Vintage Men's Mags #31: Mayfair

'It is the Playboy of the British magazine world. It is not a "girlie" magazine"
- Robert Maxwell, chairman of British Printing and Communications Corporation in The Financial Times
Mayfair was a British magazine started up in August 1966.  Despite what Mr. Maxwell said, as with most men's magazines, it gradually phased out all of the men's interests content (i.e. sports cars, fashion and cool short stories by the likes of William Burroughs) except one - skin.  This change was most pronounced in Playboy which had to compete with Penthouse and Hustler, but it was also evident in less iconic adult rags like Cavalier.

Graham Masterton, an editor of Mayfair in the early days, went on to write a ton of horror novels including The Manitou.  He also became editor of Penthouse and wrote a bestselling how-to sex book: How to Drive Your Man Wild in Bed (1981). An interesting note: Masterton's father invented DayGlo.

Being a British publication (it was banned in Ireland from 1968-2003 BTW) it was full of cheeky humor.  Plenty of "nudge, nudge - wink, wink" randy witticism.

The Carrie comics ran for a number of years in Mayfair.  Like the magazine itself, they got progressively more explicit.

Anyway, here's a bunch of covers in no particular order.  Enjoy.


  1. You can't help wondering why a paranoid junkie who wasn't interested in women (to put it delicately) kept writing for Mayfair. Money? Sure, but why did the editor go for William Burroughs of all people? Chock value?

  2. A lot of the cover teases have a dry Python tone to them:
    "The nudest young Conservative"
    "The film with no knickers"
    "Do jellymould jalopies deserve to be a cult?"
    "The real Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"

  3. Wow, lovely bird with the green top, white pants.. I'm getting Nowegian Wood just thinking about it

  4. I bought some of those when I lived in London from 1972 to 75. Wish I'd kept them.

  5. I remember this publication very distictly. In general the girls were bustier and curvier than the girls in the equivelent publications. Also they seemly did more lay-out with stockings and garters on the models rather than straight nudes.

  6. I got in on and off from about 76 to 90 when Paul Raymond spoilt it. It definitely had an upmarket feel to it with the shoots normally being in quite posh surroundings. It goes without saying that many of the girls were absolute stunners but many were quite average girl next door types. Towards the end they used more professional models, page 3 girls etc. Anyway reminds me of many happy hours in my bedroom!

  7. Mayfair during the 80s was one of the best of the UK "Glamour Model" magazines. Lots of gorgeous women in shoots from Playboy grade photographers with Playboy grade models. Vol 16n2 ("The Luscious Landlady") was typical of that era. Most of your covers look to be more from the 70s

  8. Always the best of the top-shelf mags - until Paul Raymond spoilt it, as stated above. The 70s and 80s were the best issues.