A collection of telephone cards collected in 1993
The Oldest Profession/Ladies of the night:

This is a collation of collected Newspaper articles and Prostitute Business cards with maps of the London area, donated as a manuscript to the British Library:

Shelf mark: HS.74/848 - Vol 1

This is a collation of collected Newspaper articles and Prostitite Business cards with maps of the London area: Cards from Brighton: Cards from Hong Kong. 1994-96

Shelf mark: HS.74/848 - Vol 2


These Prostitute call cards were collected throughout the months of 1993 from various British Telecom kiosks around the London area and the City Soho's reputation for sleaze and tease is probably acknowledged as the main red-light area of London but I am not out to prove or disprove this. It is far more likely to identify three main areas each its own distinct character and particular approach. For instance, anyone who passes through the 'infamous' Soho, penetrated with clubs and basement bars, sharing its night-life with an intimate and familiar ambience of resturants and theatres, could not help but notice the trading in the 'Lusts of the flesh' without exception. Also the sex shops supplying aides to pleasure, strip clubs which advertise sensuous female bodies and the 'bouncer' in the doorway promising to reward the lads with a good time inside, all in fact, a shop window of supply and demand. Yet, it would seem that a relative small percentage of contact numbers on these cards are from the Soho area and it is also interesting to note, that there are not many hotels and with the exception of 'Chinatown' possibly a small residential population.

Now travel further into West London, to Paddingtom station. Proceed via Eastbourne Terrace turn left into Praed Street past St Mary's Hospital then right into Edgware Road. Continue into Bayswater Road then Lancaster into Queensway and you experience a much larger residential populace with a prominence of hotel availability, indicative of a moving, shiftless, lonely population underlining a perception that may exploit the situation. Unlike Soho, this area of activity is much larger yet its night-life not so obvious, so it follows that a car is a necessity for advertising vice at strategically arranged locations, (near phone kiosks). A discreet movement, an open door and figures are seen doing 'Business' (a bit like a night-time boot sale)in areas that evoke a shadow a shadow of pleasure over a dark chasm, in many ways. There is a very heavy concentration of card distribution on this route highlighting Paddington, Bayswater, Lancaster Gate phone numbers as predominate. But here the purveyors of pleasure do not have a 'shop' window of supply and demand. A hiatus in continuity alters everything.

Finally Kings Cross. This area has a seedy reputation that justifiably has a fair share of media attention which gives it publicity in various press coverage and television news items etc. The media often highlight the nuisance to the residents and the exposure to school children because of the Prostitutes that solicit by parading and competing for clients that are 'kerb' crawling. There are 'Pushers' that supply addicts involved with drugs any time of the day. It creates a den of iniquity that mars the Capital. From this scenario, we get a clear idea and a distinct picture of sexual gratification taking place on any convenient spot. The gutters in the street, shop doorways and entrances to blocks of flats, bear testimony to this. To be fair to its seedy reputation there are a significant amount of Telephone kiosks around Kings Cross and St Pancras station displaying call cards, yet actual contact numbers for this area is quiet a small percentage.

The three areas that I have illustrated only serve to show that each of these scenarios bear a flavour for the particular tastes required and realistically for some, what the pocket can afford? While these activities seem to be mainly concentrated at the places named; there are obviously, other places in more 'respectable' locations? and situations around London. These would supply a service with no need to advertise; they come highly recommended...........................


These cards were collected throughout 1994, a year when media coverage saturated the topic of: Call - Girl cards in telephone boxes. I have then included quiet a few more articles from the press to give an overall picture. There is also an interesting section of cards from Brighton known and considered by many to be; London by the sea and also a small selection from a Japan. There is also an important discovery (in my view)that the Yellow Pages directory of 1993 openly displayed adverts of massage parlours which would appear to have the same appeal as prostitute cards (Artwork). I am not, at all suggesting here any collusion but have included some pages for readers comparison. Not only Newspapers and Magazines but also Radio and TV have enjoyed interviewing and discussing the call-girl cards unlikely phenomena: Westminster Council in particular.

In another publication of a Yellow pages design entitled: X-Directory, the author Devlin claims to have collected his cards over a considerable period of time and the book displays some very interesting ones that were originally printed on self-adhesive paper. I do not claim to have every design of card printed but I think there is a fair proportion in this and the previous volume, of what is in his book. (bearing in mind that my books include cards other than London)

After reading the article about Mr Devlin, I contacted him via the Newspaper. We had a chat and he offered to meet me prior to the opening of an exhibition at the Irdilany Gallery which was due in a weeks time. I couldn't make it that day but planned to go when it was officially opened then I would also purchase his book. Finding the Gallery in James street was not as easy as I had imagined however, it did exist and appeared to be a converted shop. The viewing times did not correspond because it was not open - it was shut. I had to satisfy my curiosity however by peering through the darkened windows of the door and could not help thinking at this point, that although this exhibition was a good idea, How would Mr Devlin deal with the 'Ladies' and artists whose designs and ideas were now being exploited and exposed to the general public: Would the Pimps want a rake off of any money being made? From the artists point of view; He, could not take the credit for something unsigned. Unless these were shown in the Royal Academy there would be little credibility - so possibly this would be his fifteen minutes of fame. As for the 'Ladies' this kind of exposure is what she is after as this will elevate her status and help to promote a better image for her profession: She too has her fifteen minutes of Fame. (Andy Warhol)

Friday 24 June 1994: I met 'Fred' a friend of Mr Devlin, as arranged outside Sloane Square tube station. He was standing near the railings to the left of the Newsagent's stall holding the book: X-Directory, displayed obviously for my benefit yet trying to remain inconspicuous. he glanced furtively about sporting sunglasses. We exchanged greetings and he set forth to explain the quality of the product he was selling, then to demonstrate the layout pointing to the earlier cards which were printed on adhesive paper. I eventually asked him why the gallery was closed early and he said that the owner considered the display indecent. I expressed (light-heartedley )my concern that possibly he was getting hassle from the 'Mob' an idea he skirted around. We went on to discuss a possible network of collectors which could swap there doubles, even extending the idea internationally - such was our joint enthusiasm. After giving me, in graphic detail, an illustration of some of the 'Beauties' that had visited the gallery during its brief opening I paid my 10 (price of the book) and we parted.....................