Molly Houses and Madams: Unravelling Georgian Subcultures

Tues 16 Feb 2021

19.30 – 20.30


Established in 1691, the Society for the Reformation of Manners aimed to suppress all immoral behaviour in London – from profane plays and prostitution to salacious art and sodomy. Its results were a raft of highly publicised prosecutions and raids on brothels, molly houses and contemporary literature. Yet, an unexpected consequence of this growing surveillance on manners was the interest it fuelled into previously under-acknowledged subcultures. In this fascinating online event, Victoria & Albert Museum LGBTQ tour coordinator Dan Vo speaks to historians Mark Ravenhill and Professor Kate Williams about the underacknowledged worlds of eighteenth century London – from the growth of Molly Houses to trailblazing writers like Eliza Haywood.


Images kindly provided by the Mary Evans Picture Library