Cynthia Payne: Brothel keeper known as 'Madame Cyn' dies aged 82

Payne, portrayed in two films and several books, described as "extremely colourful archetypal English eccentric"

Tom Brooks-Pollock
Monday 16 November 2015 09:06
Comments
Cynthia Payne
Cynthia Payne

Cynthia Payne, Britain's best-known brothel madam known affectionately as 'Madame Cyn', has died aged 82, her family has said.

Payne first hit the headlines in 1978 when police raided a sex party at her home to find elderly men paying luncheon vouchers for lewd entertainment.

She was jailed after a trial in 1980 - but at a further trial in 1987, she was cleared of controlling prostitutes at her home in south-west London.

Her life was portrayed in two films, Personal Services starring Julie Walters and several books, including An English Madam by Paul Bailey.

Family friend Kevin Horkin described her as "a national treasure" and an "extremely colourful archetypal English eccentric".

Mr Horkin added: "She was a person with a very big heart. She is someone who epitomised the phrase 'what you saw is what you got'.

"Her beliefs however, shone through strongly in the campaigning activity she was involved with in order to change Britain's sex laws, publicising the issue when she stood for Parliament on two occasions in the Kensington and Chelsea by-election of 1988 and in the General Election of 1992 in Streatham.

"She is someone who will be very sorely missed by all who knew her."

Both times she stood for Parliament, Payne failed to gain more than 1% of the vote.

On her website Payne said: "I hit the headlines in 1978 when the police raided my home along a pleasant tree-lined avenue in suburban Streatham, interrupting a sex party that was in full swing.

"For months afterwards, the media would write of queues of middle aged and elderly men waiting to exchange their 'luncheon vouchers' for food, drink, friendly chat, striptease shows, and a trip upstairs with the girl of their choice.

"Vicars, MPs and lawyers were amongst those who considered me to be the best hostess in London."

She stood trial in 1980 and was sentenced to 18 months in prison, reduced to six months and a fine on appeal, for running a brothel.

Besides Personal Services, Payne's life was portrayed on the silver screen in Wish You Were Here - which launched the career of actress Emily Lloyd in 1987.

Addtional reporting by Press Association

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in