The majority of records relating to sex work in the archives are about female sex workers; however, there have also always been men who have sold sex, predominantly to other men.

📷: MEPO 3/2136 List of male importuners, detailing the results of being arr
Men engaged historically in sex work faced a double stigma. Both homosexuality and sex work were controversial in their own right.

Despite this, reports of male sex work and male brothels had been longstanding and, at times, prominent in the public eye.
In 1889, the Cleveland Street scandal took place, when a male brothel run by Charles Hammond on Cleveland Street, London, was discovered by police.

The case prompted a very public scandal and received significant press attention. Map of Great Portland Street
Our records include the original statement and correspondence of John Saul. Saul was a known Irish sex worker who worked in London and gave a controversially frank testimony as part of the case.
With his statement, Saul provided visiting cards of three other professional ‘Mary Annes’.

The term ‘Mary Anne’ was a coded expression from the time for a male sex worker.

📷: DPP 1/95/4/2 Three visiting cards of professional ‘Mary Annes’ provid
Concluding his evidence Saul wrote: ‘I am still a professional “Mary Anne”.

Despite Saul’s open confession, he was not prosecuted.

Ultimately, the government was accused of covering up the scandal to protect the names of prominent patrons.

📷: DPP 1/95/4/2 Extract from the testimony of John Saul, used in the Clevela
A few decades later, in 1925, three men were noted by police as smiling at gentlemen as they passed, swaying their bodies in a ‘girlish manner’ and blowing kisses at men they approached; these men were soliciting for sex.

This was in the heart of Soho, a centre for selling sex. Piccadilly Circus by A Ludovici. COPY 1/210B (199b)
The sex workers boldly approached various men, engaging them in conversation.

One of the soliciting men said: ‘Won’t it be ripping. I hope you have got a nice warm bed.’
Unfortunately, for these smiling and giggling men, it turned out that this time they had unwittingly approached police officers.

📷: MEPO 3/403 List of items seized in evidence from two male sex workers,
The male sex workers were arrested. The items on the men at the time were seized as evidence, including handkerchiefs, a number of visiting cards, a comb, lip salves, more than one powderpuff and a quantity of lavender.

📷: MEPO 3/403 and WO 195/15751 List of items seized in evidence from two male sex workers, make-up box
Why was make up so significant? See our previous thread to find out …
The men involved wanted to avoid bail through fear of people at their addresses finding out about their arrests, indicating the potential shame attached to being a male sex worker.
One individual says: ‘No thanks. I don’t want my people to know.’

Sadly, as with many of the records, we do not know what happened to these individuals after this case.
Throughout history sex work has come with significant stigma and risks.

This is reflected in the rich archive material that survives – read the blog to find out more:…

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More from @UkNatArchives

14 Sep
Never fails to make us smile
It’s not just any pencil, it’s a National Archives pencil Black pencil branded with The National Archives
Pencils: they're a way of life
Read 6 tweets
12 Sep
Watching @EmmaRaducanu win her maiden Grand Slam title last night reminded us of another women's tennis champion, Lottie Dod.

Much like Emma, Lottie also achieved success at an incredibly young age. She was just 15 when she won the Wimbledon Ladies' Singles championship in 1887 Lottie Dod playing tennis. ...
Lottie remains the youngest ever ladies Wimbledon champion and apparently spent much of her career playing tennis in a metal-and-whalebone corset while on court.

Lottie's talents extended beyond tennis and she also won awards in golf, hockey and archery.

In fact she even made it in to the Guinness Book of Records as the most versatile female athlete of all time (along with Babe Zaharias).

📷: COPY 1/458/331 Lottie Dod pictured serving
Read 5 tweets
11 Sep
In the 1920s and 1930s queer clubs & spaces were vulnerable to police raids.

Makeup was seen as a sign of effeminacy & therefore homosexuality.

Police would use blotting paper to test for powder & rouge.

📷: CRIM 1/1041 Make-up traces collected by police, 1938. CRIM 1/1041
At the LGBTQ+ friendly Caravan Club, described in the 1930s as ‘London’s greatest bohemian rendezvous’, patrons regularly wore make up.

📷: MEPO 3/758 & DPP 2/224 Ticket for the Caravan Club, Endell Street, London 1934 (catInterior of The Caravan Club, Endell Street, London 1934 (DP
During a raid of the private members club in 1934, a particularly flamboyant and bold individual, Cyril, had to undergo the humiliating process of having his face tested for evidence of make-up with blotting paper.

📷: WO195/15751 A drawing of a face powder carton, WO195/15751
Read 8 tweets
9 Sep
These flyers and pamphlets were produced by the Central Office of Information in the 1960s as part of a campaign to reduce drink driving.
#COI75 #CollectionsUnited A flyer in the shape of a C...
They focused particularly on the Christmas period when numbers of alcohol-related road accidents were particularly high.
The pamphlet 'Less Drink than You Think Means Danger on the Roads' states:

'All drivers with more than a certain amount of alcohol in the blood are much more likely to have accidents. This is true whatever their age, experience, or drinking habits.'

📷: INF 13/119-200 Front cover of the pamphlet...Inside text of the pamphlet...
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28 Apr
Lesbian identities are often difficult to uncover in the archive.

Unlike male homosexuality, sexual relationships between women were never criminalised, which led to less visibility. But their stories and experiences are awaiting discovery.

A thread for #LesbianVisibilityWeek
Our collection holds rich material relating to same sex relationships between women.

To celebrate Lesbian Visibility Week, we thought we'd highlight some of our key records.
The "Ladies of Llangollen", Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, were two upper-class Irish women who lived together in Wales, whose scandalous relationship attracted attention during the late 18th and early 19th century.

📷: Welcome Collection V0007359 - WikiCommons
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