One Girl’s War: Joan Miller (Brandon: Co. Kerry) 1986
About the Author
The final page of the book states:
“Shortly after completing this book Joan Miller died at her home in Malta in June 1984”
Joan Miller, author of One Girl’s War, dies aged 68 in June 1984 in Malta having just finished her memoir. But before her daughter can publish through Brandon based in Co. Kerry, Ireland, Brandon will have to fight Sir Michael Havers, as Attorney-General in the High Court in Dublin before being finally allowed to publish in 1986.
Mella Carroll’s legacy as a judge is remarkable for its depth, scope and diversity, Dr Hugh Brady, president of University College, Dublin, cited some of her cases, when she was granted an honorary doctorate in law by her alma mater last year. “In the field of constitutional law she is remembered for her decision in the Attorney General of England and Wales v Brandon Books  IR 597, in which she refused an application by the British government to restrain the publication in Ireland of the memoirs of a former member of the British intelligence service (One Girl’s War by Joan Miller). In reaching this decision the public interest of another state was not allowed to curtail freedom of expression within this jurisdiction.” [ Obituary for Ms Justice Mella Carroll ]
As the back cover states:
“A fascinating memoir from the heart of the world of intelligence operations in war-time Britain, when Joan Miller was personal assistant to Maxwell Knight, Chief of MI5’s B5 (b) Section.
This is the book the British Attorney General tried to stop in the High Court in Dublin, saying that its publication would do irreparable damage to the British Security Service, MI5.”
During 1940, Joan Miller had ended up as Knight’s assistant within B5(b) and when Knight takes a house in Camberley Surrey for de-briefings and his menagerie of animals, Miller is expected to accompany him down there on the weekends. While she is aware as a 21 year old that M is estranged from his wife Lois and that it would be adultery, she is captivated by M’s charisma. However, sex is not really on the cards and as she becomes increasingly mystified as to why, an answer presents itself one Sunday afternoon when M has a visitor.
About the publishers
In not so much a twist of irony, as one of necessity in the search for freedom of speech, Joan Miller’s daughter ended up publishing her mother’s memoir through Brandon Books based in Dingle, County Kerry.
Started in 1981, Brandon Books had already published Gerry Adams memories of growing up in West Belfast Falls Memoirs in 1982, see further for their beginnings and founders in The Oxford History of the Irish Book
About the ‘irreparable damage to the British Security Service, MI5’
Dark secret life of the original ‘M’: Spymaster who inspired 007’s boss was a closet gay that married three women he never slept with – before reinventing himself as a children’s presenter called Uncle Max (Daily Mail, 13 March 2014)
Miller’s revelations that M was gay and sought out ‘rough trade’ by advertising for motorbike mechanics in Camberley Surrey during 1942 and her suspicion that he may have been being blackmailed before his death in 1968 was to become open knowledge in 1986 if published. Sir Michael Havers, Attorney-General since 1977, overseeing the terms of the Kincora Inquiry, stifling the press from reporting on Elm Guest House had one more year of his tenure to go – a tenure dominated by the Paedophile Information Exchange’s activism, the trial of Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, the trials of the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four, all of which he would later attract criticism for. Sadly M would have lived barely a year past the 1967 Sexual Offences Act partially decriminalising homosexuality. Despite attempting to warn various people, Sir Desmond Morton a close friend of his, of Russian agents within MI5 (later in 1963 revealed to be Sir Anthony Blunt and his Apostle chums Burgess, Maclean and Philby), Maxwell Knight was discredited as paranoid and eventually left MI5 in 1956 to pursue a career as a naturalist radio broadcaster full time.
MAXWELL KNIGHT: Eccentric who was the inspiration for Fleming’s ‘M’
Surely the most eccentric unsung spy was Maxwell Knight, known to his friends as Max or M. Although he did later become well known, it was not as a spymaster. To children growing up in the late Fifties and early Sixties he was Uncle Max, the BBC radio naturalist.
He had always had a passion for fauna; indeed, when he was head of B5(b), an autonomous department within MI5 in the Thirties and Forties, those who worked with him also had to work with his menagerie of animals. He could recite trivia about them endlessly, from the correct method of mounting a llama to the breeding cycle of the laughing hyena. His daily help, Mrs Leather, would complain of the way grass snakes used to flop down the stairs of his flat in Chelsea. He kept them in the bath. He also kept a blue-fronted Amazonian parrot in the kitchen and a Himalayan monkey in the garden. And he was known to have raised a nest of adder eggs in his pyjama pocket. Ian Fleming, who worked in the Department of Naval Intelligence, was fascinated by Knight’s mysterious persona and used him as the model for “M”, James Bond’s boss.
But for all his eccentricity he was an effective spymaster. As early as 1927, the bisexual Knight had been put in charge of infiltrating the Communist Party of Great Britain. To this end he recruited Tom Driberg, the (homosexual) writer and future MP, and ordered him to join the Communist Party while at Oxford. He also infiltrated the British Union of Fascists and developed a rather sinister fascination with the occult which he shared with his friends Dennis Wheatley and Aleister Crowley.
When war broke out he recruited an astrologer as an MI5 agent and sent him to Germany to infiltrate the occult court of Rudolf Hess. The agent is said to have briefed Hess that the Duke of Hamilton was prepared to meet him to act as a peace negotiator between the German government and the British. Hess’s fateful flight to Scotland followed in 1941.
With the war against the Nazis over, Knight became increasingly obsessed with the Soviet Union, specifically with the idea that a communist spy ring had infiltrated MI5. But his colleagues no longer took him seriously – indeed, they ignored the numerous reports he wrote on the subject. Knight was by then regarded as paranoid and unstable and, even though his theory was proved right in 1951 when Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean fled to the Soviet Union, his reputation within the service never recovered. He left MI5 a few years later and embarked upon a successful second career as a naturalist on radio and television. He soon became a household name and was awarded an OBE. In 1967 he published How to Keep an Elephant, a guide to keeping off-beat pets. The following year he wrote a sequel: How to Keep a Gorilla. [Double-O Who? Meet history’s unsung spies, Daily Telegraph, ]
After World War II, in 1946, Knight, who had since childhood been an ardent naturalist, began what was to become a successful broadcasting career on BBC radio, appearing in and hosting such programmes as Naturalist, Country Questions and Nature Parliament. He appeared occasionally on television in Peter Scott‘s Look and Animal, Vegetable or Mineral and published 34 books and wrote magazine articles.
His broadcast career progressed alongside his MI5 work until 1956, when he retired early, from MI5, on the grounds of ill health, suffering from angina. He died in Midgham,Berkshire from heart failure in 1968. After his death, the Maxwell Knight Memorial Fund was set up and, from the proceeds funded, the Maxwell Knight Young Naturalists’ Library in the education centre of the Natural History Museum.
About the Book
For a much better round-up of the facts of the books see http://spyinggame.me/2014/09/03/one-girls-war/
When WWII is declared 21 year old Joan Miller leaves the cosmetic counters of Elizabeth Arden behind to end up on a bus to Wormwood Scrubs, the temporary home of MI5. With references from two officers of high standing (one family, one a friend) and the Dame of Sark where she and her family appear to have holidayed frequently Joan gets to work for MI5. At first Joan works for Lord Cottenham of Brooklands racing and the History of Roadcraft fame (Mark Pepys) but she is quickly spotted by M, Maxwell Knight, Chief of B5 (b)
At Wormwood Scrubs she also meets…” the excellent Bill Younger, of the brewing family. Bill, slightly deformed from a childhood attack of Polio, was a step-son of Dennis Wheatley and himself the author of some quite incredible poetry.
Bill had been an MI5 agent since his Oxford days, when M had recruited him to check up on some undergraduates propagating a rather noisy brand of pacifism in the wake of the celebrated motion passed as an Oxford Union Debate ‘ this House will in no circumstances fight for King and its Country’. M had become friendly with Dennis Wheatley, whom he met at one of Charles Birkin’s parties in 1937; at this time, in the early part of the war, Wheatley’s wife Joan, stepson and stepdaughter were also employed at Wormwood Scrubs’. [p.18]
The Wheatley Family: Joan, Dennis & Bill
By 1940 when Joan Miller first makes Dennis Wheatley’s acquaintance, he is 43. The son of a wine merchant, a family business which he had disposed of in the early 30s having turned to writing. He was a curious mix of loyalty to the empire, anti-Nazism and anti-socialism. Married to Joan, who worked in the MI5 Transport section taking over from Miller, his step-son Bill Younger is described my Miller as M’s right-hand man.
“Joan Wheatley like myself, had belonged to MI5 since the outbreak of the war. (She was the mother of my great friend and M’s right hand man, Bill Younger.) Her job which she’d taken over from me was to estimate the amount of petrol necessary for each official journey and to dole it out accordingly.” p.78
“Come along. Dennis, we’ll be late for the Duchess.’ This striking utterance prompted a dry aside from Charles Birkin, another of our guests that weekend: “What Duchess?”
Early in the war Wheatley had applied for a post in the Ministry of Information but receives no reply and M, his friend, doesn’t find him a niche post so he ends up doing a few odd jobs for M until towards the end of 1941 he was made a member of the Joint Planning Staff under the Minister of Defence, an appointment carrying a great deal of prestige.
Wheatley never really likes Joan Miller and makes it apparent.
Miller speaks of M’s interest in the occult and this is indicated by those how he surrounds himself with such as ,Sir Charles Lloyd Birkin, 5th Baronet (24 September 1907 – 1985) the Creeps Library Anthologies editor and horror short story writer who introduced M to Dennis Wheatley in 1937.
A Saturday afternoon in 1942 – Miller discovers M’s secret
“At the beginning of May, when the Wolkoff case was at its height, M sent me off one day to Camberley, in Surrey, to look for a house to rent. The one I eventually took was called ‘Llanfoist’; set well back from the main London road, about a mile and a half outside Camberley, in grounds complete with stables and garages and screened by a row of pine trees, it was ideal for our purposes. M needed the place as a retreat from the stresses of London, as a ‘safe house’ for agents, and as a spot where fellow MI5 officers, joursnalists and so forth could be
Down at the country house in Camberley, Surrey, Joan accompanies M where he places an advert in the local paper asking for assistance from a motorbike mechanic, 3 of which he kept in a garage. A young man turns up one Saturday afternoon and he and M spend several hours in the garage, for M to leave briefly to fetch something from the house, unaware Joan was sitting on a windowseat reading and observes him walk back to the garage it dawns on her she was always only ever destined to be M’s cover, not lover:
“In the middle of yawning and stretching I happened to glance out of the window, in time to see M come up to the house to fetch something. A few minutes later he went out again, and I watched him make his way back towads the barn where the bus driver was standing in the open doorway. M had no idea he was being observed. For the first time he was off guard, and so fell into a posture he must have found pretty natural. I recognised it for what it was, for he had pointed it out to me himself, when we passed a couple of male prostitutes in the street.
As I sat there watching this avowed opponent of homosexuality mince across the lawn, a number of things became clear to me. The first of those was that I had acquired a piece of very dangerous knowledge which I had better keep to myself. M’s disability with regard to performing the sexual act in the ordinary way was now explained. So was the vehemence of his prejudice against homosexuals: it was obviously to safeguard his reputation in the office that he took this stand. Not, I knew, that this need have made his attitude any less genuine, in a sense: it is perfectly possible to disapprove of something and still remain addicted to it.”….
“His tastes obviously inclined him in the direction of what, in a phrase not then current, is known as ‘rough trade’. [p.112]
Joan, remembering rumours about the demise of M’s first wife is scared to discover she holds a secret about M that would make him very vulnerable to blackmail and she didn’t underestimate his reaction to her having this knowledge:
“I couldn’t help dwelling on the things I knew about M that underlined the ruthless side of his character. I thought of his first wife’s death, an obscure and sinister event as far as my knowledge of it went, ited up with M’s disquieting interest in the occult. There was an unedifying Canadian, I remember, an ex-drug addict and jailbird known to me as Frank, who’d performed some unofficial jobs for M such as getting rid of an unreliable double agent in the middle of the North Sea. It didn’t cheer me to envisage this sort of end for myself. The threat of blackmail must be a constant worry for someone in M’s position; once he realised he’d given himself away, he would have to take steps to destroy in advance the value of any information I might lay against him.” [p.113]
“M after leaving MI5 went on to become a well-known radio naturalist, with a regular slot on the Home Service. Among his later proteges, appropriately enough, was John Le Carre, who under his proper name of David Cornwell, illustrated one or two of M’s works on natural history.”
“There is some evidence, which suggests to my mind, that M was being subject to blackmail in the later part of his life. Why else should he have been impoverished to the extent of having to move in with ex-B(5) b colleague Guy Poston and his family? He was never rich, it’s true, but he always had enough to enjoy a way of life that suited him. And why did he opt for the comparative anonymity of radio work, when he’d have made such a splendid television performer? There may be some perfectly innocuous explanation, of course, but I can’t help feeling that one of the risks that he’d taken in his private life might have caught up with him.” [p.154]
M died in 1968 of heart failure in Midgham, Berkshire.
A review of his book Cuckoo by Helen MacDonald for Aeon online provides some glimpses into ‘Uncle Max’ the naturalist on BBC Radio Children’s Hour featuring in the regular “Nature Parliament” series broadcast during the 1950s.
M’s interest in Crowley’s Magick
“Another unsung hero of World War II is Aleister Crowley provided we accept his claim that MI5 invited him to organise some woodland magic of his own, code-named Operation Mistletoe, in Ashdown Forest. Also rumoured to have been involved are Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond books, and Dennis Wheatley whose novels about magic and witchcraft were immensely popular in the nineteen-fifties and sixties. While undeniable that both men worked for the security services during the war there is no evidence that they participated in such an exercise, reportedly the brain child of Maxwell Knight, Head of Section B5(b). (The selfsame Maxwell Knight was an occasional visitor to the vicarage in Limehouse though his MI5 colleague, the predatory Tom Driberg MP, was less welcome and came only once, a former chum of Crowley’s, he was famously described by Winston Churchill as “the sort of man who gives sodomy a bad name.”)” [Magic without Mirrors, David Conway, p.220-221]
“There are others which are more telling, though still obscure. His first wife Gladys, I learnt, died in the Overseas Club after some sort of occult misadventure in which the notorious Aleister Crowley was involved – certainly I’d have been unwilling to enquire too deeply into that particular incident. Black magic was not a subject that held any attraction for me. I accepted M’s interest in it, hoping it was purely academic, but for myself, I preferred to leave it well and truly alone: M understood this. When I tore up a photograph of Aleister Crowley which he had kept, as I believed it to be unlucky, he only laughed.” [p.45]
“M was enigmatic and debonair, qualities I found irresistible, as well as being deeply knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects. This made him a fascinating companion. The range of his accomplishments was extraordinary. He’d played the drums in a jazz band at the Hammersmith Palais; and, more impressively, he was equally proficient on the clarinet. He might have made a living as a schoolmaster if he hadn’t found that profession unendurably tame. For a short period he ran a small hotel on Exmoor with his first wife Gladys, at the same time working as a riding instructor. (It was during this time – according to a rumour – that M was suspected of being a werewolf!) He published a couple of thrillers before the war, Crime Cargo (1934) and Gunmen’s Holiday (1935) both of which I read with some enjoyment though he himself had a low opinion of them. He was a Fellow of the Royal Zoological Society and a keen naturalist. He knew more about the occult than anyone I’ve ever met, including Dennis Wheatley. (Like Wheatley, though a few years later, he’d spent some time as a naval cadet on the training ship Worcester.) He was a crack shot, and also a collector of antique guns. Botany, ornithology and literature were among his enthusiasms. I didn’t acquire all of this information of course – M was never very forthcoming about his own affairs. I think it pleased him to display an air of secrecy; certainly he discouraged questions about the past. The ‘Captain King’ role, dangerous and mysterious, suited him down to the ground. He wore his affectations lightly, though; among his assets was a sense of humour, without which he’d hardly have made such a success of running B5(b).” [pp 44 – 45]
M on Anthony Blunt
M, undaunted, got the paper off to Desmond Morton, Churchill’s private secretary, who was also a personal friend of his, with the plea that it shold be passed on to the Prime Minister.”p. 64
“When the Driberg incident alerted him to the fact that a Soviet agent must be at work inside the Security Service. Driberg’s code name was M8 and one of his reports for M, which contained a reference to a book he had written, was read by an unauthorised person who recognised the allusion and immediately identifed M8 as Driberg – it emerged in 1963 that this person was Anthony Blunt, ex personal assistant to Guy Liddell and still a prominent member of ‘B’ Division at this time. I am sure M never suspected Blunt, which is rather odd really, as he had had several proteges at Cambridge before the war, and certainly knew all about the Apostles.* Of course, under Sir Vernon Kell, we were all encouraged to think of the office as a kind of extended family.
