Flagellation Brothels rose in popularity in France before coming over to England, where they flourished. The story you are about to read is set in Victorian England, in one such brothel, which had a spanking themed theatre attached. The establishment was called ‘The Inveigle’, and could be found in Whitechapel, London.
Predominantly the early flagellation brothels were places where women went to see other women, either to spank, or be spanked.
Early French spanking literature, which was abundant, makes this quite clear. The most famous of all the early English establishments was owned by a woman named Charlotte Hayes who lived 1725 – 1813. I am going to tell you a little of her history, because The Inveigle was run by one of her descendants, Abigail Hayes.
This is where you would have gone to see Charlotte Hayes, up to the top right hand corner of the square in the above illustration. Not at all a seedy area, this was a very well to do location. The prostitutes of her standing were called courtesans. They mixed with the top echelons of society and had a handful of regular clients, who paid them well and showered them with expensive gifts. They were Mistresses of Dukes, Duchesses, and many other representatives of leading society. Many were also artist’s models.
They had feelings for their treasured ‘friends’ and lived a lavish lifestyle, which their close associates willingly provided. They were a Bohemian group.
They could be seen strolling in the great parks of London accompanied by the finest gentlemen and ladies. People knew who they were and how to find them. Each year, books were published, giving accounts of their practices and their establishments. It was vital to have good reports in these publications.
One of such publications – ‘Harris’s List’
During my research I read many of these. They describe orgies and all sorts of naughty ‘goings-on’!
These publications were popular beyond belief and made huge sums of money for their authors. The man who published this particular one left all his profits from the book to Charlotte, such was her fame and influence.
Despite her later wealth and favour, she trod a hard path to her fame, spending spells in debtors prison. It was here where she met the love of her life, an impoverished Irish Poet named Dennis O’Kelly. On his death he left her his pet parrot, amongst other things. The reason I mention this is because it could recite the whole of Psalm 104…imagine that!
He made his fortune trading in race horses, in particular one champion called ‘Eclipse’, a prize winning stallion. This led him to buying a beautiful house in Epsom called ‘Canons’, and this is where Charlotte spent the rest of her life residing in this elegant palace.
Let’s meet her… Pretend that you are a wealthy young lady who has a long desired to spank a woman. You make an appointment to see Charlotte and you are discreetly admitted to her house by one of her maids. She opens the door to Charlotte’s room and announces your arrival. As you walk into the room, she is ready and waiting. She speaks in a soft seductive voice, “I understand that you like naughty girls, Madam. Well, I am afraid I have been a very naughty one indeed. Would you be so good as to take the birch from the hook on the wall over there and attend to my naughty little rump?”
You take the birch, a little unsure how to proceed. She seems so delicate and beautiful. Do you just thrash her?
She has been doing this for years and knows exactly how to plant a seed of thought.
“Pretend to be my mother. I have let you down at a huge dinner party and you are very annoyed and angry”
You walk to the window and open it, slipping into the role of Charlotte’s irate mother.
“I have never been so ashamed of you, Charlotte. You will never do that again. I am going to teach you a lesson and all the people in the street are going to hear it! Remove your dress and petticoats, and let down your bloomers. When you have done that, face the open window, bend down and present your naked bottom for me to thrash. ”
“Yes mother, I’m sorry mother.”
You watch with anticipation as she stands on her tip toes with her lovely rounded bottom pushed backwards. You need no further invitation and raise the birch rod high in the air.
You deliver a sound thrashing, bits of birch twig shatter and fly into the air. She wriggles, squirms and screams, but amazes you by holding her position. Your eyes study the effects of the bunch of twigs delivering dozens of bee stings at every stroke. In a matter of minutes her whole bottom is ablaze with tiny welts. Your breathing is laboured as you admire her beautiful red rump, and prepare to inflict the final six strokes.
Once you have administered the final strokes, she remains in positionnot moving. There is a silence and you realise that she is awaiting for further instructions.
You cough, “That was a wonderful experience, thank you. I can hardly believe what has just happened. You have made a long-held dream of mine become a reality!”
“Thank you. Can I straighten up now?” As a true submissive, she naturally awaited permission to do so.
“Oh sorry, yes you may.”
She turns and smiles the disarming smile that has melted a thousand hearts, and whilst rubbing her bottom, she asks, “May I pull my bloomers up now mother?”
“Yes you may.”
With a wince and another wiggle she does so. “Would you like a cup of tea?”
You say that would be very pleasant and she rings a small brass bell. Almost instantly an attractive sandy haired young maid walks in. She is given instructions and leaves.
“How much do I owe you for your service!” you enquire.
“That will be two guineas please for the birching, thank you Madam,” replies Charlotte
You pay and then settle down for a chat.
You had probably purchased one of the small magazines available at the time, and subsequently made an appointment, but in the early days it wasn’t so easy. If a girl was in need of a spanking or wanted to spank another girl, then it was necessary to take a walk in the parks and look for a woman wearing a slightly larger nosegay (a bunch of flowers worn on the lapel) and most importantly, purple gloves. That is all you needed to know. If you were determined enough to find someone to spank you, then you would need to acquire this knowledge. You would seek out such a person, make eye contact and in return receive a delightful knowing smile with a nod of the head. Your adventure would begin.
A best friend of Charlotte’s, who ran a similar flagellation brothel, was a lady called Theresa Berkley, who strangely enough lived at No.28 Charlotte Street. She was one of the first to have a specially built flogging frame, known as a ‘Berkley Horse’. She was famous for being one of the first dominatrix. The book entitled ‘Exhibition of Female Flagellants’ was attributed to her.
The Berkley Flogging Horse
Charlotte was not to be outdone and had her own designs of flogging horses made. Business must have been flourishing, because it is said she had one where up to forty could be on it at one time!
