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West End Girls


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The real lives, loves and friendship of 1940s Soho and its working girls.

About the Author

Barbara Tate left her Soho life and went on to marry, raise a family and become a successful painter. President of the Society of Women Artists, Barbara also received an honorary professorship from Thames Valley University. Barbara died in 2009.


Tate's account of her time as 'a maid' to a 1940s Soho tart is warm and affecting READERS DIGEST Readers of a shockable disposition should avoid this book - everyone else should rush out and buy a first edition. It is a jawdropping account of Soho prostitutes in the late forties - a world Barbara knew as she worked for one as her maid - She always said she wanted to paint one perfect picture before she died: she has certainly written one perfect book. -- Lynn Barber THE SUNDAY TIMES This frank memoir of a lost bohemian culture and underworld [is] told with warmth and sympathy. SAGA Hovering over this affectionate memoir of the rackety Soho of 60 years ago is the sharp awareness that Barbara could easily have ended up, like the lost girls she describes ... her book acknowledges with humility and grace, as well as wit, how close she came to living the tough, funny and colourful but ultimately tragic life she describes. -- Jane Shilling DAILY MAIL a truly fascinating, entertaining and heart-warming glimpse into some of Soho's most eccentric and outrageous characters. SUNDAY EXPRESS 'Not only is this memoir told with candour and compassion but it also affords a fascinating glimpse into a lurid byway of London's social history ... Tate's memoir fizzes with anecdotes and the quality of her writing is superb.' DAILY EXPRESS a winning mixture of art and prostitution ... One of the great strengths of this unexpectedly charming memoir is that it abounds with ... detail about the working life of a prostitute in the Forties ... a splendidly evocative memoir -- Craig Brown MAIL ON SUNDAY This is a fascinating, dryly humorous book which lifts the lid on an intriguingly sordid world. THE CHAP turns salty, funny and sad. -- Craig Brown THE WEEK 20120218

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