*No one, indeed, had come up with a satisfactory explanation of how Blunt came to be recruited into MI5, after being dismissed from the Manley staff course for budding intelligence officers because he had been so far to the Left at Cambridge.” [p.65]
A particular piece of information that struck me (mentally conjuring up a scene for me owing much to comedian Victoria Wood) was the fact that Lady Kell, Sir Vernon Kell’s wife, Head of MI5 was the canteen manager at Wormwood Scrubs – which becomes apparent in the context of Winston Churchill sacking Kell and his wife’s outrage “He’s sacked the General”. Would one decorate one’s tabard as Commander of the Dinner-Ladies? Any amusement aside, her role would have been extremely useful no doubt in keeping an eye on staff and general gossip.
Index par excellence from Ian Pace on Elm Guest House
Today a vigil was held at Rocks Lane, Barnes, at the site of the former Elm Guest House, a fundamental location for the VIP paedophile ring, where boys are believed to have been trafficked from nearby children’s homes to service the VIP guests, and which is at the centre of Operation Fernbridge. A series of videos were made of speeches from the event (which I was unfortunately unable to attend). Amongst those present were Peter McKelvie, who led the investigation in 1992 into Peter Righton, Peter Saunders, founder of NAPAC (the National Association for People Abused in Childhood), and Dr Liz Davies, Reader in Social Work at London Metropolitan University and the social worker who in 1992 blew the whistle on abuse at care homes run by Islington Council.
The videos, which were taken by someone from the Occupy News Network, can be accessed here…
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A very reasonable request and it now appears that, via David Hencke’s blog, there may be a statement from Fiona Woolf forthcoming. Let’s hope she recognises and addresses concerns thoroughly. Lesson-learning, stone-turning, root-and-branch foraging types of inquiries so far seem to have left a lot of stuff unsaid but very visible and the Emperor’s New Clothes, for those that can see them, must be looking a bit worn.
Dear Lady Woolf
Perceived bias: the law
I write to you as one solicitor to another and as one officer of the Supreme (‘Senior’) Court to another. I am aware of the concerns expressed in the press and other media at your appointment to chair an inquiry on the variety of the long-standing child abuse allegations. I write to you as one solicitor to another to ask you to say what is your side of the story in relation to published allegations about your personal and public relations with individuals who may be required to give evidence; and to ask you to reflect upon whether or not you can be said to be biased in the light of your own contacts and the people who may be inquired into by the panel.
First, I assume you and the Home Secretary consider that you have the ‘necessary expertise’…
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For the past 18 months, Spotlight on Abuse has collated various newspaper reports on the career of Dr Morris Fraser, a child psychiatrist who began studying children in Northern Ireland under pressure of the troubles from August 1969, eventually publishing a book Children of Conflict in 1974.
Spotlight on Abuse: Dr Morris Fraser, PIE, Islington, New York and beyond
Dr Morris Fraser aka Roderick Fraser was a member of the Paedophile information Exchange (PIE), and was involved in child abuse networks across the UK and overseas. He was a founder of the Azimuth Trust charity which sent young boys on sailing holidays as a front for a paedophile ring. He was also one of eight men charged in New York as part of an organised abuse network.
Fraser worked as a child psychiatrist in Belfast at a time when a paedophile ring was abusing children in care at Kincora Boys’ Home and other Northern Ireland children’s homes. Although he was never officially implicated in abuse at Kincora, there seems to have been organised child sexual abuse ocurring wherever he lived or worked. The General Medical Council knew of Fraser abusing children in the early 1970s following ‘an incident’ with a young boy, but allowed him to carry on practicing as long as he switched to working with old people.
Fraser lived in Islington in 1990, at a time when paedophile networks had infiltrated Islington children’s homes. Although this may just be coincidence as he was working at University College Hospital, it’s hard to imagine that there weren’t other motives for his move to London. As the second article below shows, he had also travelled to Turkey, Holland and Denmark to abuse children.
Another PIE member, Peter Righton, is connected to Islington via the Islington-Suffolk Project, which sent children in care on holidays to Lord Henniker’s estate in Eye, Suffolk. Righton and his partner were invited to live on Lord Henniker’s estate after Righton’s 1992 conviction for importing images of child abuse. Righton also sat on a steering committee which advised on training for staff working with disturbed children, alongside John Rea Price, Islington’s Director of Social Services.
Below is a timeline pulling together sources and information linked to and provided by @snowfaked [Troy] @murunbuch [SpotlightonAbuse.wordpress.com] @Ian_Pace [Desiring Progress Blog] and Daniel De Simone (with huge thanks to all) showing the number of times Dr Fraser was convicted, the four hospitals he is known to have worked at during his career, a PhD in electro-shock therapy on the elderly, and the various books he published or contributed to. Oh – and a 1969 Diploma in Engineering.
As I mention at the end of this post: Savile, Dublin & Belfast: Time to re-evaluate his role in The Troubles? it will always come back to the Azimuths.
Chronology – Dr Morris Fraser, George Brehm, George Parker Rossman
1940s – 1950s
1922: 9 December George W. Brehm is born
1934: Dr Fraser is born in Inverness, Scotland (he is 39 in May 1973 at time of Long Island Trial)
1948: George Brehm, later convicted with Dr Fraser in a Long Island boy prostitution and trafficking ring in 1973, visits Wesleyan University with Professor Boris Stanfield to attend the annual conference on Labour Management Relations for that year. Brehm is on the student body at Columbia College. He graduates this year from Columbia University aged 25/26. Professor Boris Stanfield’s area of expertise was Russian economics.
“Boris thought he knew a few things about revolution; he was a man who had broken bread with Lenin, Trotsy, and Stalin, but now he was confronting the jock revolution, and it had the chimerical form of two beautiful 26-year old blondes joking around with a U.S. senator” [New York Magazine, 17 December 1973]
1960: At the start of the decade Dr Fraser is 26 or so.
1965: Aged 30/31, Fraser graduates from Queens University Belfast in 1965. MB BCh BAO 1965
The medical schools in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland – Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Dublin (Trinity College), some constituent institutions of the National University of Ireland (University College Dublin, University College Cork and National University of Ireland, Galway), and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland— award the degrees of MB BCh BAO. The letters BAO stand for Baccalaureus in Arte Obstetricia (Bachelor of Obstetrics), a degree unique to Ireland which the Irish universities added in the 19th century as the legislation at the time insisted on a final examination in obstetrics.
During 1968 – 1969 it appears R.M Fraser (pre MD in 1980 no electro-shock treatment in the elderly) was working with others on a paper concerning ‘The circumstances preceding death from asthma in young people in 1968 to 1969’ which was published in 1971.
Boys for Sale: A Sociological Study of Boy Prostitution (New York,1969) Parker Rossman (writing as Jonathan Drake) with Dennis Drew
In the same year Parker Rossman publishes his study of boy prostitution in New York, Mervyn Harris, a South African journalist is in the UK studying boy prostitution in London, Piccaddily Circus and writes his book ‘The Dilly Boys’ – blog post on the background to this book here
DPM Eng. 1969 – Dr Morris receives a Diploma in Engineering.
Summer 1969 – Dr Fraser starts treating children amongst The Troubles in Northern Ireland according to 20 September 1974: For Ulster’s Children: A World of Violence, hate [The Dispatch, Lexington, NC]
Dr Fraser was living at 39 Whitehouse Park, Newtownabbey, East Antrim just outside Belfast – on the coast just off Shore Road with views over Belfast Lough where the ferries for the Isle of Man. He establishes a Scout troop.
Brehm’s Nassau County Ring: In 1972 George Brehm would be convicted for his involvement with a Nassau ring of child abusers. The New York Times later wants to make it especially clear Dr Fraser and Mr Oelke (the ex-fundraiser for the Big Brother organisation in New York) were not involved in the Nassau ring trial of 1972 that Brehm had already been convicted for and it appears was attending court from prison during the trial for the Long Island ring in 1973.
15 April 1971: Article published in New Society ‘Ulster’s children of conflict’ New Society (this is the article referenced in Paul Foot/Colin Wallace appendix – see Tom Griffin’s article on Spinwatch)
The Long Island International Ring
January 1970 – December 1971: Brehm purchases house 18 Secatogue Lane in West Islip, New York.The group publishes a newsletter and meets on average approx once a month during the 2 years to abuse boys sourced from Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico. A Canadian College Instructor is involved. [8 May 1973: Eight Charged in Homosexual International Ring on Long Island [Ogdensberg Journal]
George W. Brehm:
A salesman of school equipment, Brehm was wealthy enough to buy houses with small lakes and boats attached for the group to use to abuse boys.
Hal Oelke: 49, Manhattan, former Press Relations employee/ fundraiser with Big Brothers of New York. On Friday 19 October 1973 Oelke was sentenced to 5 years’ probation – to continue with psychiatric treatment and subject to 7 years’ prison sentence suspended if caught while on probation.
Dr Morris Fraser: 39, child psychologist with Royal Belfast Hospital for Exceptional Children in Northern Ireland.
NBC ‘Suffer the Little Children’
Parker Rossman: 58 of 20 Autumn Street, New Haven, Dean of the Ecumenical Continuing Education Center of New Haven, Connecticut , married father of three, also at Yale University School of Divinity
See further my post on Walter Breen and his wife Marion Bradley Zimmerman who has now been accused of abuse by her daughter
Charles Slavin: Arrested in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Salesman who brought a 10 year old boy from Puerto Rico to be abused at the house in West Islip. Refused to waive extradition, freed on $10,000 bond pending extradition hearing. Was eventually sentenced by Mr J. Lundberg on October 30th 1973.
Other members of the ring:
Leslie McGraw, English instructor Sheridan College, Brampton Ontario Canada
Angelo Riviezzo, 42, Queens chemist (access to drugs for sedation etc?), 95-24 85th Street, Ozone Park, Queens, Brooklyn was also charge with 1 count of third degree sodomy in the Nassau ring. Became a fugitiveon the run and was believed to have entered a religious order by the time others sentenced in October 1973.
Ron Ramos, 25, of Puerto Rico
In 1992 the Islington Gazette published an article on Dr Morris Fraser’s later appearance in court at Bow Street and conviction for a collection of child abuse images stretching back 10 years (being a keen photographer)
Dr Fraser receives an award from the Mental Health Research Fund in 1971
August 1971: Child Psychiatrist Dr Fraser travels to London with a 13 year old Belfast boy from the Scout Troop Dr Fraser had founded. The child was characterised as having a drug problem and having had homosexual experience in order to mitigate Dr Fraser’s sexual offence against him. It works and the GMC don’t strike him off. [Child Psychiatrist’s ‘squalid act’ with boy, 18 July 1973, The Times, see excerpt below]
In August 1971 Dr Fraser stayed at a friend’s flat at no 6 St Augustine’s Mansions, Bloomberg Street, SW1 opposite The Gordon Hospital, between Victoria and Westminster, where he assaulted the 13 year old boy scout
“… a briefing provided by Army intelligence to the Information Policy unit at HQ Northern Ireland in 1973. It described a shadowy loyalist paramilitary group known as Tara and its leader:
The OC is William MCGRATH. He is a known homosexual who has conned many people into membership by threatening them with revealing homosexual activities which he himself initiated. He is a prominent figure in Unionist Party politics and in the Orange Order.
McGrath uses a non-existent evangelical mission as a front for his homosexual activities and also runs a home for children on the (236) Upper Newtonards Road, Belfast (Tel: B’fast 657838).
On the 8 November 1974, Colin Wallace wrote a memo highlighting the abuse of inmates at this hostel, the Kincora Boys’ Home. His conclusion, cited in Paul Foot’s book, was that the Army should seek to have matter investigated by the RUC and by responsible journalists, something that ultimately did not happen for another six years.
The earlier 1973 memo on Tara made no direct mention of child abuse, but it did include one largely un-noticed detail that may link Kincora to parallel scandals in Britain.
A handwritten annotation at the bottom of the document reads:
‘Ulster’s children of conflict’, New Society 15 April 1971. Dr M. Fraser? RVH “
“One of the first systematic studies of Belfast was conducted by Dr Morris Fraser, a child psychiatrist affiliated with the Royal Victoria Hospital there. Dr Fraser correlated the 1969 riots with the effects on mental health and found that there had been significant detrimental effects on both adults and children.” [Northern Ireland: Society Under Seige, Rona M. Fields, 1980 see below]
In 2007, this study was still being referred to authoritatively in the Counselling Psychology Review, Vol. 22, No. 3, 2007, without considering whether Dr Fraser’s access to those children studied means there is a possibility that their anxiety or stress could be situational in other ways.
1972 – Dr Morris Fraser: Senior Registrar, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, NBC Documentary broadcast, MRCPsych 1972, pleads guilty to sexual assault at Bow, London on 13 year old Belfast boy
In 1972 Dr Fraser had been featured in the documentary ‘Suffer the Little Children’ for NBC on effects of violence in young people, the work which formed the basis for Children in Conflict (published the same year as he appeared in court in NY) – a transcript of this programme is here –http://archives.nbclearn.com/portal/site/k-12/flatview?cuecard=65203 . By this year, he had become Senior Registrar in Psychiatry at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, and was also a cathedral organist.
In 1972 Dr Fraser pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a 13 year old boy and in 1973 is found of serious professional misconduct Gains MRCPsych qualification in 1972. Although the victim was a Belfast boy Dr Fraser was in London on a trip in 1971 when the assault took place, hence whey he had to appear at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court.
Northshield, R. (Reporter). (1972, January 11). Suffer the Little Children. [Television series episode]. NBC News. Retrieved from https://archives.nbclearn.com/portal/site/k-12/browse/?cuecard=65203
26 April 1972: Recently the Scottish-born psychiatrist, Dr Morris Fraser, after visits to Watts and Harlem concluded conditions were worse in some ways in Northern Ireland.” [House of Representatives, Congress, Extension of Remarks, April 26 1972]
What is not clear from the excerpts below (there is a missing middle page) is whether it is Senator Mario Biaggi referring to Dr Fraser in concluding paragraphs of his speech or whether the reference is contained in an article Mario Biaggi begins quoting from an article on the tragedy of Ulster by Francis B. McCaffrey.
