Originally published under the title King, Mayfair was, for many years, edited by Kenneth Bound and published by Fisk Publishing Ltd. As well as nudes, Mayfair featured short stories and serious in-depth articles on such "male" interests as classic cars, trains, and military history. A regular feature for many years was Quest, a series of interviews with ordinary people (usually two women and one man in each issue, and occasionally couples) about sexual matters. 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. Carrie has her own website these days at http://www.carriestrip.com .
The December issue of each year was usually double-size, and featured a "review" of the models seen in previous issues, although for many years this was from the previous year before, 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 from previous issues. This was followed in 1988 by a similar Girls of Summer supplement.
Most of the models featured were frequently "girl next door" types who often claimed to be new to such work. Their pictures would be accompanied by text describing their everyday lives and jobs, including that of telephonists, secretaries, shopkeepers etc. (it was up to the reader to decide whether to believe them or not).
Page Three girls also appeared on a regular basis. Some of the early ones would appear full frontal (tabloids such as The Sun avoided that sort of picture), but in the late 1980s most such as Samantha Fox and Maria Whittaker would only do topless appearances.
There were the occasional couples, including male and female models and sets that featured two or more girls together (though lesbianism was usually implied rather than made obvious).
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 Audit Bureau of Circulations.
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 raunchy descriptions of their sex lives.
The serious content was gradually dropped in favour of an approach more akin to mainstream magazines like Loaded, while the male interviewees in Quest were dropped in favour of more extreme female-only contributions, including lesbianism.
The March 1987 issue featured a model named Tina Reid, stating she had only recently turned 17 when the pictures were taken. When it emerged that she was in fact 15, all copies were withdrawn from UK shops. Nevertheless, Reid later appeared in a number of other glamour magazines (sometimes using the pseudonym of "Trixie Buckingham"), as well as acting under the name "Louise Germaine", notably in Dennis Potter's Lipstick on Your Collar and Midnight Movie.