I’m so sorry the screams from my dungeon upset the tennis club
A surreal encounter with the suburban dominatrix (and ex-pastry chef) locked in a spanking great row with her wealthy neighbors
- Mistress Evilyne has run her dominatrix business in Kent for two years
- Neighbours of her ‘torture chamber’ were stunned to discover the business
- She runs her business from a £2,300-a-month five-bed suburban home
- Fellow residents insist they just want to know if the business is legal
On a quiet day, the only noise that can generally be heard on leafy Lynwood Grove in Orpington is the hum of lawn mowers, the gentle chatter of Radio 4 trickling out from an open kitchen window or the gentle thwack of rackets hitting balls from the nearby private tennis club.
Of late, however, this suburban idyll in Kent, where detached houses fetch around £1 million and their professional occupants whizz off to work each morning in BMWs and Audis, has been rocked by a discovery of the most smelling-salt-necessitating kind.
Visitors arriving at one of the vast properties halfway along the street have not merely been popping in for tea and a chat, it transpires.
Indeed, most of the men who arrive each day have appointments for the lengthy sessions they attend at Dungeon Manor, a professional torture chamber run by a feisty, latex-clad dominatrix called Mistress Evilyne.
Each to their own, one might say. Sadly, Lynwood Grove residents don’t appear to be quite so open-minded about the goings-on on their doorsteps.
According to one, sounds of whipping and screaming have been heard from within the Thirties house. Another claims that her 12-year-old daughter saw naked antics in the back garden from her bedroom window. A third complains about the number of nervous-looking men seen hanging about the property and smoking.
Members of Knoll Lawn Tennis Club, which backs onto the garden of Dungeon Manor, have also voiced concerns.
A spokesman says: ‘We are concerned the children might be exposed to something that they shouldn’t see at their age. Is it legal? That’s all we want to know.’
Matters escalated last week when police officers were called to the address while filming was taking place on the driveway — although no charges have been brought.
Red room of pain: Families living on the same road as Dungeon Manor, Mistress Evilyne’s professional torture chamber, were stunned to discover that the men popping by were not just visiting for a cup of tea and a chat
Feisty: Ms Lloyd, in her professional persona as Mistress Evilyne, has been running her business from the five-bedroom home she rents for £2,300 a month, for nearly two years. She admitted she is ‘mortified’ by her neighbours’ complaints
Given her skills at ‘ball busting’ (where testicles get kicked, slapped, paddled, and tortured), bondage and electric shock torture, 31-year-old Mistress Evilyne — real name Blanche Lloyd — is in a surprisingly conciliatory mood when I pop in to Dungeon Manor to hear her side of this very colourful story.
She tells me that having run her business for nearly two years at the five-bedroom home she rents for £2,300 a month, she is ‘mortified’ by her neighbours’ complaints.
‘It was never my intention to disturb anyone,’ she says over a cup of tea in the conservatory.
Dressed casually in leggings and a shirt, her hair tied back in a messy ponytail, she looks more like a student than a dominatrix.
And, downstairs, where the rooms are furnished with oil paintings, aspidistras and wall-to-wall bookshelves, there is little to suggest what goes on here aside from a pair of black leather gloves casually thrown onto a footstool, a pair of impossibly high-heeled red patent stilettoes and a laundry basket which is subdivided into labelled sections for ‘whites’, ‘darks’ and ‘latex’.
‘I’ve apologised for any upset and I’ve said that I will try to make sure that there aren’t any future disturbances,’ says Blanche.
Transformation: Blanche Lloyd, previously a pastry chef, transforms herself into Mistress Evilyne to run her professional torture chamber in Kent. But she said she is ‘mortified’ by her neighbours’ complaints
Scandal: One neighbour insisted that the sounds of whipping are audible from the five-bedroom home in Orpington, while another said her 12-year-old daughter had seen naked antics in the back garden from her bedroom window
‘This whole fuss has been caused by one particular neighbour who seems determined to cause trouble. I’ve invited her to come and see me and talk it all over, but she hasn’t taken me up on the offer.’
If Lynwood Grove residents agree to a cup of tea and a tour of Dungeon Manor, however, I doubt they’d be reassured.
The upstairs ‘dungeon’, while surprisingly bright and cheery, houses a giant bondage bed, handmade by a Cornish craftsman, with restraints attached to each of the four posts.
Hanging from a rack on the wall is an eye-watering array of kangaroo leather whips at £300 a pop, a set of spanking paddles, and what looks like a rabbit-fur duster.
On the window sill, by the double-glazed windows, is a selection of hourglasses and an environmentally-friendly range of ‘Floggermeister floggers’ — suitable for vegans! — made from recycled garden hose and fishing wire by a specialist firm in Cheshire.
A glass cabinet on the other side of the room houses a further eye-watering selection of props including a set of ‘scaring’ knives — ‘They’re blunt! You couldn’t cut butter with them’ — gags, masks and other items which are probably best not mentioned in a respectable family newspaper.
Innocent fun or perversion? Evilyne, who charges between £200 an hour and £1,200 a night, in the form of a ‘tribute’ paid by men for the ‘privilege of being my boy’, insists that the world of BDSM — bondage and discipline, sadism and masochism — is a misunderstood one.
‘There is no sex,’ she insists. ‘That’s not what being a dominatrix is about. It’s about submitting. If anything, it’s more about chastity.’
Indeed, her own personal slave, a long-suffering, 60-year-old factory worker called ‘Squealy’ who sometimes stays overnight in a narrow single bed in the tiny attic ‘slave’s room’ at Dungeon Manor, hasn’t had sex for three months and, incredibly, pays for the pleasure of not doing so. She proudly wears the key to Squealy’s chastity belt around her neck.
