'King of Soho' Raymond dies aged 82

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The Independent Online

Porn baron and property magnate Paul Raymond has died, it was announced today.

Raymond, 82, once dubbed the King of Soho, opened the only premises in Britain to stage live striptease shows in 1958.

His porn magazines included Razzle, Men's World and Mayfair and he was thought to be worth £650 million.

Raymond, once Britain's foremost porn baron, brought erotica into the mainstream.

The son of a Liverpool haulage contractor, he accrued his wealth by snapping up property in Soho and west London as prices dropped in the 1970s.

Born Geoffrey Anthony Quinn, he was raised in Glossop, Derbyshire, and left school at 15, determined to break into showbusiness.

His first break was in the form of a mind-reading act on Clacton Pier, when he changed his name.

He then became a producer, touring a variety programme, the Vaudeville Express, around the country.

Raymond got around a ruling by the Lord Chamberlain which banned movement by nudes on stage by getting the topless women not to move.

In 1951 he introduced the Festival of Nudes, a deliberate reference to the Festival of Britain.

Exploiting a loophole in the Lord Chamberlain's writ which made private clubs exempt from official censorship, he opened the Raymond Revuebar strip club in Soho in 1958.

The club was an immediate hit.

Raymond became wealthy on club membership fees, and by 1965 he was on his way to becoming a millionaire.

The Revuebar, once advertised with a huge neon sign as the World Centre of Erotic Entertainment, closed in 2004.

In 1964 Raymond, who has been described as the English equivalent of Hugh Hefner, launched King, a magazine modelled on Playboy, but it closed after two issues.