Douglas Thmopson - Author and International Journalist



APROPOS my item about John Aspinall's illegal gambling dens, Erin Pizzey, founder of the famous battered wives' refuge, tells me that she was one of Aspers's original 'chemmy girls' in the late 1950s. 'It was in a mews behind St George's Hospital on Hyde Park — now the Lanesborough Hotel,' says Erin, a long-time campaigner against domestic violence. 'I was about 17 or 18 and our job was to hold the hand of these big-time gamblers. But the main thing was we were sworn to secrecy because gambling was against the law.'

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