One of her specialities is ‘public humiliation’ and Squealy enjoys regular trips to London, where he likes to be led around, on all-fours, on a leash while licking Blanche’s boots.
Her other clients range from shelf-stackers at Asda to minor politicians and carpet salesmen. Some of them like to dress up as women and be taunted. Others are into foot worship and toe-licking or just a spot of good old-fashioned caning.
‘Men,’ she says, ‘feel pressured to play the alpha male at home. Often they’ve tried to tell their wives about their fetish but the women don’t want to know. I’m offering them a place where they can do this safely. For a lot of them, it’s about role reversal.’
Certainly, Blanche, who earns around £50,000 a year as a dominatrix, seems to be up on the deal. Professional work aside, all of her housework is done by a group of men desperate to play the role of her slave. ‘I never wash the dishes or have to worry about the garden,’ she says. ‘You can tell them to do whatever you want. If there’s any DIY that needs doing, I can get them to do that as well.
‘I love what I do. I have a great lifestyle. It also enables me to have time with my friends and to read books. I love my life.’
Even so, professional dominatrix is an unconventional career choice for a privately educated young woman who speaks fluent French and was, for a time, doing Arabic and Islamic Studies at Exeter University before leaving to become a cordon bleu chef.
Not surprisingly, her parents are unhappy about the direction her life has taken.
‘They are not at all happy about it,’ she admits. ‘They don’t understand it. They never will. But I refuse to hide what I do or lie about it. I’ve always done what I want and I’m proud of what I do.’
Born in France, where her British father was working as an aeronautical engineer, Blanche was raised in a tiny village in the Haute Savoie region and sent to a Catholic boarding school. An older sister was killed in a car crash when she was just three and her parents subsequently adopted a son from Tahiti.
Her childhood, she says, living in a village of just 300 people, was a miserable one. ‘I hated it. There were no buses, no shops, no cafes. I was the only child in the village not related to everyone else. It was very boring and stifling. I couldn’t wait to get away.’
She spent two years at Exeter University before deciding that she was only there because of her parents and that academic life wasn’t for her.
‘I didn’t feel they were teaching me anything that I couldn’t learn from reading a book,’ she says.
From there, she found live-in work in the kitchens of a hotel on Dartmoor, where she stayed for nine months before moving to a hippy commune in Canada, training at a cordon bleu cookery school and moving to London to work as pastry chef to celebrity restaurateur Gary Rhodes at the Cumberland Hotel.
While she loved working for Rhodes, Blanche says that her decision to take another job working under one of Gordon Ramsay’s former pastry chefs was the kiss of death for her cooking career.
Earning just £1,200 a month and working 100 hours a week, she became so thin she was hospitalised.
‘It was hell,’ she says. ‘The atmosphere was terrible. He was really nasty and there was nothing I could do about it. I was completely powerless. I was trying so hard and I was under so much pressure.’
After six months she walked out, found part-time work in a chocolate shop and while wondering how she was going to earn enough cash to pay her rent, stumbled across a dominatrix website and experienced ‘a light bulb moment’.
She says: ‘I thought: “I could do that!” It completely appealed to me. I’m a very impulsive person. If I see something I want, I just go for it.’
It’s impossible not to wonder whether her decision to become a dominatrix was a reaction to the harsh treatment she received at work.
Blanche insists she doesn’t hate men, although her views on sexuality are somewhat unconventional. At the heart of them is her belief that ‘we’re all different’.
‘From the age of 15 I have always been in control in sexual relationships and domineering with men,’ she says. ‘I’ve always enjoyed sex but I think that it ruins relationships.
‘I like to keep sexual relationships light-hearted. I have fulfilling emotional relationships with my friends. I have what I have with different people and I don’t try to label it.’
Needless to say, she has no interest in getting married. Nor does she have any desire to become a mother.
Aside from her latest spat with the neighbours, then, Blanche is entirely happy with her life as a dominatrix. ‘I have a great life. I’m proud of what I do.’
Despite concerns by her detractors, she insists that everything she does is legal and above board. She is registered as a sole trader with HMRC, and files all her tax returns on time. She even has an accountant who runs a company called ‘FetishTax’, offering a service with ‘no more sniggering’ for those who work in the fetish and alternative world.
Whether or not her landlord knows what goes on at the property is another matter. She found the house, which she shares with another dominatrix called Governess Ely, a Chihuahua called Dom and a cat called Venus, via an estate agents, telling them that she worked as therapist.
‘We were looking for somewhere with lots of space and a garden within the M25,’ she says.
But for those who believe Mistress Evilyne has brought the area into disrepute, there is light on the horizon. She and Governess Ely plan to move away when the lease on the house ends in October.
‘We want somewhere more rural, out in the countryside, where no one can hear us and where we can have completely privacy,’ she says. ‘Our intention was never to disturb anyone. We don’t want to cause any trouble for people. We just want to be left alone to be ourselves and live the life we want.’
Before I leave, we take a tour of the garden, where submissive clients are sometimes ordered to immerse themselves in the sludgy residue of the empty koi carp pond or to worship at Blanche’s feet in the pouring rain while she shelters under an umbrella.
It is a beautiful sunny day. For a moment, it seems, peace reigns in Lynwood Grove.
Indeed, the only noise that can be heard is a rhythmic grunting noise towards the bottom of the garden. Not from Dungeon Manor itself — but from two men battling it out on the tennis courts on the other side of the fence.