Who Was the World’s First Dominatrix?

So who was the world’s first Prodom – Professional Dominatrix? Who I shall define here as a woman who had perfected her art, had her own chamber with specialist equipment and a generous clientele. Well the word ‘dominatrix’ was not used in this sense until the 1960s when it was coined in erotic pulp fiction and B-movies which brought about its more mainstream use. However, if we put that aside the first documented, established domme, then called a ‘female flagellant’ was the infamous Theresa Berkley. But before we meet her, let’s first set the scene for how the role of today’s dominatrix came into being.

Le Vice Anglais – The Flagellation Brothels of Victorian London

flagellation-brothels-victorian-london-330The Victorian era (1830 – 1901) was one of strict and rigid morals, refine sensibilities and repressed sexuality. It was also a period obsessed with erotic corporal punishment evident from the flagellant pornography, erotic literature and  documented accounts from the period. So it’s no surprise that a flourishing network of prostitutes offering flagellation (prostitution was interestingly, legal) to their clients existed. According to Prof. Van Yelyr in The Whip & The Rod (1941), it seems that female flagellants “supported 20 splendid establishments’ in London and was known as ‘the English vice’ “.

The ‘English’ in The English Mansion, the name of this website, is actually a wordplay on this notorious expression and not, in fact, declaring that all our dommes are English, we showcase dominatrixes from all around the world 🙂

Having surveyed the number of whipping whorehouses in London the Berlin psychiatrist Iwan Bloch (under the pseudonym Dr. Eugen Dühren) in 1909 concluded that, “England today is the classic land of sexual flagellation”.

victorian-crueltyThis interest in algolagnia (deriving sexual pleasure and stimulation from physical pain) appears to be the result, in part at least, of experiences of flogging at public school. Ronald Pearsall in Night’s Black Angels – The Forms and Faces of Victorian Cruelty (1975) writes, “The outcome of the public school predilection for flogging, was that in later life … there were considerable numbers of young men anxious and often desperate to recapture the lost sensations, and for them the flagellation brothels thrived.”

The highly respected 19th century British poet Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837 -1909) was well-known to be totally obsessed by corporal punishment as a result of his experience at Eton College (a public/independent school) and a number of his poems make reference to flagellation including this verse,

swishing sounds just so
the birch’s kissing
blessing bottoms
so they glow
brightly blushing
even bleeding
from the mighty bushy blows

It is known that in the late 1860s he was a regular visitor to a flagellant brothel, believed to be Verbena Lodge at 7 Circus Road in St John’s Wood and whose proprietress was Mrs Doris Addams. So the stage seemed set in Victorian London for the begins of the fledgling world of the Prodom.

In his book, Index of Forbidden Books which was penned in the 1880s, Henry Spencer Ashbee describes how at the beginning of the 19th century,

“… very sumptuously fitted-up establishments, exclusively devoted to the administration of the birch, were not uncommon in London; and women of the town served, as it were, an apprenticeship in order to acquire the art of gracefully and effectively administering the rod. It would be easy to form a very lengthy list of these female flagellants, but I shall restrict myself to mention a few only. Mrs Collett was a noted whipper, and George IV is known to have visited her; she had an establishment in Tavistock Court, Covent Garden…”

So given the King, allegedly was visiting a female flagellant we can see how widespread and acceptable, well in a typically hypocritically, secretively way, it  had become to visit a female flagellant who were also called ‘Governesses’.

Theresa Berkley
The most famous of these female flagellants (and one of the earliest ) was Theresa Berkley, born circa 1750. She ran a high-class flagellation brothel, the ‘White House’ at 28 Charlotte Street (now Hallam Street) Marylebone, London from around 1787 until 1836. She was described as an expert with all implements of torture and her talents became highly sought after by the aristocracy of the day.

forbidden-books-indexAll the following quotes are further extracts from the ‘Flagellation’ entry in Ashbee’s Index of Forbidden Books, which I think place Miss Berkley as most certainly, the first lady of professional domination.

“Her instruments of torture were more numerous than those of any other governess. Her supply of birch was extensive, and kept in water, so that it was always green and pliant: she had shafts with a dozen whip thongs on each of them; a dozen different sizes of cat-o’-nine-tails, some with needle points worked into them; various kinds of thin bending canes; leather straps like coach traces; battledoors, made of thick sole-leather, with inch nails run through to docket, and currycomb tough hides rendered callous by many years flagellation. Holly brushes, furze brushes; a prickly evergreen, called butcher’s bush; and during the summer, a glass and China vases, filled with a constant supply of green nettles, with which she often restored the dead to life.”

“Thus, at her shop, whoever went with plenty of money, could be birched, whipped, fustigated, scourged, needle-pricked, half-hung, holly-brushed, furze-brushed, butcher-brushed, stinging-nettled, curry-combed, phlebotomized, and tortured till he had a belly full.”

“Mrs Berkley has also in her second floor, a hook and pulley attached to the ceiling, by which she could draw a man up by his hands. This operation is also represented in her memoirs.”

The Berkley Horse
In 1828 she began using a custom-built flagellation frame which she referred to as a ‘chevalet’ although it subsequently became known as The Berkley Horse.

berkley-horse-350“A notorious machine was invented for Mrs Berkley to flog gentlemen upon, in the spring of 1828. It is capable of being opened to a considerable extent, so as to bring the body to any angle that might be desirable. There is a print in Mrs Berkley’s memoirs, representing a man upon it quite naked. A woman is sitting in a chair exactly under it, with her bosom, belly, and bush exposed, she is manualizing his embolon, [wanking his hard cock] whilst Mrs Berkley is birching his posteriors.

