Mayfair (magazine)

Mayfair is a British adult magazine for men. Founded in 1966, it was designed as a response to US 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. It is a softcore magazine, and thus is available in newsagents, although some larger retailers require a modesty bag to hide the cover.

Mayfair Volume 49 Issue 9
EditorMatt Berry
CategoriesPornographic men's
Frequency4 weekly
PublisherPaul Raymond Publications
First issue1966
CompanyBlue Active Media Ltd
CountryUnited Kingdom

Fisk Publishing era

Mayfair was launched by Fisk Publishing Ltd in 1966 with an August cover date. The company was controlled by Brian Fisk. Its first editor was David Campbell, and its first deputy editor was Graham Masterton. Its second editor was Woman's Own veteran Kenneth Bound. As well as nudes, Mayfair featured short stories and serious articles on such "male" interests as classic cars, trains, and military history. In its early years, one regular contributor of fiction and nonfiction was American author William S. Burroughs (who became an associate of Masterton's; Masterton later gave Burroughs a posthumous co-author credit on his novel Rules of Duel).

A regular feature for many years was Quest, "the laboratory of human response", interviews purportedly with ordinary people (each issue featuring separate conversations with two women and one man, and occasionally couples) about sex matters, and graphic descriptions of sexual encounters. Graham Masterton initially wrote Quest as fiction, but later interviewed real people to inform the article.[1] 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.

In 1968, Mayfair took over rival King, which had been launched in 1964, initially with backing from Paul Raymond.[2]

The December issue of each year was usually double-sized, and featured a "review" of the models seen in previous issues. For many years, this was from the previous year, 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. This was followed in 1988 by a similar Girls of Summer supplement.

In August 1972, Mayfair featured the regular comic-strip adventures of "Carrie" with story and fully painted artwork by Don Lawrence. The strip ran for two pages a month for most issues over the next 17 years. Don Lawrence left at the end of 1975, and Mario Capaldi drew the strip from January 1976 to May 1977. In June 1977, Steve Kingston took over.

Most of the models featured were "girl next door" types whom the accompanying text claimed to be new to such work. Their pictures would be accompanied by descriptions of their everyday lives and jobs, including that of telephonists, secretaries, shopkeepers, etc. Page 3 girls were also regular features. Some of the early ones would appear full frontal (tabloid papers such as The Sun only featured topless images), but in the late 1980s most such as Samantha Fox and Maria Whittaker would only do topless appearances.

Occasionally couples, male and female models and sets of two or more girls together (though lesbianism was usually implied rather than made obvious) were featured.

In March 1982, Robert Maxwell reached an agreement to buy Mayfair from Yvonne Fisk (widow of founder Brian). However, Bound persuaded Maxwell to let him mount a management buyout, instead.[3]

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 magazine had a net paid circulation of 295,646 according to the UK 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 explicit descriptions of their sex lives.

The serious content was gradually dropped in favour of an approach more akin to mainstream magazines such as Loaded, 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, Men Only, Men's World, and Razzle.

Paul Chaplin, also known as Paul Baxendale-Walker, acquired ownership of the Paul Raymond Publications titles in August 2012.

Mayfair also has a digital identity, appearing on the official Paul Raymond website, which includes the hardcore images of the photosets used in the magazine.


In common with many soft-core publications, Mayfair was specifically banned in Ireland in 1968,[4] and remained so until successfully appealed along with four other Paul Raymond titles on 21 November 2011.[5]


Current issues of the magazine (2011) follow a common monthly format consisting of several regular sections and seven photo shoots, six of which are brand new to print in the UK and the last being a rerun of a classic photo shoot from yesteryear. The contents below[6] is representative of this format:

