London's Good Girl Guide

“Here is an instant guide to the likely whereabouts of all the gorgeous girls within ten miles of Charing Cross: where they are, where they work, where they spend their lunch hours and evenings. 

No more doomy Sundays. 

No more wet Wednesday nights in solitary. On your marks… get set… GO!!!”

From a distance of over 40 years, it’s hard to tell how seriously this guide was meant to be taken. Certainly humour was part of its intent, but there’s a comprehensiveness to it which indicates a real sense of purpose. Author Stephen Lestre discusses the relative merits as hunting grounds of pubs, clubs, supermarkets and parks, all-night launderettes, museums, evening classes and queues. This is the work of a man who is either very thorough or very desperate.

Bizarre and reprehensible as this guide may be, as with other contemporary guidebooks it does give occasional insights into contemporary manners: “Picking up on the trains is difficult (remember that talking is virtually taboo) and only advanced girl fanciers should try.” And it highlights some of the changes which have taken place, as in this entry on Harrods: “do not be deterred by the august facade or, for that matter, by the rather large commissionaires at the door. Walk in as though you have an account there and make straight for the Food Hall on  the ground floor…”

Many of the places mentioned have disappeared or changed beyond recognition, but while Foyles, Hatchards, the National Gallery, Portobello Road market and the Royal Parks are in still relatively good working order, we would caution against following Mr Lestre’s advice on your next visit.

Posted in Illustration, London

Herb visits… Smitty's Market, Lockhart, Texas

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Our guides are printed in England on 100% recycled paper