DIARY: From knocking shop to hotshop: history of cdp-travissully office

It's always interesting to know who owned your house before you did. It might have been just an ordinary old lady, seeing out her last days sucking on Werther's Originals.

Better still, it might have been a Fred West-style murderer who concealed bodies under the floorboards before being dragged away by the police.

In cdp-travissully's case, however, the previous occupant was an 18th-century prostitute named Miss Brown.

How do we know this? Well, a recent auction saw a first edition of a 1790 Guide to London Tarts sold for a staggering £5,710 to an unknown buyer. In it was an entry for "Miss Brown, No. 9 John Street", the address of the building that currently houses the cdp-travissully office.

According to the author, Miss Brown was a very talented young lady, who had reached the top of her chosen profession. Apparently, she was "an excellent nymph to while away an hour with". What's more, she had "youth, spirit, figure and blood to the backbone; a good face and a fine eye".

"Her mouth is rather wide," the guide observed, "but those who have experience say this is no index, for her abilities in spermatic hydraulics are improved by an able and extensive practice."

It looks as though the "frequency of penetration" has been an issue at No. 9 John Street for much longer than we first thought.

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