Important acquisitions

A list of the sporting ladies who is [sic] arrived from all the principal towns in Great Britain and Ireland, to take their pleasure at Leith races, on Monday the 3d June 1776.

Author
Title A list of the sporting ladies who is [sic] arrived from all the principal towns in Great Britain and Ireland, to take their pleasure at Leith races, on Monday the 3d June 1776.
Imprint [Edinburgh : s.n.]
Date of Publication 1776
Language English
Notes This is an 18th-century broadside containing an 86-line poem about the prostitutes lately arrived in Edinburgh to entertain gentlemen at the Leith races, held on the East Sands. It reviews the names and qualities of the "sporting ladies", recommending some, warning potential customers away from others, beginning with a Miss Clerk plying her trade at the back of Edinburgh's Bess Wynde, then other "ladies" from Aberdeen, Perth, Dunfermline, Inverness, Montrose, Dundee, etc., working Miln's Square, Niddery's Wynd, Gray's Close, and the Lawn-Market, concluding with two who could be found at Castle Wynd. Leith race week, establshed in the 17th century, was an important week in neighbouring Edinburgh's social calendar, sometimes leading to a partial suspension of work and business in the city. "On the approach of the race ... a great many fashionable families ... flocked into the town ... This influx of wealthy and idle people kept the city, during the whole of race week, in a state of feverish excitation, and converted it into one continual scene of gaiety and dissipation." (Campbell, p. 185). It was only to be expected that prostitutes would ply their trade for the benefit of the race-goers. The writer of this broadside concludes, tongue in cheek: "N.B. As there will be published a new List every day during the Races, Ladies who incline to be Booked, will loose no time in giving in their Names." This work is not recorded by the usual reference works, nor online catalogues. The only references to it can be found in Thomas Stevenson's "The bibliography of James Maidment" (Edinburgh, 1883 - p. 30) as having been sold on the 3rd day's sale of the antiquary James Maidment's collection on 29 April 1880 and T. Chapman & Son's catalogue of the sale where it is listed as part of lot 1000 "Collectanea curiosa", which sold for 80 shillings. Lot 1000 also included another Leith races broadside printed for 1777 (not recorded anywhere), and a broadside the "Sporting ladies' reply" (now in NLS - shelfmark: LC.1268(002)). This copy may well be Maidment's own copy but there are no marks of provenance to link it to him.
Shelfmark RB.m.754
Reference Sources Alexander Campbell, The History of Leith, Leith, 1827. Bookseller's notes.
Acquired on 17/02/12
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