  1. Mayfair Male – This section contains letters from readers.
  2. Mayfair Presents – A profile of a model or porn star, looking at how she got into the industry, and how (and who!) she has been doing since
  3. 21st Century Toys – This is a light-hearted review of electronic gadgets and gizmos
  4. Mayfair Movies – A review of the latest batch of pornographic movies
  5. Mayfair Motors – A double-page review focusing on a new car – often featuring high-performance vehicles
  6. Quest – Stories about the sexual activities of a trio of young women, each following a general theme given in the previous month's issue
  7. Scene – A section containing reviews and write-ups about various differing new releases – typically DVDs and books
  8. Gentlemen.. – A page of jokes, generally of a groan-inducing nature
  9. Mayfair Intelligencer – A round-up of weird and mysterious facts, coupled with askew glances at the world of celebrity and Hollywood and guides to modern etiquette

Nude photo shoots are scattered between these sections; each photo shoot generally consists of six or seven pages of photographs along with a short write-up about the model. Often, the model starts the set fully dressed and ends up fully naked.

The final photo shoot in the magazine is a classic shoot that is taken from a previous issue of the magazine, typically from the 1980s or early '90s.

A single-page comic strip, "Ms. Fortune" by Gabrielle Noble, has featured since 2011.

Since acquiring ownership in August 2012, Paul Chaplin writes the monthly editorial column, complemented by his own photo shoot of current glamour models. Chaplin has also implemented an editorial change in bringing in more mainstream tabloid page 3 models for shoots.

  • Peter Flodquist
  • John Allum (whose wife Joanie Allum appeared in some issues of Mayfair)
  • Donald Milne
  • Ed Alexander
  • Jean Rougeron
  • Michael Ancher
  • Robert Redman

See also


  1. Masterton, Graham. "Rules of Writing". Graham Masterton – The official site. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  2. "Men's magazines: an A to Z". Magforum. Anthony Quinn. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  3. "Men's magazines: an A to Z". Magforum. Anthony Quinn.
  4. "Register of Prohibited Publications" (PDF).
  5. "Iris Oifigiúil (Dublin Gazette)" (PDF). 94. Dublin: Government of Ireland. 25 November 2011: 1623. Retrieved 24 December 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. Contents derived from Mayfair Magazine Vol 46 No. 9
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 May 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Joanie Allum's website bio
  8. Mayfair Vol. 17, No. 8 (August 1982)
  9. Mayfair Vol. 22, No. 1 (January 1987)
  10. Mayfair Vol. 24, No. 10 (October 1989)
  11. Mayfair Vol. 24, Nos. 7, 10 & 12 (1989), Vol. 25, No. 8 (1990), Vol. 26, No. 14 (1991), Vol. 27, No. 10 (1992)
  12. Mayfair Vol. 23, No. 3 (March 1988)
  13. Mayfair Vol. 31, No. 12 (1996), Vol. 35, No. 5 (2000)
  14. Mayfair Vol. 24, No. 10 (1989), Vol. 25, Nos. 3 & 11 (1990)
  15. The Best of Mayfair No. 5 – Vol. 20 Supplement (1985)
  16. Mayfair Vol. 27, Nos. 6, 7, 9 & 12 (1992), Vol. 28, Nos. 6 & 7 (1993), Vol. 29, No.1 (1994)
  17. Mayfair Vol. 24, Nos. 9 & 12 (1989), Vol. 25, No. 9 (1990), Vol. 26, Nos. 5 & 11 (1991)
  18. Mayfair Vol. 19, No. 2 (February 1984)
  19. Mayfair Vol. 11, No 1 (January 1976)
  20. Mayfair Vol. 23, No. 8 (1988)
  21. Early photographs reprinted in Mayfair Vol. 22, No. 10 (October 1987)
  22. Mayfair Vol. 25, No. 9 (September 1990)
  23. Mayfair Vol. 23, No. 6 (1988), Vol. 24, Nos. 7 & 11 (1989)
  24. Mayfair Vol. 10, No. 1 (January 1975)
  25. Mayfair Vol. 7, No. 12 (December 1972)
  26. "Mayfair" Vol. 4,
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