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Sex for Sale in Scotland

Prostitution in Edinburgh and Glasgow, 1900-1939

Louise Settle

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A social history of prostitution in Scotland that focuses on the realities of women’s lives

Sex for Sale in Scotland examines the various formal and informal methods that were used to police female prostitution in Edinburgh and Glasgow between 1900 and 1939 and explores how these policies influenced women’s lives. The book uses a rich combination of police, probation, magistrates’, poor law and voluntary organisations’ records to demonstrate how these organisations combined to establish a ‘penal-welfare’ approach towards regulating prostitution in Scotland. By mapping the geography of prostitution, the book argues that prostitution was not forced into the outskirts of society, either physically or socially.

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About the Author

Louise Settle is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh. In 2012 she received the Jeremiah Dalziel Prize in British History for her doctoral research. She is a contributing author to various journals including Twentieth Century British History, The Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, and History and Policy.


"Settle’s detailed and well researched book provides a welcome addition to our knowledge of this long standing and complex social issue…A collective biography approach to previously hidden life stories provides much needed insight into the women’s lives. We see their reasons for working in prostitution, its impact and how this was often compounded by the efforts of those determined to prevent it. We also hear the women’s loud resistance screaming through."

- Anni Donaldson, Scottish Review of Books