Notorious Brothel Owner Cynthia Payne Dies


Cynthia Payne arriving at Royal Ascot in 1997

THE former brothel owner Cynthia Payne, who was nicknamed Madam Cyn, has died aged 82, her family has said.

She first achieved notoriety in 1978 when police raided a “sex party” at her home in Streatham, south London, that was, in her own words “in full swing”.

Writing on her website she said: “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 among those who considered me to be the best hostess in London.

“When the case came to court in 1980, I was sent to prison for 18 months for running ‘the biggest disorderly house’ in history but on appeal, this was reduced to six months and a hefty fine for running a brothel.”

In a second trial in 1987, Payne was acquitted of controlling prostitutes.

“This is a victory for common sense. But I have to admit all this has put me off having parties for a bit,” she said afterwards.
Her colourful life inspired two films, both released in 1987: Wish You Were Here, based on her childhood and starring Emily Lloyd as a fictionalised version of her, and Personal Services, starring Julie Walters.

Family friend Kevin Horkin said: “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.”

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