Men were now coming for punishment too. It seems that Charlotte would sometimes have her naked whores lay on their backs, underneath the men and play with themselves. The men would be thrashed without mercy across their naked rumps by one of the girls, whilst at the same time being able to watch as the girls pleasured themselves underneath. At the right moment the man was attended to by the girl beneath, using her hands or her mouth. He would leave feeling sore, but very content.
As far as this story is concerned, I am going to stay with the female-female side of the flagellation brothels only.
Upon Charlotte’s death, her daughters (her ‘whores’), whom she called her ‘nuns’, made sure her work continued. People at the time often referred to prostitutes as ‘nuns’, reputedly due to the number of nuns in the crusades who changed their profession as they travelled with the soldiers.
A descendant of Charlotte’s family lived in Victorian Whitechapel. Her name was Abigail Hayes. It is a story about her that I really want to tell you, all based around an establishment called ‘The Inveigle’.
The Inveigle had a beautiful theatre attached, which put on regular Saturday Night Spanking Shows performed by the ‘Inveigle Girls’. Theatres and ‘girls of ill-repute’ have gone hand-in-hand for centuries, many performers being artist’s models, professional funeral mourners and prostitutes.
Charlotte was known to be very adept at what might now be called ‘grooming’. She had a reputation for providing the most beautiful girls, (as well as herself, but only to the privileged few of her own treasured clients). She would place an advert asking for a young girl to tend the elderly or sick, offering free board and lodgings, as well as a little remuneration. As the girls came for interviews she would select the prettiest and then tell them that that particular job had gone, but offered them an alternative.
As well as this, her own clients and friends would proffer a girl, or if she spotted a suitable girl ‘about town’ she would approach them directly. The most famous of all her protégés was a girl called Emily Warren (also known as Emily Pott). She became famous on the London Stage, so much so that Joshua Reynolds himself painted her, saying that he had never seen a ‘so faultless and finely formed human figure’, which is a compliment indeed, seeing as he is one of our most famous artists.
Charlotte spotted her begging on the street at the age of twelve. She was so struck by her ‘uncommon beauty’ that she took her in and set about training her. A little like Eliza Doolitle in ‘My Fair Lady’, she taught her how to speak, walk, move in a ladylike way, and converse in a way befitting a lady of class.
When a customer walked into ‘The Inveigle’, a signed print of the picture of Emily hung on the wall, with an arrow pointing to the theatre. The picture showed her dressed for one of her most famous roles, ‘Thais’. Imagine it, nearly six feet high in a gilt frame with flickering candles either side. She is the reason for the Inveigle Theatre commonly being called ‘The Warren’. Here it is:
Emily Warren from a painting by Joshua Reynolds
Emily was also painted by a painter called George Romney, although to him she was known as Emily Pott. She went under a variety of surnames. George Romney’s painting displays her apparent ‘innocent beauty’ admirably.
In Victorian times the love of Latin was everywhere. It was a way of showing a person’s standard of education. To keep pornography away from the masses, most of it was written in Latin.
To show ‘class’ and keep up with the times, there was another sign hanging up in the entrance of The Inveigle, pointing in the opposite direction to the theatre. Through that door were the stairways to the girls and the ‘spanking booths’. The sign was of a famous Roman phrase used when London was Londinium, and Southwark was the home of its brothels. It read…
‘Quo loco recta vin ad lupanur, amicus?’
Which, when translated, means, ‘Which way to the brothel my friend?’
I must not keep you much longer. This introduction to my story has been much longer than anticipated. I wanted you to know that ‘Flagellation brothels’ were a real thing, especially those for women only. I wanted you to know the tradition of the theatre, and how the girls of the stage were also prostitutes. I wanted you to know how ‘The Inveigle’ had begun.
It is now time to take a walk to the wild side of London in Victorian England…
A place where in 1850 there were fifty thousand prostitutes.
A place where streets that housed the bawdy houses, the brothels, and the erotic theatres, had names like ‘Cock’s Lane’ and ‘Gropecunt Lane’. These are real street names.
A place where women of the day, plying such trade, had grand names like ‘Clarice la Clatterbollock’ and ‘Alice Strumpet’. These too are real names!
A place where huge crowds would gather in Hyde Park to gaze at girls like Catherine Walters, who was known as ‘Skittles’. She was arguably the most famous Courtesan ever. She wore outfits which were so tight that people could see that she had nothing on underneath. Her clients included the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Devonshire.
A place where spanking was one of the most common erotic acts. Even Mrs Beeton, the lady who wrote the famous cookery book, wrote articles in ‘Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine’ describing how to punish a maid. She recommended spankings should be administered on the bare bottom, and with other ladies and maids watching so as to enhance the punishment with a good dose of humiliation.
So walk with me through the dark, gas-lit streets of Victorian London, where the fog hangs heavy. We see a sign hanging above us, the time honoured sign of the brothel used since the days of Pompeii….. a simple ‘hand mark’.
But this sign is slightly different.
Hanging from a wrought iron bracket, swinging gently, it creaks under a huge gas lamp. It too shows the hand mark, but this one is painted white on on a blushing red bottom. Written underneath in red copperplate writing are the words ‘The Inveigle.’
Waiting for you is a welcome as warm as freshly-spanked bottom. The welcome is from Abigail Hayes, the proprietor.
Of all the history I have related to you there is one physical link. It is Abigail’s pride and joy, a smooth ivory spanking paddle which Charlotte left to her ‘nuns’. It has been passed down the family line ever since. It hung in her parlour and was used to both punish and delight many of the girls in her service. Rest assured that it was only one of many implements in that parlour, all of which were well polished due to regular use!
It is time for our story to begin, it is Saturday night, follow me, let’s go to the theatre…
Click here for CHAPTER ONE…