Leisurely Pursuits

Mary used a variety of pseudonyms during the first five years of her modelling career. For several assignments she adopted the simple moniker ‘Ruth’ – her middle name. As ‘Ruth’ she appeared in issue #36 of the short-lived Outdoor Leisure, a magazine extolling the virtues of naked living. This monthly journal was the more glamorous sister of Health & Efficiency, which was established in 1900, and remains the longest-running naturist magazine in the world. ‘H&E’ – as it became commonly known – was never overtly intended as softcore pornography, although its photo-spreads of bushy-tailed young women and men frolicking at ‘sun clubs’ around the world, was often teenage boys’ first introduction to naked flesh in grey post-war Britain.

Mary Millington in Field

Outdoor Leisure’s true intentions were slightly more dubious, famously boasting “worldwide naturist re-creation portrayed in lavish photographs” – in other words, attractive female models, rather than actual ‘real-life’ nudists, posing outdoors without a stitch on. Poor Mary wasn’t whisked away to a Mediterranean beach for her 1973 pictorial; instead she had to make do with a crop circle in Surrey, amid the ‘alien corn’.

All words © Simon Sheridan 2013-2014-2015

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