Thursday @ Madame Brussels

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A rather fancy terrace and public house!

As you are elevated from the cement world we live in you arrive at Level 3. The elevator doors open and it's like you're seeing life through rose coloured glasses. Madame Brussels' Main Parlour Room is grassed for your comfort decorated in 30's fashioned white rough iron garden furniture, with drinks served by gorgeous waiters in country club white.

While they wont budge on drink specials for us (booo) but the view from their terrace is worth every penny. Overlooking the east end of Melbourne you will see Church spires, grand old theatres and of cause the turrets of the Windsor Hotel.

A bit of history...

Madame Brussels was born in Germany in 1851 and was ‘a sweetheart of the Duke of Edinburgh in Melbourne in 1867’. Her first husband was an English remittance man called Hodgson, who was said to have had aristocratic connections and to be descended from the famous leader of the ‘Hodgson Horse’ unit, active during the Indian Mutiny. After Hodgson died Madame Brussels inserted In Memoriam notices in daily newspapers for some years, which included her former husband's pedigree - perhaps she was hoping to achieve some reflected respectability in this way.

Madame Brussels was always well dressed, drove in a smart carriage, and educated her daughter at a respectable private school while they resided at 39 Beaconsfield Parade, St. Kilda. Then known as Mrs Hodgson, in 1879 Madame Brussels opened her first brothel in the study area by leasing 8 Lonsdale Street. She was 28 years old. Business must have been good, as in the following year she was in a position to purchase 32 Lonsdale Street, a brick house having seven rooms. She bought the adjoining six-room house at No 34 in 1889 and connected the houses and retained ownership of both until her death in July 1908.

Apart from Mother Fraser, who entertained the Duke of Edinburgh in her luxurious residence in Stephen Street (‘round the corner from Lonsdale’), the best known of the madams was Madame Brussels, who even listed her main establishment at 32 and 34 Lonsdale Street as a brothel in the directory. No less than eight of the brothels in the area were controlled by her at some stage. Most were high class, for which she received from them weekly ‘something enormous: 3 or 4 pounds’. He also said that no other brothels were as extensive as Madame Brussels’

Madame Brussels is part of the Gin Palace, Collins Quarter, La Belle Miette and Madame Virtue group.