Icons of England
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Tart Cards

Tart Cards

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Tart Cards

Think of London and what comes to mind? Double-decker buses, black cabs or Beefeaters guarding the Tower? Now-a-days Britain’s capital city has a more ephemeral but equally pervasive symbol: tart cards. If you are from out of town and unfamiliar with these things, tart cards are the means by which London prostitutes advertise their services and they have become as ubiquitous a symbol of that city as the red telephone boxes in which they are found. Step in to any Central London call box and you can contemplate up to eighty cards inviting you to be tied, teased, spanked or massaged either in luxury apartments, fully-equipped chambers or the privacy of your own hotel room. All this and more is just ‘one minute away’ from the box in which you are standing. Read the cards in the boxes and you get more than just a hint of an alternative London. Some people find the cards offensive, others amusing; for the girls and their customers they are a commercial necessity. To anyone interested in printing and graphic design the cards form a microcosm of evolving typographic tastes and techniques; for those printers prepared to take the risk, they represent regular and lucrative business. But love them or loath them tart cards are undoubtedly an intriguing slice of English social history.

Caroline Archer

NOMINATION 41 OF 1170

Your comments


This nomination should never been accepted, its inclusion is offensive and by association Icons is condoning the sex trade and people trafficking. By allowing it to remain on your site you are making fun of these poor people who need help - TAKE IT OFF NOW.
Eugene Regan


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I believe rice, peas and jerk chicken is an Icon of England.

Ade Adeluwoye

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