17 May 1972: Dr Fraser pleaded guilty to indecent assault on the boy scout in August 1971 and was found guilty at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court.
22 May 1972: George Brehm arrested – Columbia Football Advisory Committee – charged with 41 counts ranging from sodomy to sexual abuse. Resident in Floral Park, Long Island, New York leading a ring of international child abusers “which preyed on young boys, some of whom lived in Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico”
23 May 1972: Lewd Film leads to indictment of 6 charged as sex deviants [The Bridgeport Post – a local Connecticut paper]
23 May 1972: 3 charged as sex deviate recruiters [Tri-City Herald / LA Times] – George Brehm and Angelo Riviezzo are both charged with being involved in the Nassau ring.
“They were among six persons indicted by a Nassau grand jury. Nassau Dist. Atty. William Cahn said the men were “involved in a national recruitment program of young boys for the purposes of deviate sexual conduct.”Cahn said that the men -about 15 of them — had bribed the boys to participate in “acts of sexual deviation.” Cahn said, “These men bribed the youngsters with very, very expensive gifts, clothing, bribed the families (of the boys) and inferred that they were members of the Big Brother movement since most of the boys were fatherless.”Big Brothers is a nationwide program designed to provide mature male companionship for fatherless young boys between the ages of 8 and 16 years. The organization, Cahn said, was not involved.Cahn said a three-month investigation by his office’s vice squad has revealed that about 15 adult males were involved with about 30 boys. He said that the men knew each other but were not led by any one individual.“The boys come from all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico,” Cahn said. “They were brought to Nassau County and elsewhere for the purposes of ‘schooling’ them in sexual deviate conduct and to get them to recruit other boys for the same purposes.”Cahn said that the ring was involved in activities in New York, Toronto , Pittsburgh, Acapulco and Los Angeles, and had been operation for about 10 years. Cahn said that a fourth member of the ring was arrested and indicted in Pittsburgh. Cahn said that the boys involved ranged in age from 8 to 17.Under the guise of working for the Big Brother program, the men were able to entice the youngsters to accompany them on trips to San Juan, Los Angeles, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Nassau and Suffolk, he said. The adult homosexuals would then “swap” them for local boys by members who maintained the ring in the various cities, Cahn said.Cahn added, “very few of these boys, if any, had any propensity for this kind of conduct before they met up with these men. In fact, in most instances, the boys objected and had to be bribed . . . before they consented to participate.”Arrested in Nassau were George W. Brehm, 49, of Floral Park, a salesman of school equipment, charged with 41 counts on a variety of morals charges; Russell Hoffman, 44, of Uniondale, an associate professor of English at Adelphi University, charged with one count of sexual abuse; and Angelo F. Riviezzo, 42, of Brooklyn, charged with third-degree sodomy.Brehm, married, and the father of three children was arraigned before Nassau County Court Judge Paul Kelly and was released in lieu of $10,000 bond. Hoffman, married, and the father of three, was released in lieu of $900 bail, and Riviezzo, who is single and works as a chemist for a New Jersey firm, was released on $1,000 bond.”
5 June 1972: Columbia Spectator ‘Football Committee Member Indicted on Sodomy Charges’ – George Brehm
8 June 1972: War in the head, The Guardian (see below) Dr Morris Fraser
October 1972: NBC Reports documentary ‘Suffer the little children’ is broadcast featuring Dr Fraser – full episode available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBMlUre2YNo
18 November 1972: Sandusky Register ‘Father who admitted recruiting boys for homosexuality sentenced’ Brehm pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years on Friday 17 November. Police are still seeking two alleged members of the ring and two others are still awaiting trial.
2 December 1972: Dr Fraser appears as a reference in an article ‘In Belfast: Tinsel, Tears & Hatred’ on the effects of the conflict on 8 and 10 year old children [New York Times below]
1973 – Long Island Trial, GMC finds Dr Fraser guilty of serious professional misconduct
29 March 1973: Harpers & Queen advertise their current edition as including an article by Morris Fraser
3 May – Dr Fraser returns to New York for the trial – both willingly and at his own expense…according to the Suffolk County prosecutor
4 May 1973: Child-psychiatrist, 7 others charged in sex abuse of 15 boys (Arizona Republic)
“British child-psychiatrist Morris Fraser, 39, and seven other men were indicted here yesterday on 27 counts of conspiracy, sodomy and sexual abuse involving 15 boys.
Fraser, who appeared on the widely acclaimed NBC television documentary, Suffer the Little Children, concerning the effects of war on the children of Northern Ireland, pleaded innocent to the charges in arraignment before Suffolk County Judge Pierre Lundberg.
Three other men also pleaded innocent, a fifth was in custody in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the remaining three men are at large, police said.
The Suffolk County grand jury indictment charged the men with befriending the alleged victims, some under 11 years of age, then committing sex acts with them at a home in West Islip, N.Y., between January 1970 and December 1971.
The indictment specified one count of conspiracy, 19 counts of sodomy and 7 counts of sexual abuse against each defendant.
Authorities said one of those indicted, Hal Oelke, 48, of Manhattan, was a former fund raiser for Big Brothers of New York, but left the post several years ago. The organization works with troubled youths.
Another defendant, George Brehm, 50, of Floral Park, N.Y., was accused of making a house available for the alleged sex activities — a summer home since resold.
Both Brehm and Oelke pleaded innocent to the charges as did a fourth defendant, George Rossman, 53, married and a father of three from New Haven, Conn.
Brehm currently is being held in Auburn State Prison after conviction on similar charges last year.
Sam Fierro, chief of the Suffolk County rackets bureau, said Fraser returned here “willingly and at his own expense” from the British Isles, where he is associated with the Royal Belfast hospital for Exceptional Children in Belfast.
He was released on his own recognizance after the arraignment to return to Belfast, pending trial at a date not yet set.
Oelke and Rossman were released on $2,000 bail each”
On 6th May in an article ‘Psychiatrist denies sex abuse charges’ (see right) Dr Fraser states to the New York Times “my innocence is beyond question.”
The 31 year old doctor, who said he had been suspended following the indictment from his $8,000 a year post as senior registrar in psychiatry at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, said: “I emphatically deny that I did anything other than act completely properly.
He said he had known two of the defendants and had seen one indulging in “minor acts” with two boys but had not reported it for professional reasons. He said that he had received assurances that treatment would be obtained for the man who had committed the acts.
“It looks very bad on the face of it,” Dr Fraser said, “But I only wanted to help these people, and I feel that all I did was my duty as a doctor to that one man.”
7 May 1973: The Times review Children in Conflict (below)
8 May 1973: Eight Charged in Homosexual International Ring on Long Island [Ogdensberg Journal] including a ‘British child psychiatrist’ and a ‘Canadian college instructor’
16 July 1973: First GMC Hearing for Dr Fraser [see FOI response ]
At some point during May Dr Fraser is suspended from his job at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast as senior psychiatric registrar. The General Medical Council are already aware of his conviction in 1972
10 May 1973: Review of Children in Conflict in The Guardian
27 May 1973: Review of Children in Conflict in The Observer
31 May 1973: New Scientist article refers to Dr Morris Fraser’s study showing that CS has exacerbated the mental illness of certain children dwelling amid the violence of Belfast (Children in Conflict: Secker and Warburg, 1973)
18 July 1973: Article in The Times titled Child Psychiatrist in Squalid Act with child – On 17th July Dr Fraser was before GMC on charge of serious professional misconduct.
4 August 1973: General Medical Council Disciplinary Committee decides to postpone deciding re Dr Fraser’s sexual assault of a 13 year old Belfast scout boy he took to London with him in August 1971
18 August 1973: The Observer, Ulster at School by Peter Wilby
25 October 1973
1974 – Pleads guilty to attempted sodomy with 3 boys in Suffolk County, living in Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim
Dr Fraser is listed in the Medical Directory for this year as living at 39 Whitehouse Park, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim
NEW YORK TIMES
March 1, 1974, Friday, p.61
Child psychiatrist Roderick Morris Fraser pleads guilty on Feb 28 to attempted sodomy with 3 boys (S).
He pleaded guilty to several charges in 1974, after having denied them in 1973 (during which time he was suspended from his post) though it is not clear what came of this. But he was able to continue practising. From around 1974 he was involved with PIE and wrote for them and other paedophile groups.
After pleading guilty in New York, within a fortnight Dr Fraser was back home to appear before the General Medical Council for a second time.
6 April 1974: General Medical Council Disciplinary Committee postponed hearing Dr Fraser’s case from 4 August 1973 until July 1974
14 March 1974: East Hampton Star, NY reported that a man “involved in the management of a homosexual ring dealing in young boys” was sentenced to five years probation on the condition he was seeking therapy and being perpetually banished from Suffolk County. The man (highly likely to be Parker Rossman) lived and worked in Connecticut as did Parker Rossman
Of the 4 hearings at the GMC only this one doesn’t appear to have a legal assessor
August 1974: Despite Dr Fraser pleading guilty to the Suffolk County charges in U.S. on 28 February 1974 for which he’d been suspended from Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast in 1973, the GMC Disciplinary Committee now postpones their decision re Dr Fraser almost a full further year to July 1975
15 September: Fear, Hate part of life for Belfast’s children, [Reading Eagle] – same article as published below – almost, no apparent material differences.
26 September 1974: Growing up in terror [ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ed Bianchi]
In July 1975 the GMC met with a 9-strong panel to decide Dr Fraser’s fate.
The Surgeon to the Queen in Scotland
Baroness Fisher – ex MP (Lab: Birmingham Ladywell 1970-74)
Chairman of the British Medical Association Sir Ronald Gibson (knighted in 1975 for his services to medicine in Winchester)
Walpole Sinclair Lewin, Consultant Neurological Surgeon, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge (Queen’s birthday honours in 1978) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1978_Birthday_Honours
The Legal Assessor during this final hearing was A. R. A. Beldam (now Privy Council member, Sir Roy Beldam, having been appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal 1989-2000)
15 July 1975: Child psychiatrist’s case discharged [The Guardian] Here referred to as Dr Roderick Morrison Fraser (as opposed to Morris).
The GMC, under Sir John Richardson decide that Dr Fraser’s conviction for sexually assaulting a 13 year old boy was “an isolated and squalid act”. Dr Fraser’s barrister, Adrian Whitfield, argues that Dr Fraser’s contributions to the peace effort in Northern Ireland mitigate for him and that if Dr Fraser was removed from the register the people of Northern Ireland would lose someone who was doing a lot of good at a critical time.
In 2007 Adrian Whitfield QC was awarded the AvMA 25th Anniversary award for outstanding contribution to patient safety and justice
From Ian Pace’s blog: In 1976, Fraser published The Death of Narcissus – a key text in a ‘paedophile canon’. It is an immensely pro-paedophile reading of classic literature – Carroll, Barrie, Henry James, and various others – which was regularly cited in paedophile magazines and other articles, and influenced a wide range of other articles and books. To this day, The Death of Narcissus , with its distorted cod-Freudianism, is cited approvingly in the introduction to the Penguin Modern Classics’ edition of James’s The Turn of the Screw.
Parker Rossman, Sexual Experience between Men and Boys: Exploring the Pederast Underground (New York: Association Press, 1976).
‘It may be that nature intended older males to tutor adolescent boys in sex, and unconscious or repressed pederast or homosexual tendencies are intended to stimulate an interest in such tutoring’ (p. 17).
The book was also reviewed by Ken Plummer in Gay News.
An important new blog article was posted by Tom Griffin on Tuesday (Tom Griffin, ‘From Kincora to PIE: Why the abuse inquiry needs access to intelligence documents’, August 5th, 2014), relating to recent reports concerning abuse at the Kincora Boys’ Home in Belfast, about which I earlier blogged here. In particular, Griffin’s article noted a mention in Paul Foot’s book Who Framed Colin Wallace? (London: Macmillan, 1989) of an article by Dr Morris Fraser (also known as Roderick Fraser), a child psychologist at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, who was also connected to the Paedophile Information Exchange and later to the Azimuth Trust, who was convicted of multiple offences against children in several countries (beginning in the early 1970s) and also had connections with the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) and various European paedophile groups. He nonetheless often appeared or was cited on the subject of the plight of children during the troubles in Northern Ireland, and was the author of and Children in Conflict (London: Secker & Warburg, 1973) and The Death of Narcissus (London: Secker & Warburg, 1976), the latter a sympathetic Freudian analysis of paedophile desire as represented in literature, which continues to be cited, for example, in the introduction by Anthony Curtis to the Penguin Modern Classics edition of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw and The Aspern Papers (London: Penguin Books, 1986) (see here for a sample). I will blog in more detail on Fraser at a later date; for now, I would recommend people read the Spotlight links given above, and in particular watch the following film about the Azimuth Trust.
9 June 1976: Violence in Ireland is the norm of life [The Hour, Donal O’Higgins]
13 January 1977: The Peter Pan Principle [The Guardian]
5 February 1977: The Times
6 February 1977: Paedophilia into art, The Observer
An interview with DW Nichols, author of Towards a Boy-Lovers Perspective by D Tsang published in U.S. publication: Midwest Gay Academic Journal, Volume 1, Issues 1-3 [Pages 11-21] Gay Academic Union, 1977
“The truth is that Rossman himself is very much a boy-lover, although he is married with grown children; he has been personally involved in the Boy-Lovers scene. In fact no one has devoted more of his adult life to studying the various lifestyles of various kinds of Boy Lovers, as well as searching out the literature on the theme, and gone into deep speculation on his findings, than has George Parker Rossman.” (p.20, D W Nicholson in interview, see George Parker Rossman aka Jonathan Drake blog post here)
6 March 1977: The year Dr Fraser published The Death of Narcissus he was on Songs of Praise, BBC 1 as the church organist for the televised church service in the East End of London, St John at Hackney, Lower Clapton Road, E5
3 May 1977: Children of War [Boca Raton News]
1978 – Senior Registrar at hospitals in Whitechapel, East London and Goodmayes, Essex
When does Dr Morris Fraser make the move to London? During or after the publication of The Death of Narcissus and as a result of the GMC’s decision to limit his practice to geriatric focus?
17 February 1978 – New Statesman – Fraser is credited as Senior Registrar in Psychiatry at the London Hospital (later renamed Royal London Hospital after QEII’s visit in 1980 in Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets) and Goodmayes Hospital, Essex
“Or what of photographers like the Victorian Frank Sutcliffe, and the Royal Family of the time, who admired and purchased his work, in particular his famous The Water Rats of 1886? Already this week a Mr Edward Brinicombe has taken a chain-saw to the Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus ‘as a protest against child pornography.’ Perhaps next week will see a high-minded chiseller at work on the facade of Broadcasting House.”
Edward VII, while Prince of Wales, was the purchaser of The Water Rats. Eric Gill was the “high-minded chiseller” and the sculpture referred to is that of Ariel and Prospero
Can the art of a paedophile be celebrated? – BBC News [5 September 2007]
12 October 1978: Dr Morris Fraser appears on BBC R4’s Kaleidoscope talking about the new play ‘Lost Boys’ on J.M. Barrie
“The form of the child-adult encounter, so very often idealised by writers, is almost too painfully authentic here – too horribly real, yet depicted so beautifully. The Lost Boys has that rare virtue of blending truth with exquisite taste and perception.”
