleasure’ in saucy brothel guide

The Man of Pleasure’s Illustrated Pocket-Book for 1850 uses slang terms as euphemisms for sexual activity, as well as many archaic words which are less commonly used.

The below list helpfully defines them all: 

  • Hebe – The name of the goddess of youth, who was daughter of Hera and Zeus and cup bearer to the gods. 
  • Ninion l’Enclos – The name of a female 17th-Century author, whose name in France was synonymous with wit and beauty.    
  • Clickman Toad – a nightwatchman
  • Drawing a Wiper – stealing a handkerchief
  • Fiery Snorter – a red nose
  • Potato Trap – a mouth 
  • A la militaire – to the military 
  • Chide – To scold or rebuke
  • Quintessence – the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class
  • Genteel – Polite, refined or respectable

The book also includes a Flash Dictionary, a guide to London criminal slang, with phrases such as Clickman Toad (a nightwatchman); Drawing a Wiper (stealing a handkerchief); Fiery Snorter (a red nose) and Potato Trap (a mouth). 

There is also a section entitled ‘The Health of The Man of Pleasure’ which includes prescriptions and descriptions of sexually transmitted diseases.

A page on ‘gonorrhoea or clap’ advises drinking a pint of water containing linseed and sugar or lemon and also advocates barley water or thin gruel to offset the symptoms..

Mr Spencer uncovered a 300-year-old sex manual from 1720 which sold for £3,100 from an estimate of £80-£120.

This was followed by Memoirs of the Life of Miss Fanny Hill, The Career of A Woman of Pleasure, from 1749, which sold for £360 from an estimate of £40-£60.

Another auction success was Swell’s Night Guide Through the Metropolis from 1841 which made £4,000 from its £800-£1,200 estimate.

He also discovered six volumes of Justine by Marquis de Sade from 1791.

Napoleon ordered the destruction of all copies and its rarity saw the price reach £8,000 from a guide of £2,000-£3,000.

Mr Spencer added: ‘I have a knack for unearthing centuries-old erotic literature, so much so my nickname at work is The Laird of Lewd.’

A young Miss Austin, based in the Adelphi district, in Westminster, is described as having the 'face of a Hebe and the complexion of a Ninion l'Enclos

A young Miss Austin, based in the Adelphi district, in Westminster, is described as having the 'face of a Hebe and the complexion of a Ninion l'Enclos

A young Miss Austin, based in the Adelphi district, in Westminster, is described as having the ‘face of a Hebe and the complexion of a Ninion l’Enclos

Hansons Auctioneers books expert Jim Spencer said: 'Early erotic publications are extremely sought after with collectors both nationally and internationally'

Hansons Auctioneers books expert Jim Spencer said: 'Early erotic publications are extremely sought after with collectors both nationally and internationally'

Hansons Auctioneers books expert Jim Spencer said: ‘Early erotic publications are extremely sought after with collectors both nationally and internationally’

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