Painting depicting Mae, the Queen Of Soho, and a bald customer combing his

West End Girls : Working girls and their maids

Soho 1948. A glamorous West End Girl charms a naive young barmaid into her service. This is the maid's true account of life in the decadent underbelly of postwar London.

On this website, you can read book extracts and explore Barbara's interesting world.

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West End Girls

Barbara's first job in Soho

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Pencil drawing :Not the usual

Before Barbara ventured into Soho for the first time, she worked in a factory that painted all sorts of objects that were all the rage amongst the increasingly optimistic post war working classes. As the business became more successful, her boss's unsolicited and lewd advances became more and more insistent,  finally forcing her to seek her fortune somewhere else. As her curiosity would have it, she decided to look for a job in Soho. And found one, almost immediately . . .

" ‘Wages fifteen bob a night and your cab fare home --- that’s if you don’t live too far off.’

‘No, not far,’ I assured him.

‘What’s your name?’ I told him.

‘That’s a nice name --- Barbara…. You ready to start?’

‘What, now?’ I gasped.

‘As good a time as any!’ He broke into a grin. ‘Ronnie there’ – he motioned towards the barman – ‘will fix you up with an apron. Oh, and by the way, ‘he added, as I turned, feeling slightly dazed by the speed of it all, ‘no need to come till six, after tonight.’

Never before had I had such a brief and successful interview. Faintly, I murmured my thanks and went to the bar.

The man sitting with Jim, remarked to him – without bothering whether I heard or not: ‘Bit different from your usual type, isn’t she?’ To which I heard Jim reply: ‘Might be a change to have a bit of class.’

That surprised me too; I’d never thought of myself as having what could be termed class, and I began to feel a bit more confident. "


Copyright © 2018. Hannes Buhrmann.

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