19 October 1978 – Dr Fraser writes on article on the Barrie trilogy for New Society, a weekly publication. New Society was launched after the New Scientist by the same publishers.
1979 – Moves to London, England, Navarino Road, Dalston/Hackney, E8
The Medical Directory London, Provinces, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Abroad, Navy, Army & Air Force, Volume 135, Part 1, lists Dr Fraser’s address as 35 Navarino Road, E8, Hackney London
It’s unclear whether Dr Fraser starts working at University College Hospital immediately but by 1982 the Medical Directory lists him as working there as a Consultant psychiatrist.
1980 – MD. Belfast 1980
Publishes PhD from Queen’s University Belfast? A Comparative Trial of Unilateral and Bilateral Electroconvulsive Therapy in Elderly Patients
1981 – Perspective on Paedophilia published
It is worth reading the entire chapter Fraser wrote for this publication [ Many thanks to Ian Pace: link to pdf chapter here Morris Fraser – The Child ] but below are some excerpts – bear in mind that Fraser’s studies on children were about the effects of stress…
Here, at p. 50 – 51 Dr Morris Fraser describes providing psychiatric support to ‘John’, 25, son of diplomatic parents, born in Italy, whose aunt, a Justice of the Peace and “in public life” refers her nephew to Fraser for treatment.
2 August 1981 – ‘Ulster’s Lost Generation’ (New York Times) – Excerpt below re Morris Fraser:
“Psychologists say that a chief reason for emotional disturbance in children is a sense of not belonging, of not fitting into their community. The children who have grown up throwing stones in riots, facing the common foe in the shape of a soldier or a policeman, belong. They may have given up regular church attendance, a major break with tradition in this very religious land, limiting themselves to attending funerals. They may have made aggression, in the words of the psychiatrist Morris Fraser, their ”major means of dealing with all problems.” But in the opinion of some authorities, they have found a way to deal with their world that produces a minimum of mental illness – considerably less, for example, than in many of the ghettos of the United States.
Those parents whose children have not yet become hoods devise their own strategies. ”Yes, I am keeping him at home,” one mother told a school psychologist who was investigating her son’s truancy. ”I know where he is when he is at home. He is not with the I.R.A., he is not hijacking cars, he is not playing in derelict buildings. He is watching television, and I have a fire, and he is warm.”
The daughter of the house is not really part of the drama. The sexes keep to their traditional roles in Northern Ireland: Women have the entire responsibility of raising a family. No man ever does the laundry, makes the dinner or goes to the grocery. Men drink, gamble, steal, go off to jail, or get involved in paramilitary groups. The wives are left behind to cope.
What the visitor to Northern Ireland finds most amazing is that very capacity to cope. Tony Spencer, a member of the Belfast school board and professor of sociology at Queen’s University, puts it this way:
”Everyone has adapted very well. There are certain areas people will not go into, certain things they will not do, but that is no different from the United States. The paramilitaries have adapted. The security forces have adapted -the death rate is far higher in Germany on the autobahn, and the training the troops get here is excellent. The fire service has adapted: We have people from all over the world coming to look at it to see how it works. Medicine has adapted: We have doctors coming from all over to study the way we deal with high-velocity gunshot wounds. Public administration has been strained, but it has adapted, and you haven’t seen anything approaching the breakdown you saw in Italy during the earthquake, for example. The political system goes on, after a fashion. Unemployment is bad, but lower than in Latin American states. The milk keeps arriving in the morning. The bread is in the shops everyday. We can go on like this indefinitely, for generations.”
Consultant Psychiatrist at University College Hospital – papers on acute situational stress in adults and children
24 – 27th March 1983: Dr Fraser submits (and/or attends?) a Symposium held in Finland on Children and War. He is resident at 4 Northchurch Road, Islington already by this stage.
1985 – Advertorials for Boating Trips
Dr Morris writes an article for Society at Work extolling the virtues of independent living for children on the boat holidays.
13th May – date of alleged assault from Islington Gazette Two face child porn charges
In 1987 Cornwall County Council ran a hearing/internal inquiry into Michael Johnson (later partnered with Dr Morris Fraser in the Azimuth Trust) and was given a warning for striking a boy on a boat trip but sexual allegations were found to be unproved. “The Council is to publish the findings and recommendations of its inquiry”. See below.
1988 – Founder of the Azimuth Trust, linked to Ecole en Bateau
He founded the Azimuth Trust in 1988, linked to Ecole en Bateau, a French paedophile group founded in 1969 by Leonid Kameneff (who was sentenced to 12 years for rape and sexual assault of children in 1988); Fraser also travelled to abuse children in other countries, including Turkey, Holland and Denmark. In 1989 the Sunday Mirror (23 July 1989) reported that former BBC Northern Ireland correspondent Clifford Luton was also linked to the Azimuth Trust and investigated, but no charges were brought.
In July 1988, astonishingly (and tragically), Dr Morris Fraser was being thanked for providing input into a study by two psychiatrists looking into the ‘Attitudes of general psychiatrists to child sexual abuse’. Regarding victim blaming the study found that
“no female psychiatrists believed that the sexually abused child provoked the abuse through being attractive and seductive, but 23% of the male psychiatrists did”
1990 – Living in Northchurch Terrace, Islington
By now Dr Fraser is living at Northchurch Terrace, Islington
25 January 1990: Two face child porn charges – appeared at Bow Street magistrates on Protection of Children Act 1978 charges. Morris’s co-defendant is Nicholas Reynolds, St. Briavens, Gloucestershire
In November 2011, Keir Mudie wrote an article in the Daily Mirror stating a Dr Malcolm Fraser had given a reference in 1990 when he applied to have the List 99 ban relaxed and cites this Dr Fraser as having been convicted for possessing indecent images of children and that his 1992 conviction led to Dr Fraser finally being struck off. 20 odd years after the General Medical Council had deemed he should only work in Gerontological medicine with old people.
1993 – Working at Royal South Hampshire Hospital
Yet in August 1993, he was able to find work again at the Royal South Hampshire Hospital. He was arrested again in March 1994 and then fled to Amsterdam. Fraser was also linked to Andrew Sadler, a prep school teacher, who was jailed for abusing children in Romania.
“The Sunday Express reports that a convicted paedophile tricked his way into a top job at a hospital despite a string of crimes against children. The scandal came to light when the trust that runs the hospital was tipped off about Dr Roderick Fraser’s 20-year history of child sex abuse. He was working as a consultant psychiatrist at the Royal South Hampshire Hospital in Southampton only a year after release from prison for peddling paedophile material.”
March/April 1994: Arrested by Hampshire police, now in Amsterdam
Psychiatrist was abuser
30 May 1994
The Medical Directory 1994 had Dr R.M. Fraser listed as an employee in Psychogeriatrics [see above 1988 for Dr Fraser’s input into colleague J(oy) Dalton’s study into attitudes of psychiatrists to sexual abuse of children]
14 July 1995: Tougher measures to root out child abusers [The Glasgow Herald, Sarah Nelson] on the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill on sex tourism
TODAY a little-publicised Bill — successfully piloted through the Upper House by Lord Hylton — is due for its crucial second reading in the Commons. The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill would enable UK courts to try UK citizens for crimes committed against children abroad.
This Bill would not only help protect many desperately vulnerable children in poor countries, such as Thailand, from exploitation by child abusers, heterosexual and homosexual, who regularly go to the Third World for foreign holidays or “volunteer” work. It would help British police forces build up dossiers against abusers also likely to be active in the UK.
A recent Christian Aid report on tourism and child prostitution in the Third World found a high proportion of ”sex tourists” were British, and that in the Philippines and Sri Lanka were one of the main groups of men deported for sexual abuse against children.
Such men “have also turned to computer networks to spread information about sex tourism and child prostitutes. The ‘information superhighway’ offers these men a new opportunity to circumvent international and national legislation . . .” The report called on the British Government to prosecute companies, as well as individuals, who promote sex tourism involving children.
But the Government is going to block this Bill today, saying it is unworkable in practice — even though Australia, New Zealand and several European countries already operate similar laws. (For instance, there have been successful prosecutions in Sweden.) Home Secretary Michael Howard has promised “an urgent review” of the law, but campaigners believe this does not go far enough.
Vocal lobbying for the measures in this Bill would be one way concerned people in all parties could take forward positively issues such as the recent, highly -charged and publicised debate about actor Eric Cullen’s jail sentence on indecency charges.
The usual criticism of disputed child abuse cases is that individual young people’s rights and needs are swept beneath the waves of grand principles and general causes. In the “Wee Burney” debate, the needs of one individual and the anger of his supporters submerged major issues, and many other vulnerable people.
Even the basic point that indecent photography is itself a form of child abuse seemed to be lost. Some deeply committed journalists ended up making highly distasteful personal attacks on other journalists. And when one said this nine -month sentence was the greatest miscarriage of justice he had known in 20 years, the affront to the Guildford Four, Birmingham Six, Judith Ward or indeed George Beattie and Emma Humphreys seemed as painful as it was embarrassing.
Of course, sentencing is an important issue. So is the very complex relationship between victimising and being a victim. If a sentence was appropriate, there were more constructive, imaginative ones than prison. But we need to go much further back than this.
The most crucial, glaring question to act upon, which many people forgot to ask (though to be fair to Cullen, his own statements would prompt it) was why on earth the paedophile Frank Currens was able to abuse and intimidate countless children for 18 years, without children feeling free to tell, without those who did so being believed, and without other adults noticing.
Those of us unfortunate enough to have stared into the cesspit of child sex abuse know something of the costs people like Currens inflict. We know of many children, teenagers and adults who have killed themselves, or tried many times, or are repeatedly tormented with suicidal thoughts; finding no-one to keep a 24 -hour watch or even to diagnose their problems. Surely all are equally deserving of our care.
Hardly a week passes without press reports of Currens-type scandals — of residential school heads, priests, ministers or other respected authority figures finally convicted after decades of abuse against children in their care. Yet we never seem to learn the obvious lessons.
Instead, children’s court evidence is repeatedly thrown out as untrustworthy. Young children, as in Sheriff Miller’s Ayrshire judgment, are branded “devious and manipulative”, while millions of pounds and staff-hours are spent in trying to make children’s evidence more “reliable” to adults — whatever the trauma to young people.
In contrast, desperately under-resourced police units can’t even view thousands of seized child porn videos, let along follow up clues from films which have already enabled them to arrest several abusive rings.
Recently the director of the National Criminal Intelligence Service, Britain’s main police intelligence-gathering organisation, publicly demanded more resources and legal teeth to extend its heavily restricted work. In the past year, it received about 350 incoming intelligence reports on paedophiles.
Many well-meaning people in senior jobs also need to search their consciences about the freedom allowed to child abusers over decades. All those second chances, given people thought to have made one foolish mistake; when more often they’ve spent their lives accumulating victims, unspeakable videos and photographs, or intimately detailed diaries.
Some months ago I was astonished to see, featured on a TV documentary about leading “childcare expert” Peter Righton, reminders of the paedophile activities of Dr Morris Fraser. Because it shot me back 22 years to when Fraser’s conviction for child offences caused shock-waves in Belfast. Thousands of people heard of it. For the dapper, boyish figure in a smart blazer was one of Ulster’s best-known child psychiatrists, research writers and conference -speakers on the effects of “The Troubles” on children.
How many jobs had he moved to subsequently, how many references from respected people had failed to mention his history? This was just one example among many. I think it should be made an offence for any referee to conceal their knowledge of a job applicant’s history of risk to children.
Meantime, another new move will challenge organisations including churches to begin taking real steps to make young people safer from the minority of abusers who deliberately target work with vulnerable youngsters.
Supported by the Scottish Office, Volunteer Development Scotland have just published Protecting Children; a code of good practice for voluntary organisations working with children and young people.
It asks them for a bit of effort and commitment — like planning the organisation’s work so as to minimise situations where child abuse can happen, rigorously scrutinising recruitment, and having an independent complaints system. But protecting young people and taking their integrity seriously is surely worth such effort and inconvenience. Then there may be fewer “Wee Burneys” who, later in life, have such traumatic secret histories to reveal.”
Paedophile still working as doctor
26 Nov 1995: Regional News: p9
10 January 1996: Paedophiles infiltrate care homes, The Pioneer, Lucknow
20 July 2000Why sex offenders who prey on the young are incurable; ‘THE AVERAGE ABUSER WILL HAVE OFFENDED AGAINST 200 CHILDREN BEFORE BEING
BYLINE: Eileen Fairweather
SECTION: Pg. 17
LENGTH: 904 words
ANYONE hardened enough to kidnap and kill a young child will almost certainly be a career paedophile with a string of lesser offences, such as “flashing”, which has gradually escalated to indecent assaults then worse.
The one thing I’d bet on given this country’s attitude to men who hurt children and a tradition of light sentences is that, somewhere along the way, he will have been shown a mercy he did not deserve.
I have yet to meet an expert in this field who believes the condition is curable. It is an addiction, manageable at best.
Ray Wyre, founder of the Gracewell Clinic for sex offenders, estimates that the average abuser will have offended against 200 children before being prosecuted. He believes paedophiles will always be dangerous, and the best one can hope for – given few are locked up for life – is to teach behaviour modification techniques.
Maureen Carson, a leading NSPCC abuse investigator who works closely with police, believes in most cases “once a paedophile always a paedophile”, and is not even optimistic about therapy’s effectiveness. One of her cases involved four men in the South-East who, between abusing young London boys, founded a charity for Romanian orphans.
They thought up this way to access yet more vulnerable children when they met on a paedophiles’ counselling course in Grendon prison.
They told investigators their charity work was to “repay their debt to children”.
Did these men truly believe that? Probably. Paedophiles are thought incurable due to their sheer level of self-delusion. They believe children want them, “provoke” them, and that adult-child sex is natural, harmless, beneficial.
The now disgraced former top childcare consultant Peter Righton openly wrote that sexual attraction to children was no more mysterious “than a penchant for redheads”.
His friend, child psychiatrist Dr Morris Fraser, argued in the same book that children effectively invite sex with adults.
The self serving, self justifying attitudes of these highly educated men also typifies those of less articulate paedophiles. True remorse and insight are so rare that experts have developed a diagram to teach investigators how paedophiles operate psychologically. Remorse is a tiny part.
The sudden snatching of a child is rare: many paedophiles devote months to the four stages of their addiction cycle. They “target” a future victim; “groom” the victim (ie gaining trust); commit the abuse; and some momentarily experience remorse.
This may be provoked by a child’s tears or their own arrest: suicides are more likely among paedophiles than other offenders questioned by police.
Investigators know they have only a brief period to break a paedophile’s well-established psychological defences.
Why is paedophilia a recidivist crime? A child protection officer once wearily told me she saw it as “like being heterosexual or gay – something that’s basic to their personality, imprinted, unchangeable”.
Some studies suggest that being a victim of sexual abuse in childhood can predispose one to becoming an abuser.
Fred and Rosemary West, who both grew up in abusive homes, fatally bear that out.
But it is a theory that, understandably, infuriates the many adult survivors of abuse who would rather die than see a child suffer as they did.
THE simple answer is that even the experts do not really know why paedophiles are repeat offenders: just that they are and society must respond accordingly. Burglars can reform, paedophiles can not.
