The latest in our series on the Great Estates of London touched on one of the newer landowners; Steve Norris of Soho Estates reported on ‘sex and the city’ in W1. Barry Coidan was in the audience.
Soho has a rich and varied past, much like the founder of the Soho Estate Geoffrey Anthony Quinn (aka Paul Raymond). Steven Norris had great fun introducing us to Soho, Soho Estate and its founder.
Steven himself has had and continues to have a rich and varied life. Businessman, MP, and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport and Minister for Transport in London under John Major in 1992, where he was responsible for the Jubilee Line Extension, the largest extension of the London Underground network to date. Not forgetting his candidature for Mayor of London in 2000 and 2004. As well as all that he was at school with Paul McCartney!
Paul Raymond, like our speaker, was from Liverpool. Born in 1925 he was keen on the theatre and having successfully avoided National Service he could be found at the age of 22 on Brighton Pier as part of a mind reading act, having changed his name to Paul Raymond. He arrived in London in 1950 but the genesis of his property empire was in 1958 when he opened the Raymond Revue Bar and subsequently in 1960 bought the freehold for £14,000. In those days the Lord Chamberlain’s Office was guardian of public morals – all sorts of entertainment came within his purview. The Revue Bar’s attractive and naked ladies attracted both large audiences and the attention of the Lord Chamberlain. To get around this it became a private club.