Prostitution has long been given the tag of the oldest profession in the world, but can I correct this right here right now - this tag belongs to midwifery! Having said that though, prostitution would probably follow quite closely behind!
London has long been a hub of women selling their sexual wares, and during the Tudor and Elizabethan era Southwark and Bankside were the principal red light districts in London. Brothels were usually whitewashed and nick-named “stews” (because of their origins as houses with a heated room used for hot air or vapour baths). Theatres at this time were awash with prostitutes too, and it wasn’t unusual for wealthy actors and theatrical impresarios to own a brothel. Profit was huge! This area became increasingly popular with the ladies of the night as it was outside the jurisdiction of the Lord Mayor, and being situated where it was it could serve the needs of not only the citizens of the area but also travellers and traders coming from the south of the country.
Unsurprisingly, it soon became a breeding ground for venereal disease, but one English doctor named Gaddensden came up with what he thought was a solution for the prostitutes to rid themselves of VD, and it involved jumping up and down on the spot, running up and down the stairs, and cleaning the vagina of any infected sperm with a feather dipped in vinegar! Suffice to say, this didn’t help to reduce the spread of disease! But the acknowledgement that VD was spread by sex was a huge step in the right direction.
The fear of syphilis was spreading fast so in 1504 Henry VII closed down many brothels, which led to women dispersing across London to ply their trade on the streets. Punishments came into force, such a shaving heads and parading the guilty women in the streets, prison sentences and banishment from London. However in 1546 Henry VIII eventually got rid of the stews of Southwark once and for all.
Skipping forward a few centuries and escorting in London is still going strong! Escorting (a companionship service, usually paid for by the hour) continues to be a lucrative business. Because of the increasing wealth entering the city, so competition increases. Many London escorts have professional careers and like to do escorting on the side, and others consider it a full time career in itself. There is a huge demand in our Capital city, and as long as the demand is there then escorting will continue to thrive.