Yet acceptance of the incur-ability of paedophiles does not seem to have filtered through to the judiciary, the Home Office and those in charge of children’s organisations. The stories break with monotonous regularity: another boy scout leader imprisoned here, another residential social worker found guilty there.
Invariably, a long history of hurting children emerges – a history that those higher up in the hierarchy covered up because they felt “sorry” for him and believed his claim that it wouldn’t happen again.
Take the horribly misnamed Roger Saint, imprisoned for abusing several children during the North Wales children’s homes scandal. He rose to become head of Clwyd’s fostering and adoption panel despite a known previous conviction for indecently assaulting a 14-year-old boy (he claimed this was an aberration committed while “depressed”).
Or consider Dr Morris Fraser: this child pornographer and abuser was only recently struck off by the British Medical Association, after his third conviction. The BMA continued endorsing Fraser because he switched to work with old people. He then used his respectability as a doctor to set up a registered sailing charity so children could be molested at sea.
Catholic leader Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O’Connor yesterday agreed to pay compensation to victims of Father Michael Hill, now serving a five year prison sentence.
The Church moved him to the chaplaincy of Gatwick Airport; presumably believed “safer”. One of his subsequent victims was a child who missed his flight.
It is tragic that so many in authority fall for paedophiles’ fake contrition. I’ve interviewed many and know how plausible they can be. But paedophiles who sincerely want not to offend again don’t beg to retain positions of responsibility. Do recovering alcoholics seek work in breweries?
No they know to avoid temptation.”
The article that first prompted me to read George Carman’s biography:
How my father may have helped Jimmy Savile escape justice (The Observer, Sunday 14 October 2012, Dominic Carman) – The son of George Carman QC recalls the powerful effect he had on newspaper groups and points out Savile retained Carman in 1992 in another matter, so that when Paul Connew of The Sunday Mirror wanted to publish a photo of Savile at Haut de la Garenne children’s home, Jersey, newspapers were aware of who they might be up against and what their odds of winning would be:
“Roy Greenslade’s blog last Wednesday reported that Paul Connew, when editor of the Sunday Mirror in 1994, did have “credible and convincing” evidence from two women who claimed that Jimmy Savile had been guilty of abusing them at a children’s home. Though “totally and utterly convinced” they were telling the truth, the paper’s lawyers, after a careful assessment, decided it wasn’t strong enough to risk publication. The risk was libel and the substantial costs and damages that the newspaper could face should they lose a subsequent high court case from the litigious Savile. To the in-house lawyers at Mirror Group, the risk seemed too great. Connew went further in talking about his guilt relating to this onNewsnight last Thursday. But there is perhaps another angle to the story.
In 1992, my father, George Carman QC, had been retained by Savile’s lawyers over a different matter, which never reached court. By 1994, the name Carman, and what he could do in cross-examination, put such fear into the minds of litigants, lawyers and editors that libel cases were settled and, in some circumstances, perhaps stories were not published. Savile may have been one of those. As an indication of Carman’s universal demand, and the respect he instilled, one has to look no further than theGuardian itself. In 1995, the editor, Alan Rusbridger, when faced with a libel action from Jonathan Aitken said: “We’d better get Carman – before Aitken gets him.” They did and Aitken lost.”
There’s three points of interest I noted so far from Dominic Carman’s biography of his father published 12 years ago
1. November 1982: Carman defended Geoffrey Prime, a KGB spy (Spotlight on Abuse: Geoffrey Prime, PIE member)
2. July 1983: Carman also defended Peter Adamson, better known as Len Fairclough from Coronation Street, lover of Pat Phoenix
3. During the 1970s George Carman was standing counsel to the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, James Anderon (p.78) a connection he tries to use when caught drink driving during the Thorpe trial in November 1978 although to no avail – Carman is fined £150 and banned from driving for a year!
1. Carman and Prime
“By contrast, the next high-profile client caused him disgust and revulsion in equal measure. Geoffrey Prim was a Russian-speaking civil servant charged with spying. At Cheltenham GCHQ Britain’s secret communications headquarters, he spied on behalf of the KGB for fourteen years, handing over hugely damaging information on the entire NATO security operation in Europe. As if that was not bad enough, he was also a paedophile with detailed card-index files of little girls in the Cheltenham and Gloucester area. Additional charges were brough of indecent assault against three schoolgirls. Perveted sexual activity may have made Prime a target for the Russians. But this is purely conjecture.” [p.112 below]
The Press and the People: … Annual Report of the Press Council, Volume 26
Press Council, 1982
Spy’s complaint not upheld
A complaint by convicted spy Geoffrey Prime that the News Of The World made false allegations against him and declined to correct them was rejected.
Alex Marunchak had said Mr Prime, jailed for 38 years, was originally arrested for sexual offences against young girls. He had made many espionage contacts through a child-sex network in Britain and America. Police feared he may have used these to blackmail prominent people in all walks of life.
Using the alias Jacques DuGay he had joined NAMBLA. a North American association closely linked with the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) in Britain. US police confirmed he contacted other perverts through NAMBLA and may have blackmailed top people into supplying information. Security chiefs feared the KGB would continue blackmailing his contacts.
Mr Prime’s solicitors told the editor it was untrue that Mr Prime belonged to or had contact with NAMBLA or PIE, that he blackmailed people or gave the KGB information for blackmailing, that he had espionage contacts, and that he ever used the name Jacques DuGay. They asked for a published retraction.
Mr Henry Douglas, legal manager, replied that following a tip-off by a Scotland Yard contact the News Of The World spoke to other police in Los Angeles and New Jersey and learnt that after police raids on NAMBLA members’ homes Mr Prime’s name and alias were very familiar to them in a list of UK paedophiles. The newspaper carefully checked with British police sources and would not publish a retraction.
Adjudication: The News Of The World has told the complainant’s solicitors and the Press Council of the steps it took to verify with American and British sources the allegations it published about the complainant Mr Geoffrey Prime, following his conviction. In the Press Council’s view the newspaper did as much research as it could before publishing its detailed story. Despite their view that the allegations about Mr Prime were fanciful and inconsistent with the known facts, his solicitors have failed to satisfy the Press Council that the allegations were false. The complaint against the News Of The World is, therefore, not upheld. (U9823-1983).
Annual Report of the Press Council, Volumes 29-31
Press Council, 1982/1983
Attorney General’s complaint upheld
The Sun produced no evidence for its allegation that at the trial of the spy Geoffrey Prime the attorney General, Sir Michael Havers, held back mention of the accused man’s involvement with a child-sex organisation to avoid embarrassing security chiefs, Council said when upholding Sir Michael’s complaint that the editor refused to withdraw this false allegation and declared that the editor should either have substantiated or withdrawn it.
Brian Dixon had reported that Prime’s perverse obsession with little girls, which laid him open to blackmail, was not discovered by the security services. Papers found at his home showed he belonged to a child-sex organisation, Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), but no evidence about the find was given at his Old Bailey trial. US spymasters were furious and could not understand how British vetters did not discover Prime’s peculiarities. They were convinced the Attorney General did not mention the involvement with PIE to save embarrassing British security chiefs.
For the Attorney General, Mr J. Nursaw, complained to the editor, Mr Kelvin MacKenzie, that Sir Michael knew of no evidence connecting Mr Prime with PIE, and the Director of Public Prosecutions had assured him police found none. The Attorney General sought a prominent correction as soon as possible. Mr MacKensie replied that Mr Dixon stood by every word. His source was a senior police officer. One of the magazines found at Mr Prime’s home was sold only to PIE members. He would not run a correction but would write to Sir Michael.
Adjudication: The Sun’s story about the background of the spy Geoffrey Prime was written by a reporter of long experience and high reputation, Mr Brian Dixon. He has provided the Council with a detailed statement of what proved to be true – background information about Mr Prime which he gathered from a long established but unnamed contact. Mr Dixon has said that the contact also told him police found two Paedophile Information Exchange magazines at Mr Prime’s home. The magazines were later mentioned to the reporter by a senior London police officer, also unnamed, and another anonymous police contact said the Americans had expected Mr Prime’s involvement with a child-sex cult to come out at his trial.
Mr James Nursaw was the legal secretary to the Law Officers’ Department at the time – is this a role of legal adviser to the Attorney-General? I guess the buck has to stop somewhere. Else. With a civil servant. As usual. Interesting question I’d never considered before: ‘Who advises the lawyer who advises the Attorney-General who advises the government of the law?’
2. Carman defends Adamson
In July 1983 George Carman defended Peter Adamson, a 53 year old actor who had played Len Fairclough in Coronation Street almost from its inception in the early 1960s. Despite eye witness accounts from two police officers who saw the assaults with their own eyes, on site due to the fact Adamson made a regular habit of Saturday morning sessions at Haslingdean swimming pool, near Blackburn Lancashire. Carman was able to point out that 80 out of the 82 words of their descriptions of Adamson’s assault in their notebooks were the same calling the evidence ‘incestuously identical’. Getting Adamson off the hook sealed Carman’s reputation as the Great Defender and in 1988 Adamson added to that reputation by confessing his guilt to The Sun in a front page exclusive.
Compare and Contrast the Wikipedia entry on Adamson’s alleged assault and subsequent(who passed away in 2002):
On 24 April 1983, a Sunday newspaper reported that Adamson had been arrested for indecently assaulting two eight-year old girls in a public swimming pool in Haslingdenwhere he had assisted as a part-time instructor. One was allegedly assaulted the day before, the other on 16 April. The police complaint alleged that Adamson’s hands had strayed while giving the girls swimming lessons.
He was represented by the barrister George Carman QC, who had a prominent career defending celebrities. On 26 July 1983, a Crown Court jury found Adamson not guilty. The following year, after his wife’s death and still suffering financial woes and drinking problems, he was allegedly persuaded by freelance Sun reporter Dan Slater to change his story following several bottles of whisky. Adamson was alleged to have told Slater “I am totally guilty of everything the police said”….”But what I hope you will print – there was no sexual intent.”
As a result, Lincolnshire Police interviewed Adamson who categorically denied the confession. No charges were made against him.”
In February 1983, Adamson was suspended from Coronation Street after selling stories about the show and cast to a tabloid newspaper. Following his arrest for alleged indecent assault in April 1983, Granada Television decided not to support him financially through his legal problems. Although he was cleared of the charge in July, he was sacked from Coronation Street by producer Bill Podmore on 26 August 1983 for breach of contract when it was discovered Adamson had sold his memoirs for £70,000 afterthe previous warning, in order to pay the £120,000 legal debts from his trial.
Although his last actual appearance in the series was shown in May 1983 (which had been filmed before his suspension), Len Fairclough was killed off-screen in a motorway crash in December 1983. To demonise the character, it was revealed that he had been returning home from an affair, cheating on wife Rita (Barbara Knox).
Daily Mail – Street’s shamed Len Fairclough dies
Well said by Ian Pace. Must be read and understood also in the context of Exaro’s recent story that the police have information potentially relating to 180 charges form 80 victims/witnesses that they now feel unable to pass onto the CPS to decide whether to prosecute or not…for fear of a media feeding frenzy. If we can’t get a CSA Inquiry that restores faith in the rule of law and demonstrates that the police and the CPS are capable, willing and able to apply due process regardless of the size of reputation of the accused, what do we have left of a criminal justice system for all? Water cannons?
On Friday, September 5th, 2014, the Lord Mayor of London, Fiona Woolf, was appointed by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to be chair of the forthcoming inquiry into child abuse. Within a few hours of the announcement, Twitter was full of information concerning Woolf’s closeness to former home secretary Leon Brittan (now Lord Brittan), in particular the fact that the two worked closely together for the lobbying organisation TheCityUK, for which Woolf is the President of the Advisory Council, on which Brittan sits (here I wish to give credit to Daniel de Simone, who was I believe the first person to find this connection, which was subsequently tweeted by various people), and also the fact that she was one of just five patrons of the Association of Women Solicitors, another of whom is Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman.
Both of these individuals are extremely important in terms of…
View original post 1,681 more words
In trying to catch as many glimpses of Savile through the eyes (and words) of others, fate and as much as £4 brought The Story of Henlow Grange and I together. Addressed to Barbara and Scott it appears in a twist Fanny Carby (more on her and Pat Phoenix and Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop soon – it’s an important East-West London link) would no doubt appreciate, I may have inherited Barbara Windsor’s signed copy.
As with Savile and his connections to Cragg Vale and St John’s In The Wilderness, Henlow Grange was another favoured location steeped in history to stop off at while constantly touring the country. Henlow Grange Beauty Farm (now Champneys Henlow Grange) in East Bedfordshire, connected to Savile since it first opened its doors as a Britain’s much trumpeted <second> Beauty Farm in the early 1960s, after Leida Costigan’s first attempt at Pelham Lodge, Knebworth.
Published in 2009, two years prior to Dorothy Purdew’s own autobiography The Long Road to Champneys (2011), Purdew’s first book The History of Henlow Grange is a fascinating one and the author does well to make the place come alive.
Savile described his 40 year connections with Henlow Grange in The Story of Henlow Grange, praising the “tenants” for making it such a great place to de-stress:
“I first got involved with Henlow before the Purdews when I was invited by Leida (Costigan) to go down because they liked the idea of free publicity! Oh my goodness, it was a wonderful time! I went there three of four times and got on well with both of them – her husband designed aircraft, you know. Then the Purdew family came along and we kept it going from there. It’s been a sort of unbroken chain for about forty years. I’m the kind of fella who’s relaxed anyway but Henlow makes me even more relaxed. The grounds are terrific and so is the house and the food.
I don’t have any treatments because I’m not in a beauty competition – I don’t even swim there. The main exercise I do is put on my coat to go outside and have a cigar. I like running there because it’s nice and flat. Where I live in Yorkshire is hilly.
Most of the guests recognise me. Yes, of course I have some funny stories about that but not ones you could put in a book. I did get one woman who said, “I wrote to you twenty years ago on Jim’ll Fix It and I never got a reply.” I said, “That’s because you didn’t enclose an SAE.”
I usually go down once a year for a special occasion. The Purdews are very warm and welcoming unless you smoke cigars! They’re great “tenants” of the building because they’ve made it such a wonderful experience for anyone who is stressed.”
As it happens, Joe Costigan (or Fred, F.J.), the owner of Henlow Grange during 1961-1981 was a lot more than ‘an aircraft designer’ despite the title of his autobiography Adventures of an Aircraft Designer. From 1957-1966 the owner of Henlow Grange, Joe Costigan was the Chief Designer of Air to Air Guided Weapons at de Havilland nearby. In 1980, aged about 68 and just before selling Henlow Grange to the Purdews, Joe writes his autobiography before leaving. He was very ill at the time having suffered two heart attacks and Dorothy Purdew is concerned Leida might be expecting her and her husband, Bob Purdew, as the new owners to inherit Joe who is resident at Henlow Grange while Leida is at a new spa in Malaga!
Was it a special occasion in particular Savile went to Henlow Grange each year, as in an annual event? The Henlow Church fete each year appears to be quite important to Savile and possibly, very specifically, the return of the Llanthony Canons to St Mary’s Henlow Church due to the fact that it had remained an Anglican church since the reformation having suffered dissolution and so this was possibly viewed as symbolic of a piece of Roman Catholic history visiting an old home? I didn’t manage to watch the recent Champneys TV programme to find out if the Savile wing remains named the Savile wing, possibly not:
SIR Jimmy Savile’s posthumous disgrace will not stop the dead DJ’s name being commemorated at health spa Champneys. Owner Stephen Purdew named an entire bedroom block at his Henlow Grange resort after him.