In one surviving letter, a customer hearing about the Berkley Horse proffered Theresa Berkley this pricing for her services, “a pound sterling for the first blood drawn, two pounds sterling if the blood runs down to my heels, three pounds sterling if my heels are bathed in blood, four pounds sterling if the blood reaches the floor, and five pounds sterling if you succeed in making me lose consciousness.”

After her death in 1836, her memoirs, which had long been announced for publication, were held back by the executor of her will, Dr. Vance. And, sadly like so much erotica and sexual material from the period was destroyed. It was rumoured to contained compromising letters from certain members of the establishment. The Society of Arts at the Adelphi (now the Royal Society of Arts) took possession of the Horse in 1837, with a public exhibition promoted by radical publisher George Cannon. An illustration of the apparatus is reproduced in the original 1880s edition of Index of Forbidden Books, however, it is unclear what happened to the device.

She left her considerable estate to her brother who had been a missionary in Australia for over 30 years. When he learned the source from which the money had been derived, however, he renounced all claim and eventually the whole estate, valued at £100,000 (about 11 million pounds in today’s money) was handed over to the crown.

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5 Million Femdom Blog Visitors!

fearsom-five-englishmansionA Compendium of Femdom:
Mistress Sidonia’s Blog reaches 5 Million Blog Visitors!


It’s official I’ve had over 5 million unique visitors to my blog! :)  That’s currently approx. 1,000 unique users & 7,000-10,000 post views everyday.
(Actually, the counter was only started in August 2010, while I began this blog in August 2003.)

Predominantly, this blog focuses on the world of femdom – specialist equipment; art, fiction, articles; some of the world’s top dominatrixes & prodoms; scene news; my personal philosophy or general musings; and where femdom crosses over into the mainstream. Plus of course what’s happening inside The English Mansion – new films, my wicked exploits and especially who’s recently come to stay over.

I always try to make sure this blog will also appeal to women and am happy to say I get a lot of positive feedback from them. The comments my posts receive, are much appreciated (more please) and I try to reply to as many as I can.

So if you love Femdom, this is the place for you – come in & kneel down …


If you want even more up-to-date news and to be alerted to recent blog updates you can also follow me on Twitter along with my 44k other followers 🙂 MSVB x

and thanks to @SluttySophie for the fabulous top poster image

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Last Year’s Best & New Year News 2017

2-dommes-englishmansionAbove resplendent in leather the gorgeous Miss Vivienne l’Amour & Dominatrix An Li

Double Weekend Updates Staying for 2017

So we’ve lots planned for next year. The good news, we’re keeping  double weekend updates – Fridays through to Sundays – that’s 3 days a week now! With classic movies staying on Mondays.

& The Best of 2016

We had a ball last year, especially all the outside fun especially our Summer Garden Party! I want also to mention one of my personal highlights of the year – this was featuring in a set of illustrations by renowned fetish artist Sardax for the Japanese femdom publication ‘Goddess Love’ – see here & here

So here are some of My favourite moments from 2016 🙂

I always stand in awe at the real-life amazing dominatrixes and domme women who visit the Mansion: their intelligence, enthusiasm & dedication. So, want to offer my sincere gratitude to these just lovely, special women in control of their lives and desires.
Long Live Female Domination! MSVB

Find out about these real-life dominatrixes, prodoms & dominant women here

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Queen Sidonia’s Xmas Message

boot-tease-mistress-sidoniavonborkService From Afar

This is a special personal message to all my devotees who serve me from afar. I know for many their sub life is just fantasy, indulged by visiting the Mansion but this is still an act of service and submission to me and all superior women.

A secret liaison where you learn what it means to be my slave, what I expect and deserve, remember when you are here I own that secret part of you, I know what you are – you are my slave, my property, here to serve me and my fellow dominas. Whether a pain slut, sex slave, bondage lover or sissy maid we will find a use for you here at The English Mansion.

We play in the Mansion’s ‘fetish bubble’ a world where time and life’s pressures do not exist. That’s why I have a no politics, religion or money rule – this is an escapist wonderland, where we indulge our deepest decadent desires unfettered by reality. And, there is nothing wrong with a fantasy, so long, like all things, it is treated with respect, is recognised for what it is – not reality and indulged in moderation. Real life will always beckon but a little time-out hurts no one – expect perhaps our film slaves 🙂

I know may subs would like to find a domme or partner to share their kinks with but often this is not possible or practical – and you are not alone most people are looking for a compatible partner, unfortunately for subs there are a lot of sub men and as yet, not so many domme women. This is changing and more women are starting to taste the unquestionably sublime pleasure of getting what they want in the bedroom and even beyond that door and within their relationships.

So for now… you will serve me…

So have you been a good boy this year slave?
Because the good are rewarded while the bad are punished?


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A Pup’s Xmas Tail – Merry XXXmas 2016


Wishing all our friends, fellow Dominas, dedicated subs, site members and the entire BDSM community
~ a Cruel Yule & a Spanking New Year!

with huge thanks to the gorgeous Ms Jade Jones for appearing as ‘pup’ in our 2016 Xmas Tail 🙂

And, don’t miss my special Queen’s Xmas message which will be posted here on the blog on Boxing Day 26th December along with a free clip.
Mistress Sidonia xxx (these are kicks not kisses!)

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Chastity Malady ~ Femdom Comic Story

chastity-malady-english-mansion-comic-new2 We hope you enjoy this fun femdom Comic Strip Chastity Malady featuring Mistress Sidonia, Ms Zara du Rose & Sophie Doll with images taken from the movie Cruel Chastity, now showing inside the members area.

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