Mayfair is a British adult magazine for men. Founded in 1965, it was designed as a response to U.S. magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse, which had recently launched in the UK. For many years it claimed the largest distribution of any men's magazine in the UK.
Fisk Publishing era
Originally published under the title King, Mayfair was, for many years, edited by Kenneth Bound and published by Fisk Publishing Ltd. As well as nudes, Mayfair featured short stories and serious in-depth articles on such "male" interests as classic cars, trains, and military history. A regular feature for many years was Quest, a series of interviews with ordinary people (usually two women and one man in each issue, and occasionally couples) about sexual matters. Another regular feature was a long-running cartoon strip featuring the misadventures of Carrie, a nubile blonde who lost her clothes in various embarrassing situations. Carrie has her own website these days at http://www.carriestrip.com .
The December issue of each year was usually double-size, and featured a "review" of the models seen in previous issues, although for many years this was from the previous year before, e.g. the review in Volume 16, Number 12 (December 1981) featured the models seen throughout Volume 15 (January to December 1980). In 1982 a separate and nominally annual Best of Mayfair supplement was introduced, reprinting the full photo-sets and other items from previous issues. This was followed in 1988 by a similar Girls of Summer supplement.
Most of the models featured were frequently "girl next door" types who often claimed to be new to such work. Their pictures would be accompanied by text describing their everyday lives and jobs, including that of telephonists, secretaries, shopkeepers etc. (it was up to the reader to decide whether to believe them or not).
Page Three girls also appeared on a regular basis. Some of the early ones would appear full frontal (tabloids such as The Sun avoided that sort of picture), but in the late 1980s most such as Samantha Fox and Maria Whittaker would only do topless appearances.
There were the occasional couples, including male and female models and sets that featured two or more girls together (though lesbianism was usually implied rather than made obvious).
Many aspects of the magazine changed when, after 24 years as editor, Kenneth Bound agreed to sell the magazine to Paul Raymond Publications. The last issue from Bound/Fisk was Volume 26 Number 1 (January 1990), at which time the the magazine had a net paid circulation of 295,646 according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Paul Raymond Publications era
The change of ownership and the appointment of Stephen Bleach as editor led to more explicitness, more girl-on-girl material, and a focus on established models, mostly with large-breasted figures. The detailed description of the girls' "everyday lives" gave way to raunchy descriptions of their sex lives.
The serious content was gradually dropped in favour of an approach more akin to mainstream magazines like Loaded (magazine), while the male interviewees in Quest were dropped in favour of more extreme female-only contributions, including lesbianism.
Today Mayfair is published every four weeks along with fellow Paul Raymond adult titles such as Club International, Escort (magazine), Just Girls, Men Only (magazine), Men's World (magazine), and Razzle (magazine).
Up to the 1990s Mayfair occasionally — and quite legally — featured nude models who were 16 or 17 years old at the time. Such photographs were then made illegal under UK law.
The March 1987 issue featured a model named Tina Reid, stating she had only recently turned 17 when the pictures were taken. When it emerged that she was in fact 15, all copies were withdrawn from UK shops. Nevertheless, Reid later appeared in a number of other glamour magazines (sometimes using the pseudonym of "Trixie Buckingham"), as well as acting under the name "Louise Germaine", notably in Dennis Potter's Lipstick on Your Collar and Midnight Movie. In common with many soft-core publications, Mayfair was specifically banned in Ireland in 1968, and remained so as recently as December 31st, 2003.
Featured models past & present
- Joanie Allum (wife of a photographer who became a glamour photographer herself)
- Melanie Appleby (of Mel and Kim)
- Debee Ashby
- Brigitte Bardot
- Erica Campbell
- Claire Cass
- Kyla Cole
- Poppy Coles
- Lesley-Anne Down
- Donna Ewin
- Samantha Fox
- Aria Giovanni
- Jo Guest
- Linda Lusardi
- Sharon Macintosh
- Nina Carter
- Pamela Sue Martin
- Lorna Morgan
- Marianne Morris
- Victoria Principal
- Adele Stephens
- Rachel Ter Horst
- Caroline Cossey (aka Tula)
- Diana Van Laar
- Eve Vorley
- Maria Whittaker
- Cassidy Cruise
- Veronika Zemanová
- Peter Flodquist
- John Allum (whose wife Joanie Allum appeared in some issues of Mayfair)
- Donald Milne
- Ed Alexander
- Jean Rougeron
- Mayfair, Vol. 22 No. 3, March 1987
- Sexclub Official website of Mayfair's publishers Paul Raymond Publications
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