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Leaving school at 15, he was a Manchester Ship Canal office boy before taking up the drums with dance bands.
Feigning a heart condition, he avoided imprisonment for evading National Service and instead served as a switchboard operator and bandsman, all the while a self-confessed spiv selling nylons and petrol coupons on the black market.
Revuebar regulars Bonnie Bell the Ding Dong Girl and Julia Mendez the Snake Girl soon fell foul of a judge, who labelled the venue "filthy, disgusting, and beastly" before ordering Raymond to pay a fine of £5,000 for keeping a disorderly house.
But the genie was out of the bottle, and Raymond – by now a fixture in the tabloid press – used his swelling income to launch hugely profitable top-shelf magazines including Men Only, Razzle, King, Club International and Escort.
By designating it a private club rather than a theatre he was able to circumvent the law without breaking it yet again – this time with revolutionary results.
More than 45,000 members signed up within two years, many of them at the club door, and its neon sign reading "Striptease" would become a landmark. Within the first two years, police raided the premises repeatedly.
The working title was The King of Soho, but this was changed as Howard Raymond had already trademarked it for another (as yet unmade) drama about his father's life; he stated that he had "never wanted or sought" to prevent Winterbottom's film being made.
A lifelong Catholic, his neck would always be adorned by a gold cross, while his chauffeur drove a golden Rolls-Royce.
Paul Raymond, who died yesterday at the age of 82, was credited with revolutionising attitudes towards the sex industry during a career which spanned more than half a century and saw him rise from childhood poverty to amass a vast property and publishing empire worth an estimated £650m.
A mild and avuncular figure in person, Raymond's career attracted widespread opprobrium and became a symbol of Britain's apparent decline into lasciviousness.
The Lord Chamberlain's Office controlled what was allowed on theatre stages and ruled that nudes could not move, thus when Raymond toured with a show featuring nudes they were presented as statues, which moved about the stage on podiums.
Raymond's preference, in this context, was for women between 18 and 30 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall and with a chest measurement of no more than 36 inches.
The reason for the latter provision, Raymond explained, was that "I wouldn’t like to embarrass my customers".