Madam - this is not a brothelThis gem of a sign is from Soho, in London.

It’s pretty well known there, as if you cut through from Dean Street to Wardour Street you’ve probably seen it a hundred times. In which case – London chums, move along now, nothing for you to see here.

Everyone else, listen up!

Soho is right in the centre of London and is the centre of the UK film industry. There are post production houses, productions facilities and screening rooms all jammed together in just a few streets of Central London.

That’s why I know it very well – for 20 years, this was my neighbourhood. I still feel slightly peeved when I go home and don’t bump into someone I know there.

However, during the seventies and eighties it was also very run down, which is why there were so many film houses there – cheap rents. But lets face it where there’s cheap rents, there’s dubious goings on. And Soho was the centre for prostitution as well as film (and no doubt a few dodgy films were made there too). Sex shops abound even now.

When I first started working in Soho, you regularly saw prostitutes advertising and even now, when rents have risen hugely you still see a few and there are strip bars and lots of sex shops.

Madam - this is not a brothel doorBut times have changed. Rents are now outrageous there – many film companies are being really squeezed by this and in the bars around town you notice more suits and less artistic types. A sure sign of things going up market.

And all that brings me to this rather sad sign on this door. Obviously at one point there was a long running brothel at this address. Respectable door, central address, quiet street… all very discrete.

But no more, and not for years, as I know I’ve seen this sign at least 8 years, if not much longer. The poor owners sound really irked by it – you can only imagine what sort of low-life scum would be turning up in the middle of the night looking for special services… hence the sign.

This not a brothel. There are not prostitutes at this address

It has an air of tired, and irked. Yet, sadly, whenever I see it, it makes me smile.


This post is = part of Signage Sunday. The series is mostly about signs and mostly Indian signs at that. Plus it’s always on a Sunday. Check out more sign related posts:

Signage Sunday : Beware falling tiles
Signage Sunday out and about – Bent in NYC
Signage Sunday : A taste of indian soil

Or go directly to the Signage Sunday page to choose from the whole series.