Despite the allegations of sexual abuse against the former TV presenter, Purdew remains loyal to Savile. He tells me: ‘Jimmy was a very dear friend and he is not here to defend himself. He was never charged or convicted and the accusations go back to 1969.
‘I simply can’t believe he was so powerful and intimidating that he could prevent this sort of thing coming out in his lifetime.
‘I shall be keeping his name over the bedroom block, whatever people like Esther Rantzen say.’ [Sir Jimmy’s posthumous disgrace, Daily Mail, Richard Kay, 3 October 2012]
Chronology of Henlow Grange
Four books cover the history of Henlow Grange, two by former owner Joe Costigan and two by Dorothy Purdew. The majority of the information below is sourced from one of the books listed below.
- Adventures of an Aircraft Designer, F J Costigan (1980) [AAD]
- Leida and her Beauty Farm, F J Costigan ( ) [LBF]
- The Story of Henlow Grange, D Purdew (2009) [TSHG]
- The Long Road to Champneys, D Purdew (2011) [LRC]
In 1980 FJ Costigan, Joe, (or Fred according to Dorothy Purdew), published an autobiography called “Adventures of an Aircraft Designer” published by a local firm called Cortney Publications, 95 – 115 Windmill Road, Luton, Beds, LU1 3XS
In his Acknowledgements Joe Costigan states:
“I wish to express my warmest thanks and appreciation to all who have helped me to write this book, especially to my dear wife Leida, who has encouraged me and ‘tolerated’ my frequent absences from home whilst on my travels; to my sister Constance in Long Island, New York, who is my chief critic; to Nursing Sister Thompson, who worked in Singapore and West Germany and helped with my geography, and spelling! and recently nursed me through two heart attacks; and to Dr W.G. Baker of Edinburgh University, now retired, but who was a lecturer in English Literature, and has spent much time in correcting my phraseology, and grammar!
I am also grateful to ‘Flight Magazine’ for most of the illustrations; to Flight Lieutenant Finding of R.A.F. Henlow, for Security clearance; to the Librarian of the R.A.F. Museum at Hendon; and to my typists for their hard work – and their patience. The assistance of my Publishers, Cortney Publications has been greatly appreciated.”
1912: F Joseph Costigan born on 23rd December at a house in Tadmor Street in North Hammersmith, London. Joe is the only son of the family, with 5 sisters, Constance (‘Connie’) Costigan being his eldest sister, two more older sisters Dorothy, Esme and two younger sisters (Marian and Joan). His father was of Irish extraction, his grandfather lived and worked as a saddle-maker in Dublin for most of his life and then moved to Birmingham to carry on his work and raised 11 children with Joe’s grandmother.
Joe’s father becomes a prominent pioneering motor engineer living and working around Birmingham, Coventry and London. His father once held the land speed record of 60 mph “over a straight piece of road between London and Birmingham, wearing goggles, a flat peaked cap turned back to front and the car windscreen removed to reduce the wind resistance” (AAD p1)
[comment: The use of angles in problem-solving is demonstrated by Costigan’s pages of engineering diagrams showing various problems he solved in his career designing aircraft which is contained in an Appendix to the book – will post these to the bottom of the page shortly]
1914: WWI starts. Costigan’s father leaves the employ Mercedes.
“Then Major Gordon Watney offered him the post of General Manager of his firm, Weybridge Motor Engineering Company, a large engineering works near Addleston, which specialised in the complete strip-down and overhaul of cars and lorries. Their biggest contract was the large fleet of Esso road tankers and the conversion of ex-wartime vehicles into civilian use and other government work. They also did much work on racing cars from the nearby Brooklands racing track, and when there was something interesting there, Father took me along with him and explained it all in great detail.” (AAD p2)
The family move to a large house called “Sunnyside” at Weybridge in Surrey.
1917: Leida Peets is born at “Ryazan, South of Moscow in Russia, from Estonian parents who were then working for the Czar” (p.67); Year of the Russian Revolution; Parents escaped to home town of Tallin, Estonia
1918: Aged 6, Joe Costigan attends Weybridge High School, where his 3 elder sisters already attended. His father leaves Weybridge Motor Engineering Company and starts up his own Engineering Consultancy in London, “where he had his own offices and did very well until the Great Depression started in 1921, when his business folded up and he lost a lot of money. After that he suffered from heart trouble which had been caused by an earlier bout of rheumatic fever, he was no longer able to hold a full time job and he did part-time Consultancy work for Motor Insurance Companies.” (AAD p2)
1921: Leida, training to be a ballet dancer from a very early age, aged four/five
1925: Joe’s dad dies when he’s 13: ” When I was thirteen Father died of heart failure, leaving very little money. In my father’s day engineers were not paid well and few died rich, moreover he was a generous man and did a lot for Freemasonry, in which he eventually became a Grand Master, and at his death the Masons helped the family considerably and sent my two younger sisters to the Freemasons School at Rickmansworth.” (AAD, p3)
1926: Joe starts 5 year apprenticeship at Weybridge Motor Engineering Co. – his mother arranges this through Father’s old friend, Mr Dewer, who was then Works Manager.
1926/7: Joe’s mother dies leaving him an orphan.
1927/28: Connie, his eldest sister takes charge and moves them all to a bungalow in Walton-on-Thames.
1929/1930: Apprenticeship ends; family move again after 3 years in bungalow to a large house called “Meads” at Walton “which had an acre of garden and a proper grass tennis court.” (AAD p3) Great Depression
1930 (?): Aged 20 Works at Waterloo Sub-Station/ Engineering Dept of Southern Railway – gets job through friend of father, ‘Uncle Sam’
1931 (?): Hersham Motors, jig & tool draughtsman, made redundant within year?
1931/1932: Becomes a sports car designer, job through father’s friend again (not the same one); business dries up as re-armament gears up
1934/1935?: Aged 24/25 Works at Vickers Aircraft Co at Brooklands, Weybridge. Meets Chief Designer Barnes Wallace (geodetics), Vince Broughton is aircraft designer
Moves to Hawker Aircrafts at Kingston Upon Thames, aircraft design
1936: Returns to Fairey Aviation
1936: “Alan Tindall Lennox-Boyd and his family (he was married to Patricia Guiness come to live at Henlow Grange. Lennox -Boyd represented mid Bedfordshire in Parliament from the 1930s to the 1950s” (TSoHG p.92)
Lennox-Boyd decolonisation on a grand scale during the 1950s as Secretary of State for the Colonies and is a name known to anyone looking into the Mau Mau massacres in Kenya or the Hola massacre.
From wikipedia on Viscount Boyd of Merton (Alan Lennox-Boyd’s political career) who was MP from 1931 – 1960:
“Lennox-Boyd was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Mid Bedfordshire in 1931 (at the age of 26), and was admitted to Inner Temple, as a barrister in 1941. He was a member of Winston Churchill‘s peacetime government as Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation from 1952 to 1954. In this post he once memorably opined that road accidents were the result not of the taking of large risks, but of the taking of small risks very large numbers of times.
In 1954 he became Secretary of State for the Colonies, where he oversaw early stages of decolonisation, with the granting of independence to Cyprus, Ghana, Iraq, Malayaand Sudan. He was in office during the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya, and was persuaded to stay in office by Harold Macmillan after being censured for the Hola massacre. He talked openly about independence for the Federation of Malaya, and invited the then Chief Minister of Malaya, Tunku Sir Abdul Rahman Al-Haj and his friends to Lancester House to discuss the possibility of Malaya’s becoming a sovereign nation.
Following the Suez Crisis of 1956, Lennox-Boyd appears to have made the initial approach to writer Ian Fleming about the possibility Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden‘s using Fleming’s Jamaican house, Goldeneye, for a rest cure given the precarious state of Eden’s health. Because of security considerations, he initially intimated to Fleming that he wanted Goldeneye for a holiday of his own and, when he resisted Fleming’s suggestion that his and Fleming’s wife (a close friend of Lady Eden) liaise over the arrangements, Fleming at first assumed that he was planning an extra-marital assignation.
In September 1960 he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Boyd of Merton of Merton-in-Penninghame in the County of Wigtown. This caused a by-election for his Mid Bedfordshire constituency which was won by Stephen Hastings. He was further honoured the same year when he was appointed a Companion of Honour. Being opposed to the line taken in Harold Macmillan‘s Wind of Change speech, he subsequently became an early patron of the Conservative Monday Club.”
1937: Aged 25, leaves Fairey Aviation Co disillusioned with making war planes, takes a pacifist turn and leaves for Philips & Powis (later Miles Aircraft Co) near Reading designing civil aircraft
1938/1939: Returns to Fairey Aviation Co in Hayes, Middlesex. Leida is 20, and has become a full ballerina at the famous Hellerau finishing school in Vienna
1 December 1939: Britain declares war (these are dates given by Joe Costigan – in contradiction to….
23rd December 1939: Aged 27, gains first patent. Hayes Fairey factory is being bombed, evacuated to Taplow, near Maidenhead
1940s / WWII
1940: Adrian, Joe’s son is born. [AAD] RAF Henlow is bombed by the Luftwaffe. Eight bombs fell on the airfield, damaging two hangars (TSoHG p.92)
Leida flees WWII through Eastern Europe to Balkans and eventually to Baghdad in Iraq, where a bad fall from a horse seriously injured her hip and this put an end to her dancing career. At about the same time, Russia invaded Estonia and took her parents off to Siberia and Leida was declared a Stateless person.” (AAD p.68)
Leida spends the war aged 22 – 27 in Baghdad, and uses her physiotherapy knowledge to help wounded soldiers in Baghdad hospitals; starts beauty business together with French girl, Elyan from Paris. During the war Leida marries an Italian Civil Engineer working for British Army in Baghdad who has a British passport.
1945: Aged 32, Joe leaves wife Iris and son Adrian. Leida moves to South Africa, Cape Town with her husband.
1949/50: Aged 33/34, Leida’s first marriage ends; she leaves South Africa and travels by sea to England to stay with Elyan and her husband, Maynard at their home farm in Warwickshire, quite near to Stratford-Upon-Avon. Here, Leida learns a peculiar Shakespearean English through translating plays with Elyan. Leida could already speak 8 languages before learning English (AAD p.68) (Estonian, Russian, Italian and…?)
In promotional literature distributed in the early 1960s it is stated Leida spoke 7 languages, including English “She is also a linguist and speaks English, French, German, Estonian, Russian, Italian and Spanish.” (TSHG p.60)
During this period I’m not yet clear on what Henlow Grange was used for during the war but presumably RAF Henlow being a Luftwaffe target meant the Lennox-Boyd family evacuated.
1950: “Lord Boyd of Merton gives the Boyd Memorial Field to the Parish when the family left the village.” Moves to Ince Castle in Cornwall
St Francis Shefford Boy’s Home is located on the High Street, attached to St George’s Roman Catholic Church as I understand. The history of St George’s will be of interest as Savile was visiting to pray.
St Francis Boys’ Home Sex Abuse Inquiry: Police reopen [BBC 8 September 2014]
Shefford St Francis orphanage abuse legal action [BBC, 12 August 2013]
During the 1950s and 1960s Savile is reported as being a frequent visitor to St Francis Boys home in Shefford, the longest serving children’s home of the poor in the country, established in 1868 and run by the Catholic Diocese of Northampton, it housed boys from 5 – 16 years old, closing only in 1974, over a 100 years after its foundation.
A series of official reports on the Home from the Home Office dating from 1962 can be found here
1951: Leida moves to England from South Africa, leaving her Italian husband with a British passport behind.
1954 – 1959: Lennox-Boyd becomes Secretary of State for the Colonies and oversees the early decolonisation progress
1955: Aged 42, Iris divorces Joe Costigan (JC) ; Meets Leida who is in London obtaining a Beauty Therapy Degree (p.68) now aged 37/8
1955 – 1960: Costigans purchase a beauty farm [called Pelham Lodge] in Knebworth, Hertfordshire (TSoHG p.59)
1956: JC moves to work at De Havilland Aircraft Co; now specialising solely in guided weapons – This is also the year Commander Lionel Crabbe goes missing.
1957: JC promoted to become Chief Designer of Air to Air Weapons; George Brown promoted to become Assistant Chief Engineer under Guy Gardiner; Visits Australia for Firestreak trials; on return trip diverts to Delhi, India to give lecture on Firestreak to the Indian Air Force (p.69)
April – June 1957: Leida, aged 39/40 gives birth to her and Joe’s only child, a daughter, Ann Costigan. Joe’s book AAD is dedicated to his darling daughter, Anne Kristina.
Excerpt from the article:-
“ The Background of Firestreak (Aviation Ancestry website)
de Havilland Propellers Ltd. took the decision to enter the guided-weapons field at a time when the company already possessed wide experience of electronic. hydraulic and precision engineering which had been gained over many years in the design, development and manufacture of aircraft propellers. This provided the nucleus of technical direction upon which a completely new team was built. Starting from a handful of engineers under the technical lead of Mr. G. C. I. Gardiner, the company’s Technical Director and Chief Engineer, an organisation of many hundreds has been built up. This staff, together with the manufacturing personnel, now totals several thousand engaged upon this work alone. There has also been a large addition to the company’s facilities for the design and manufacture of its other important products such as propellers, radar scanners and aircraft air. conditioning systems. The first members of the guided-weapons team were Mr. G. H. F. Brown, Mr. R. N. Hadwin, and Mr. J. Mullin, who had been until then respectively chief designer, chief vibration engineer and chief dynamicist of de Havilland Propellers Ltd.
When the Ministry of Supply awarded de Havilland a development contract for a turbo-alternator, a compact form of electrical power supply which was required by other companies engaged on the development of guided weapons, the company were encouraged to expand their equipment resources and to recruit further senior technicians. Key members of the team who joined at this time included Dr. G. H. Hough, now the chief systems engineer, Mr. C. de B. White, who is to-day the chief trials engineer, and Mr. F. J. Costigan, who came to the company with previous knowledge of guided-weapon design, and is now chief designer of air-to-air weapons.”
Daily Mirror 9th March 1959: A ‘glamour farm’ is being opened by Viennese born 41 year old Mrs Leida Costigan, wife of Chief Designer of Fireflash guided missiles, waiting list of titled women for £25 guineas a week.
Daily Mirror 22nd July 1959: Women-only Pelham Lodge open for 2 months only when woodworm was found in the top floor treatment rooms
1959: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/the-way-to-beauty Leida Costigan
Leida Costigan films “Britain’s first beauty farm” British Pathe film at Knebworth, Pelham Lodge
M/S showing Leida Costigan, who runs the beauty farm, exercising a client on a field in the garden or grounds of a country house in Knebworth; in the foreground is glamorous Brenda Lomax on a rowing machine. Both exercisers are wearing swimsuits. C/Us from the front and behind of BL rowing rather gracefully, and smiling; she is wearing a nice yellow swimsuit.
Henlow Grange is purchased and refurbished as a health farm by Mr & Mrs F Costigan (TSHG p.92)
“Leida first visited Henlow with her husband Fred in 1961 to consider its potential. It needed someone with vision since thousands of panes of glass had been broken by vandals and two huge elder trees had grown up through the magnificent wrought iron gates.” (TSoHG p.60)
To some people Joe Costigan must have referred to himself as Fred? Or perhaps Dorothy Purdew has got his first name mixed up with his middle name?
