I was sad to read that Lindi St Clair – the brothel-keeper once known as Miss Whiplash – had been hurt in a car accident last week near her Herefordshire home. Her car came off the road and she was trapped upside down in a river for over 24 hours, with fire officials saying she was lucky to be survive the ordeal.
Born in Hackney, she became notorious for offering sexual services out of her brothel in Earls Court, claiming politicians, aristocrats and captains of industry were among her clients, and went on to form her own political group, The Corrective Party. In the early 1990s, after being declared bankrupt, she pitched up in Eastcombe Avenue, Charlton, which is where I came across her. I didn’t even have to make my excuses and leave – our encounter was in the car park of the old Woolwich County Court, where she was trying to sue her next door neighbours for harrassment.
I was on a journalism course at the time, so found myself in the press gallery with a reporter from Ferrari’s news agency, honing my skills on this odd case. Despite her wish to live quietly in Charlton, her house was unmissable – it was the one halfway up the road covered in CCTV cameras, such was her distrust of the people next door. The neighbours also invested in their own cameras – it was like passing a checkpoint. I forget the details of the case now, but it was thrown out since, at the time, you couldn’t sue for harrassment. It was a viscious falling-out, where she claimed she was being bugged and that the neighbours had told the police she’d threatened to kill them, leading (she claimed) to her arrest and imprisonment.
So, outside, we were chatting with the woman I’d remembered from red-top newspapers of my childhood – but instead of being clad in leather, she was wearing a velour tracksuit and letting rip about how her neighbours had allegedly done this and that. Small and intense, she was every inch the English eccentric. True to form, she proved to be tabloid gold by claiming to have slept with a minister who’d recently served in John Major’s cabinet – although without naming him. (I think I know who she meant, and no, I’m not going to tell you.) She gave us her number, and that was that.
Later, her number started to appear in newsagents’ windows – from cabinet ministers to any old punter, times must have been tough for Miss Whiplash. Was I going to do a “made my excuses and left” expose? Er… no. (The Sunday Sport did it, though, tastefully adding a topless photo of her to the story.) I wonder how those punters felt under the gaze of all those cameras?
She moved to Herefordshire in 2000, and the corner of Eastcombe Avenue slowly returned to normal once again, while she was in the country raising ducks and chickens. And still offering sexual services at the age of 57, if certain corners of the internet are to be believed. A true one-off, she certainly made her mark on SE7 in her time here. Hopefully she’ll recover to whip up more scandal until she’s a ripe old age.