Ted Burgess (also known as Budge) the Churchwarden of St Mary’s Henlow proved to be invaluable to the Costigans in securing their property deals for both Henlow Grange and their house The Limes, along with furnishing Henlow Grange.
“Edward, otherwise known as Budge or Ted, was educated at Hitchin Grammar School.
In the second world war he fought in Burma.
He was a much respected member of the Henlow Village community where he was Churchwarden at St Mary the Virgin, Henlow for many years. He was also a longstanding member of the PCC [ed. “Parish Church Council”], holding its chair for some time. A community minded man, he worked at George Jackson & Son in Hitchin as a Chartered Surveyor and Auctioneer, and in this role he played a major part in the rejuvination of the town through his efforts to develop the market, which at its height was packed weekly with livestock sales which included everything from cattle, pigs sheep and a wide variety of small animals. Tuesdays, market day, became a major all-day event with local farmers decending on the town to buy and sell.
He oversaw a number of major property sales, and was trusted for his honesty by all who dealt with him. He negotiated the deal which saw the regeneration of Henlow Grange, originally the manor house is cited in the Doomsday Survey. It then became the 330 year home to Cistercian monks until Henry VIII put a stop to all that in the C16th. At that time its value was assessed at £16-13-10! In the last century the house was bought by the Gurney family from Norfolk (1909), and then in 1936 the Lennox-Boyd family.
It was in 1961, after years of being left empty, that the now derelict building was bought by Leida Costigan and her husband Joe. Eventually she turned it into her “Beauty Farm”, the best in the country, attracting the great and famous from all over the world. In his book, covering Leida’s life, Joe remembers “Ted” as a “very great friend”, “expert on antique furniture” and “head auctioneer at the famous furniture salerooms in Hitchin”. He ensured a fair price for the furniture Leida wanted, avoiding her tendancy to “bid blindly”, by keeping an eye out for furniture that both she would like and suit the beautiful house, and advising her of suitable top bids. Later he oversaw the sale of the Limes in Henlow High Street to the Costigans as their business expanded. Further details can be read in FJ Costoigan’s Book, “The Story of Leida and her Beauty Farm” (ISBN 0 904378 17 9), which also has detailed a history of the Grange.”
St Mary’s, Henlow history – a formerly Roman Catholic church which also owned a house for the Prior of Llanthony (Llanthony Priory near Gloucester) and a community of priests at Henlow Grange, now Anglican following the Dissolution.
St. Mary’s History
The earliest building consisted of just a Nave and Chancel, thought to have been built in the 11th or early 12th century. In the 13th century two low roofed aisles were added and the Nave lengthened westwards. The South aisle was built first with the North aisle following some years later. Late in the 14th century the Chancel was lengthened. Towards the end of the 15th Century the massive tower was built, the clerestory constructed and the upper part of the North Aisle rebuilt. Soon after the chancel arch was widened and the South aisle extended. Later the aisle roofs were raised enclosing the clerestory windows within the church. The vestry/organ chamber is a late Victorian addition.
A Charter of King John in 1199 confirms the earlier gift of the manor and church of Henlow to Lanthony Priory near Gloucester who provided clergy for the church until the Dissolution, the Prior of Lanthony having a house and a small community of priests in what is now part of Henlow Grange. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 the Crown became the Patron, responsible for the appointment of incumbents to this day.
A plaque in the South Aisle, dedicated in 1989, commemorates Elizabeth, daughter of John and Joan Tilley, who was baptised here in 1607. All three were pilgrims to America on the Mayflower in 1620.
During 1994 the choir vestry screen was enlarged and crowned by a screen of glass. A floor and staircase were inserted and other facilities installed.
Henlow was originally in the Diocese of Lincoln. In 1838 it was moved to the Ely Diocese and was again transferred, in 1914, to the new Diocese of St. Albans.
In 1997 the Parishes of Henlow and Langford were brought together as a United Benefice, served by one incumbent. [extracted from “A Guide to the Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Henlow” by James E. Burgess]
March/April 1961: Vicar of Henlow Church, the Reverend R Howerd had retired and starts to help with restoration of the Chinese wallpaper in the Peacock Room. Costigans employ a scenery artist from Elstree film studios who only charged £47 including materials. (TSoHG p.64) (St Mary’s, Henlow Church website states this: a Rev R Howard retired in 1968?)
Spring 1961: Costigans lobby Conservative Dame Irene Ward in the House of Commons who invites them to lunch in the Commons restaurant. Dame Ward speaks to the Minister of Housing (then Conservative MP for Tonbridge, Sir John Stanley, also a Privy Councillor) and full planning permission is granted 3 days later so that restoration work can start.
27th April 1961: Costigans exchange contracts to purchase – pay £6,000
Daily Mirror Monday 15 May 1961 p.9: Daily Mirror reports Viennese born Leida as stating “ a company has been formed. It is prepared to spend £20,000 on getting Henlow Grange on its feet – and this is just a start.” What is this company’s name and who were its shareholders?
10th July 1961: Within 2 1/2 months of work starting, half main house and half beauty treatment centre in the basement ready for use. Champagne party to celebrate. One of the first guests on opening night was Lady Cecil Douglas (TSoHG p.68)
- Lady Cecil Douglas was a niece of Lord Alfred Douglas, lover of Oscar Wilde, known for sneering at Canadian hospitality when evacuated during WWII
- Jane Bryce, Marchioness of Milford Haven (David, Lord Mountbatten’s nephews second wife), aged 24/25, comes to stay after birth of her first child, George (b. June 1961) “Her uncle, wealthy Mr John Bryce, promised her a mink coat if she got her weight back to normal after her first baby.”
Daily Express 14 November 1961: ‘The expensive art of unwinding’ by Rosalie McCrae – Leida’s age given as 44 year old and article reveals Costigans fight against planning permission granted for 40 houses to be built near Henlow Grange
Daily Mirror 4 December 1961 p.9: Leida upset due to appeal against planning permission for 40 houses to be built nearby – asked Ministry of Housing to block approval.
December 1961: Rest of main house & treatment centre restored and central heating installed in entire house. Restoration moves to North Wing.
Daily Mirror 12 February 1962: Marchioness of Milford Haven, (wife of David, son of Lord Mountbatten’s elder brother George) aged 22, loses ‘baby weight’ as above at Henlow Grange and Leida announces men only slimming week launched. Swimming pool built in basement, christened “The Dolphin Rooms”.
‘Men Seek Beauty’ at Henlow, Bedfordshire – British Pathe 1962
35 – 50 guineas on tap with all kinds of extras on offer besides – an operator who knows her stuff banish your wrinkles and your secretary will dine with you!
“Various shots exterior of Henlow Grange beauty farm. Various shots chief beautician Leida Costigan giving instructions to row of beauty experts in white coats. According to narrator Leida is explaining that the next batch of clients will all be men!
Various C/Us man on treatment bed, a masseur uses suction cup to massage his beer belly. Various shots another man on a treatment couch, a beautician gives him a vibro leg massage. Various shots man receiving a facial. Various C/Us man in foam bath, a beautician mops his brow. Various shots male masseur and beautician giving man body wax treatment to make his skin tighter.
Various shots male clients in bath robes eating fruit and drinking juice. Various shots male clients receiving a manicure. C/U man having scalp steam treatment, at the same time a beautician is massaging his wrists. The steamer is removed from his head and the beauticians massages his scalp, the other beautician massages his wrists.
M/S man with beer gut standing scales whilst having his wrists measured, the man is holding his stomach in. C/U the man’s stomach; he stops holding it in and puffs out into its natural state!”
Daily Express, Wed 19 September 1962: Reports Leida who runs beauty farm at Viscount Boyd’s old home is reported to be considering opening on the Riviera after a holiday there.
1963 – Celebrity Fetes and the mysterious death of a trainee beauty therapist
In 1963, Father John Ryan was Rector from 1963 – 1969 at St Francis Shefford Boys’ Home on High Street, Shefford not far from
Daily Mirror 12th May 1963 p.8: Local man (Luton) Tom Shriver becomes a trainee beauty therapist at Henlow Grange – reported as first man to train there, age of Leida given as 43
3 months before Russell Winterbottom’s death (suicide by self-immolation looks more and more unlikely despite newspapers trying to tie his death to either Buddhist protests or black magic in Hitchin) Henlow Grange is hosting Henlow Church’s annual fete on their lawn and starting to attract a regular clientele of celebrities, singers such as Shirley Bassey, Dusty Springfield, Eatha Kitt, Tom Jones, sportsmen (like interntaional tennis starts – TSHG p.72), DJs such as Alan Freeman, Pete Murray, Savile.
The Times 10th June 1963: Reports a tennis match taking place on lawns at Henlow Grange previous day (Sunday 9th June 1963)
In June 1963 Henlow church fete was held on the lawn. Joe Costigan writes:
” Each year we stack away our sports equipment so that the fete committee can bring in marquees, stalls and side shows, all run by volunteers from the village. Leida has usually found a well-known radio or television star to open each fete, which usually draws in crowds of around 500 people and raises hundreds of pounds towards the maintenance of St Mary’s parish church. The beautiful old Henlow Church was also in the possession of the Augustinian Canons of Llanthony up to the Reformation.” (excerpt quoted from Leida & Her Beauty Farm in TSoHG, p.72)
Rosina Everitt remembers: “Peter Murray was one of Leida’s favourites and also Jimmy Savile. We had Shirley Bassey who was lovely and also Dusty Springfield, who was a bit of a recluse and spent a lot of time in her room. Matt Monro was a regular too and went to the local pub a few times, sometimes to do charity events. Pat Phoenix used to come too – she was just as glamorous as you’d imagine. She loved the facials. Leida used to do all the facials personally for the celebrities.” (TSoHG p.108)
In an article dated 8th October 2012, The Sun quoted Savile’s former BBC radio colleague Pete Murray:
“Meanwhile, Savile’s former BBC radio colleague Pete Murray has told how the late entertainer used to invite young girls to his house even before he found fame.
Ex-Top of the Pops presenter Pete said Savile had two girls aged 16 or 17 in his living room when he arrived to spend a night there in the mid-60s.
The 87-year-old said he knew Savile “liked young girls” but never saw him do anything.
Murray, who expressed surprise at the abuse claims, said: “We all knew he liked young girls but that was it. Nobody knew if he did anything with them and I never asked him about it.”
Murray added: “The girls I saw him with were about 16 or 17. I certainly never saw him with any girl who looked younger than that but it’s hard to tell when girls wear make-up.
“I would be very surprised if he ever forced himself on anybody.” [Sun Campaign to strip paedo DJ Jimmy Savile of Sir knighthood, The Sun, 8 October 2012]
Joan Gallagher (aged 85 in 2009) recalls: “During Leida’s time, it was just me and Eartha Kitt for a few days. She was lovely. I’ve also talked to several other names including and Jimmy Savile” (TSHG p.103)
October – December 1963: The death of Russell Winterbottom, trainee beauty therapist
A curious event takes place in the autumn of 1963 that not one of the three books concerning Henlow Grange consider either worth including or comment-worthy but receives coverage in international press at the time. Joe and Leida Costigan certainly would have been aware and were probably concerned due to adverse publicity although not Dorothy Purdew unless researching the history of Henlow Grange using local press archives.
Friday 11 October 1963: 37 year old Californian Russell Winterbottom sets out for a run in his tracksuit from Henlow Grange Beauty Farm where he has paid a year’s fees in advance to train as a beauty therapist
Thursday 17 October 1963: A 37 year old Californian Beauty therapist trainee, Russell Winterbottom, goes missing after setting off for a run in his tracksuit. http://news.google.com/new spapers?id…costigan&hl=en
Tuesday 22 October 1963: North Beds Courier & Biggleswade Record reports “Missing Man – Search Off” stating Russell Winterbottom had been reported missing on Friday 13 October 1963.22oct1963
Monday 28 October 1963: “U.S. Male lost from Beauty Spot”. The Victoria Advocate. 28 October 1963
Tuesday 3 December 1963: Reported that Russell Winterbottom’s body is found, burnt, with petrol cans nearby, in Henlow Grange groundshttp://news.google.com/newspapers?ni…pg=
Daily Express, 3 December 1963: Student is ‘fire sacrifice’
Daily Mirror, 3 December 1963 Missing Beauty Farm Man found dead
Calif. Man found dead in England”. The Lewiston Daily Sun. 3 December 1963
Friday 6 December 1963: “Skeleton found in bed of nettles thought to be a missing American” announced the Biggleswade Chronicle Skeleton Found in Bed of Nettles
Tuesday 10 December 1963: “Skeleton identified” announced the North Beds Courier & Biggleswade Record – despite no date having been set for the coroners’ inquest – as reported in this article, the inquest opens 3 days later on Friday 13 December 1963 Skeleton Identified
Friday 13 December 1963: Biggleswade Chronicle, “Skeleton is identified” Skeleton is Identified
Tuesday 17 December 1963: “Beauty farm skeleton is named by dentist” Beauty Farm Skeleton is named by dentist
Friday 20 December 1963: “Skeleton identified by teeth”, Biggleswade Chronicle Skeleton identified by teeth
No news reports for 1964 as yet…still looking…
6 April 1965: Wilson’s Labour Government cancel the TSR-2 project – all airframes are scrapped. Boscombe Down’s official records of test flights were ‘lost’
Daily Mirror, 11 November 1965 p22: 14 Beauty trainees are paying £800 each for their training at Henlow Grange
1965: Alan and Evelyn Guard have their first stay at Henlow Grange (see guest comments from TSoHG below) – Evelyn comments that at this point there was only space for 32 guests at a time (not the 200 capacity it has in 2009).
Alan Guard, 72 (2009) and Evelyn Guard, guests at Henlow Grange since 1965: “It was much smaller in Leida’s time with fewer people. I certainly didn’t stand out because there were always other men there. We had a men’s room with three or four massage tables and a gym…Often we see the same faces but we don’t really speak to celebrities although we did talk to Jimmy Savile once.” (TSHG p. 104)
Evelyn Guard: “(Leida) made everyone feel very special. There were only thirty-two guests then, compared with 200 plus. We love Henlow because it makes us feel at home. We can relax. We have a photograph of ourselves with Jimmy Savile on our sitting room wall.” (TSHG p.104)
Barbara Windsor: ” I first went at the beginning when Leida owned Henlow. Someone recommended that I should go there because I had a lot of worry because of my personal life. I had gone to some other health farms but they were far away and I’d heard so much about Leida that I wanted to see what it was like. I loved it!” (TSHG p.95)
Daily Express, 31 March 1967: Down 10lb in 36 hours – more of an advertorial than an article (by Crawford White, photos from Harry Dempster) on Brian Close, Yorkshire’s cricket team captain staying at Henlow Grange to get fit
1966/67: In 1966 Wilson published a White Paper on Defence. Henlow Grange is doing rather well with celebrity support and Joe Costigan is now in his mid 50s and preparing a proposal for Dornier, a company famous for producing flying-boats, who were designing an amphibious flying boat for which they needed a retractable undercarriage so that it could come up on land. Joe is also doing Leida’s accounts for her businesses at night and develops a form of ugly skin blemishes on his hands arms and neck which were noticeable.
Despite Leida’s pressure to join her businesses full-time Joe says:
“Well, aircraft engineering was now well into my blood. It was my life and I could not give it up. Then suddenly without warning that world crashed about my ears. I was summoned to a Senior Executive’s office and he told me that they had been reviewing the top management and had decided to ask me to leave the firm that day. No other reason was given. I was utterly shattered. After 17 years service with the firm to be so ignominiously dismissed was abhorrent. I could not understand; so far as I knew I had done nothing to warrant such treatment, but later I did find the true reason.” (AAD p.95)
Sadly, Joe doesn’t share this true reason for his summary and very instant dismissal that he later discovers – one can only wonder what it was?
Daily Express, 21 August 1967 p.3: Leida snippet on opening wig shop at Henlow Grange
Daily Mirror, 1 April 1968 p7: Advertorial by Michael Hellicar on the beauty farm; Visitors include Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Bruce Forsyth, Pete Murray and Alan Freeman; Shrublands hydro James Bond in Thunderball mentioned in the article to encourage male visitors to beauty farms.
Daily Mirror 22 April 1968 p14: Patrick Wymark, actor, pictured skipping at Henlow Grange to lose weight for new role
Daily Mirror 13 August 1968 p.11: Leida quoted in snippet 70 guineas a week
Daily Express 28 February 1969 p.3: Lionel Bart leaves Henlow Grange after 2 days into 14 day stay because other guests complain about him humming into tape recorders to record tunes.
The Times, 18 April 1969: Advert for mature woman without ties aged 30 – 50 to manage Henlow Grange residential position
1970: Costigans research entire history of Henlow Grange, record and frame it in fine handwriting and mount at foot of main staircase. “Much of the material was gathered from the Reverend Howerd. It came from the church records and tombstones and partly from correspondence with Prinknash Abbey in Gloucester. Other sources were reference books that Mr Howerd recommended in Bedford Library.” (TSHG p.70)
1970: Rosina Everitt joins Henlow Grange as a 16 year old trainee hairdresser (TSHG p.106); Rosina remembers the pageants Leida organised “I’ll never forget one evening when the girl who was playing Miriam tripped and baby Moses (a doll) fell into the pool.”
“Slightly surprisingly, there were quite a few men there in Leida’s time. ‘Like the women, they were quite well off and came for a rest. SOme also wanted to lose weight. We had a men’s room where they could all sit. One of the men actually married a therapist although Leida never heard about it; relationships were strictly forbidden.'” (TSoHG p.108)
September 1971: 10th anniversary party held at Henlow Grange. Costigans bid for a house in the village, The Limes. (TSoHG p.73). On 25 November 1971, Ted “Budge” Burgess, Churchwarden of St Mary’s Henlow dies aged 53, having just recently assisted the Costigans to purchase The Limes.
Daily Mirror 30th September 1971: Leida Costigan joins Daily Mirror Slimmers’ panel for an article
11 June 1972: Savile makes a visit to Henlow Grange as per his BBC records (FOI from BBC)
Daily Mirror 7 February 1973: Chantal D’Orthez, model and daughter of Moira Lister and champagne importer spends a week at Henlow Grange to lose weight (n.b. separate note to follow up – Poulson Inquiry and Bar Council inquiry into Muir Hunter QC conduct when names given in court)
May 1973: Summer Press Ball, beauty students perform a Tableau of Beauty Through the Ages (TSoHG pp 74-75)
“Training students was a vital part of Leida’s work at Henlow. Several international exchanges took place as well as big events at the Grange itself.”
One such event was the Summer Press Ball in May 1973, when the students performed a tableau of Beauty Through the Ages. This involved months of research and costume-making, as well as sourcing and making props. Here is an account from Leida’s husband’s book:
“Was this the most sumptuous event Henlow Grange had ever seen? Guests were received in the main entrance hall and then were served cocktails in the Peacock Room. From here, they were escorted down to the Dolphin Room, where rows of chairs were arranged like theatre stalls facing the closed swimming pool curtains. After a brief introductory speech by Leida, she suddenly called ‘Open Sesame’ and the curtains were swept aside, revealing a completely dark stage around the swimming pool. A single spotlight representing the dawn, slowly grew in intensity and pinpointed Eve (Diana) just waking up beside the pool in a symbolic fig-leaf cloak; she was beautifully stretching herself, looking at her face in te water and stroking her hair with her fingers. The very first beauty treatments.
The red lights came on to represent the rising sun and the blue underwater pool lights then slowly came on to refelct the blue sku. As daylight came, all the stage lights came on one by one until the whole scene was fully lit, revealing all the stage furniture and treasures arranged around the pool.”
10 August 1973 The Times; advertising for an experienced beauty therapist
1973: Leida and her daughter Anne Costigan moves to Spain on a more permanent basis to establish spa abroad, still coming back to Henlow Grange
1974: St Francis Boys’ Home, Shefford closes
1976 – 1981: Leida now resides in Spain permanently?
Daily Express, 13 April 1976: Ann Cole reported as Director of Henlow Grange
Daily Mirror, Friday 30 April 1976 p.3: Edward Laxton reports residents at Henlow Grange threw a swinging party much to chagrin of resident Director, Ann Cole
1977/78: Wendy Mantle, daughter of convicted sadistic child abuser Jeffery Mantle is assaulted by Jimmy Savile while working at Henlow Grange as a chambermaid, aged 18.[Jimmy Savile molested me claims ex Henlow Grange chambermaid, The Comet ]
Daily Mirror 23 September 1978: Brisamer in Malaga has been established as a beauty farm already showing adverts giving telephone for Leida Costigan
The Times April 30th 1979: plug for Henlow Grange, mentioning Leida’s business in Spain
1980: Joe Costigan publishes his autobiography “Adventures of an Aircraft Designer” – still living at Henlow Grange to write it?; Officer cadet training ceases on April 24th at RAF Henlow. The station is passed to the Radio Engineering Unit.
1981: Bob and Dorothy Purdew buy Henlow Grange from Mrs Costigan
The Times Saturday 18 April 1981: Advert in The Times stating Henlow Grange back “once again under the personal of Mrs Leida Costigan” so for five years during Directorship it wasn’t?
Thursday 12 January 1984: 40 Minutes BBC2 documentary on Henlow Grange shown on TV
Daily Mirror 13 Jan 1984: Maureen Paton review of TV programme shown night before
1985: Sir Jimmy Savile opens the Savile Wing extension
Audrey said: “We thought he might be at The Grange as we knew he was a frequent visitor so we phoned the health farm and he was there, so we invited him to our celebrations. Mr Savile was very nice and said he would come along. He arrived on Sunday morning with two other men and agreed to be photographed with me and my husband. He stayed for a while, drew a poster for us and even made a donation”.
‘Mid-1980s’: Two Yemeni girls of 14 or 15 arrive (or ‘are delivered’), who are ‘clueless’ and there is no contact with their parents, only communication with a London doctor and they stay for 6 months, lose about 4 stone each and become fluent in English
“On another occasion in the mid-80s we had two teenage girls from Yemen delivered to us. A fleet of cars arrived with the pair of them and all their belongings. They were only aged about fourteen or fifteen and were really quite clueless so we had to look after their every need. Rosina became a kind of surrogate mother to them, even having to teach them about sanitary towels. I don’t know why they were over here , it was all very mysterious and whenever there were any problems or dramas we had to call this London doctor who acted as the go-between with their parents.
They ended up living with us for six months and it actually did them both the world of good. ” (LRC p.151)
1987: Bob Purdew retires from Quango (LRtC p159) he had been heading up
23 March 1988: BBC 2 Inside Story – Rosie Kendall reports on a 3 day stay at Henlow Grange
The Times 4 January 1989: Soaking up the pounds – Vivien Tomlinson speaks to a thin blond woman ‘one of the proprietors’ and finds her unhelpful and talking about skiing
The Times 16 May 1989: Lloyd Honeyghan, boxer takes up at Henlow Grange to train for a shot at world middleweight title
9 Jan 1990: Bob Purdew diagnosed with lung cancer
“His fear was the worst part. It was our friend Sir Jimmy Savile who once more came to our aid – or at least to Bob’s. Stephen had confided in him and arranged for another consultant to meet with Bob and me.”
Dorothy implies Jim fixed it for the new consultant to lie to Bob and tell him his cancer was curable, “It’ll take time but it will clear” (TSoC p.163)
They go on holiday coinciding with the Cannes Film Festival, but sadly Bob worsens.
“Once more Sir Jimmy moved things as only he can and he found a friend of his with a private plane to take Bob home. If only it was that easy. BUPA required a doctor’s clearance before he could fly and Sir Jimmy stepped in, contacting someone high up in BUPA who sent a doctor from Holland to examine Bob. I was impressed with this young man. He sat by Bob’s bed for three days and nights, checking his medication and feeding him.” (TSoC p.164)
“After three days the doctor delivered his verdict. A small private plane was not suitable for the journey home. It would be too uncomfortable for Bob. Instead BUPA arranged for six seats to be taken out of the business section of a British Airways plane to accomodate Bob’s stretcher. We had been there about 3 weeks in total – British Airways were kindness itself and did everything possible to make this journey as easy as it could be.”
May 1990: Bob Purdew passes away
August 1990: Ashby De la Zouch Springs opened by competitor
1991: Stephen Purdew first reports meeting Rebekah Brooks: ” I’ve known her since 1991. She was a journalist trying to do a story on [footballer] Paul Gascoigne and I got to know her really well. And I went to her wedding to [first husband] Ross Kemp, and I went on holiday with her and Ross.” [Stephen Purdew, Champneys Interview, The Guardian ]
1991: Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire, in 1991 Springs purchased by Purdews; built by consortium in Midlands led by ex-financial director of competitors Ragdale; represented 15% market share at the time (but it had no customers?) (LRtC p.171-172) Stephen Purdew makes an appointment to view it when advertised in Financial Times as being in receivership
” He made an appointment to view on his way back from a day out hunting with the Meynell Hunt, of which Stephen was a member at that time (Prince Charles used to hunt with them and it was known for difficult countryside and jumps). ” (LRtC p.172)
A deal is negotiated, two sets of Birmingham lawyers sit round a table for 3 days:
“But finally after three days the deal was done. It was another odd purchase. Again there was no key and no cheque handed over but we had bought it. It was ours. We stayed the night and then in the morning we more or less handed the building over to a night porter and went home.” [ibid]
Fri 11 October 1991: BBC2 features Henlow Grange in a series on Health Farms
The Times 9 September 1992: 27 July 1992: Purdews win claim that formery employee Catherine seress-smith defamed them in a letter explainining to a social security adjudicator why she’d left her job
1993: BBC2 film a 40 minute documentary at the Grange – Beryl Downing, a travel writer from The Times, writes about it (TSoHG p.112)
1994: RAF Henlow was launched as a Defence Agency with the role of designing and installing ground and airborne electronic systems, such as communications and navigation aids. At this time the base supported 753 civilian posts and 818 servicemen with an annual budget of £41 million. (TSoHG, p.93). Purdews spend a £4m upgrade for a 25 metre half Olympic size swimming pool, a whirlpool, computerised gym, and separate sauna and steam facilities for men and women. (TSHG p.113)
The Times 2 August 1995: Oliver McCall stays at Henlow Grange before fight with Bruno
The Times 15 February 1997: Channel 4’s Cutting Edge is all about Henlow Grange
2001: In 2001 the Purdews briefly acquired Inglewood health hydro from agents of Saudi prince Mohammed bin Fahd. Six years earlier Inglewood had been the scene of allegations, published in the Guardian, that then defence minister Jonathan Aitken, a director of the spa, had tried to arrange girls for a Saudi prince and his entourage. The report led to the notorious libel action brought by Aitken ultimately culminating in his being sentenced to jail for perjury.
November 2002: Fire starts in the sauna (TSoHG p.86)
“Another programme of refurbishment begins – but in November, there is a serious fire which started in the ladies’ sauna. Henlow Grange is shut for six months and staff are found jobs in the other three Champneys spas: Tring, Forest Mere and Springs.” (TSoHG p.113)
2003: “Henlow Grange opens again after a major refurbishment. New facilities include a laconium ( a dry Roman heat room); additional treatment rooms; a rasul mud chamber; and a thalassotherapy pool. Luxury bedrooms are provided for Premier Guests and there is also a holistic studio, a herbal steam chamber and 35 treatment rooms. The wax bath becomes Henlow’s signature treatment. All the bedrooms are renovated and equipped with flat screen TVs and DVD players.” (TSoHG p.113)
July 5th 2003: Dorothy & Stephen Purdew hold a ball to celebrate the re-opening of Henlow Grange, at which Sir Jimmy Savile is the guest of honour.
Now then, now then, Sir Jimmy heads to the Royal Opera House [Telegraph, 23 August 2006]
Stephen Purdew, owner of celebrity health-club Champneys, is throwing a party at the Royal Opera House to celebrate 25 years of wrapping people in seaweed. Guest of honour will be his mother, Dorothy, with whom he bought his first health farm, Henlow Grange, in 1981. Two more followed until the pair bought Champneys in 2002. Among the 100-odd celebrities and royal guests invited are entrepreneurs such as John Caudwell, who has plenty of time to relax now he’s sold his Phones4U business, media bunnies Richard Desmond and Piers Morgan, and Purdew’s closest adviser, Sir Jimmy Savile. I hear the bank manager has also been invited, though an insider denies any corporate action is imminent. Still, the company has recently incorporated two new subsidiaries – Mayfair and Day Spa – which may indicate a face-lift.
2009: Dorothy Purdew publishes “The Story of Henlow Grange”
2009: Stephen Purdew gets married: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jul/18/champneys-spa-paul-stephenson-phone-hacking
“Rebekah Brooks was among the guests at Purdew’s wedding at Claridges in 2009, along with Liam Gallagher, Piers Morgan, soap actress Samantha Janus, Stephen Gately from Boyzone, a clutch of former Arsenal footballers, Frank Bruno and Jimmy Saville.
Reports at the time said Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, was also there, though his spokeswoman was not able to confirm that late on Sunday night.”
“Vaz’s daughter Anjali was a bridesmaid when Purdew, 52, married his longtime partner, blonde former model Isabele Cave, 30, two years ago.” [Sir Paul Stephenson Champneys Stephen Purdew friends high places, Daily Mail
Dorothy Purdew publishes ‘The Long Road to Champeys’ in 2011.
17 July 2011: Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson resigns over free 5 week stay at Champneys [Champneys Spa Paul Stephenson phone hacking, The Guardian, 18 July 2011]
11 August 2011: “The networker who made Champneys’ name: Spa owner Stephen Purdew likes to be generous to newspaper editors, sports stars … and sometimes policemen. They give the place a buzz, he says” [Stephen Purdew Champneys interview, The Guardian, 11 August 2011]
29 October 2011: Savile dies.
5th November 2011: :
”Jimmy was a regular visitor at Champneys health spa in Henlow, first visiting in the 1960s. He became a close friend of the owners, Stephen Purdew and his mother Dorothy. When a new bedroom wing was opened in 1985 it was named after him.
Stephen Purdew said: ‘He was a very significant family friend loved by everyone.
“Many people in the Henlow area will have very fond memories of this great man. My mother and I will miss him dearly.’” [Farewell to top TV Presenter, Biggleswade Today, 5 November 2011]
But despite scouring through the books I’m not so sure I’m any closer to answering the following questions:
- What was so important about Henlow Grange to Savile?
- Why no press reports of Henlow Grange during 1964? I must have missed some somewhere?
- Why did Joe Costigan get sacked from his job at De Havilland in 1966/1967 while working for Dornier?