Spychiatric Struggles: Righton’s attempt to gain control of Albany Trust’s counselling files
1. May 1971: In which Righton & Cordell establish ACCESS with Dr Robert Chartham (aka Ronald Seth – of potential interest to MI5) named on a draft trust deed and plan to takeover Albany Trust’s counselling casework files
2. July 1971: In which Righton gets called to the House of Lords by Lord Beaumont, ex Liberal party Chairman & Treasurer for an emergency meeting of the 12 friends of the Albany Trust [See below]
3. September & October 1971: In which Righton and Dr Chartham realise they will have to get the Trust’s counselling casework files via less confrontational means and Righton takes advice from Jack Profumo
Lord Beaumont calls Emergency Meeting at House of Lords – to take place on Monday 19th July
Eight months of gradual decline into chaos for the Trust started with the replacement of Antony Grey with Michael de la Noy as Director, Cordell’s sacking and de la Noy’s persistent wrangling to turn counseling casework into publishing opportunities, all forcing Lord Beaumont of Whitley as Chairman of the Trust since 1969, to call an emergency meeting.
Backed by his four Albany Trustees (Dr John Robinson, Keith Wedmore, Michael Schofield, Martin Ennals) on 19th July 1971 the Lords Liberal spokesman for education and the arts proposed to host twelve people deemed as ‘Friends’ of the Albany Trust, including Righton and Grey (as his real name, Edgar Wright) at the House of Lords to discuss the future of the Trust.
While not having quite the prestige of the Palace of Westminster to gather people within, two in particular of Beaumont’s Albany Trustees were not without status and power. Robinson was then the current Dean of Trinity College, Cambridge (and former Anglican Bishop of Woolwich, South London) and Martin Ennals was three years into a 12 year period spent as the Secretary General of Amnesty International. Schofield was a wealthy son of a leading Leeds department store-owner who’d turned away from trade to become a sexual sociologist, and Keith Wedmore, was a reforming Quaker barrister.
Lord Beaumont of Whitley (1928 – 2008) was according to one obituary headline ‘a millionaire priest and publisher who became the first Green peer’
[The Independent obituary , Liberal Party Treasurer 1962 – 1967, Life Peerage, Chairmanship of Liberal Party , Lords Liberal spokesman for education and arts 1968 – 1986)
“For Beaumont, ordination and publishing both eventually lost their charms, and politics took their place. The Liberal Party suited to perfection his emotional and intellectual inclinations, and provided a relatively small goldfish bowl in which to exercise his talents and rise to the top. By 1962 he was treasurer of the party, and five years later he received his reward for substantial contributions to party funds by way of a life peerage. It was the one honour he had always wanted, and coincided with his chairmanship of the Liberal Party. In the Lords he became Liberal spokesman for education and arts, 1968-86, later, for the Lib Dems, on conservation and the countryside. When he announced his defection to the Greens in 1999 he blamed the Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy’s lack of action on the environment for his decision.”
Married to the cousin of Princess Margaret’s husband (Anthony Armstrong-Jones), a Mary Rose Wauchope in 1955, Tim Beaumont had lived in Kowloon Hong Kong as an Anglican priest during the early years of wedded life, until receiving his inheritance he returned to the UK in 1959. During the 1960s, he bought up a number of Christian publications including Lady Rhondda’s Time and Tide, appointing himself Editor of Prism and Michael de la Noy his assistant editor.
“In 1962 he joined Prism Publications and he became assistant editor of Prism, the radical church voice of the time. In 1963 the Reverend Tim Beaumont, later Lord Beaumont of Whitley, gave him a job as part of a team at Lambeth Palace producing a group of magazines including Time & Tide. Michael De-la-Noy was given responsibility for Outlook, a new-style insert for parish magazines.”[i]
But by summer 1970, after three years accompanying the Archbishop Ramsey as Press Officer, De La Noy left under a cloud following the publication of two articles; one on a transvestite Army Colonel living at Earl’s Court and the other, a frank account of bisexual life, both deemed inappropriate. Ramsey was a celibate homosexual and De La Noy, not only accused Ramsey’s staff at Lambeth Palace of pushing him out, but also took to making threats in the press about a forthcoming book he was writing.
“The Archbishop of Canterbury’s summarily dismissed press officer, Michael De-La-Noy has found a new job and is planning a book that promises to chill his old master far more than his sexy articles for naughty magazines. First the job. On the morning the guillotine fell, he was offered work on industrial public relations in London, A fortnight later, he has taken it up.
The book, De-La-Noy says will be the full story of his sacking. “It is really about the workings of the Church establishment, which overlaps of course, with the State establishment. It has more power and is more sinister than people realise.” But the book, he insists, will not be vindictive.
He is still receiving letters about his dismissal and is still baffled at the ham-headed way it was done. “They took a sledgehammer to crack a nut. They didn’t have to sack me. I was intending to go back to journalism next spring anyhow. All they had to do was say please find another job and I would have done so.” It wouldn’t have made half as good a book though.”
[The Guardian, 24 July 1970]
By the time De La Noy had insinuated his way into the Directorship of the Albany Trust with a visit to the offices to declare his intention to write a book on sexuality for Church of England ordinands, he and Beaumont had known one another for 8 years. His stint at Albany Trust and then the Sexual Law Reform Society did not prevent his publication of A Day in the Life of God (1971), referring to a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Ramsey, asking for De La Noy’s forgiveness for sacking him.
For Beaumont, Albany Trust’s financial woes were starting to look insignificant next to his own.
“The 1970s were a time of serious decline in his financial position. Whether this was due to the failure of all but one of his publishing ventures and his excessive generosity was never clear. Whatever the explanation, houses and paintings had to be sold and by 1976 he was augmenting his by now modest income by writing the food column in the Illustrated London News.” [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1584656/The-Rev-Lord-Beaumont-of-Whitley.html ]
Doreen tells all to Peter Righton and Dr Charlotte Wolff: 5th July 1971
In nervous anticipation of the forthcoming House of Lords emergency meeting, and wishing to put her two ACCESS champions in the picture about Antony Grey and Michael De La Noy’s machinations, Doreen writes to Dr Charlotte Wolff and Peter Righton, enclosing an extra copy for Righton to pass on to Canon Eric James ( “I have done a copy to Charlotte which, as I said, I will post on to her and will enclose an additional copy in case you think it might be worth Eric having a copy”) [iii]
[p1] Doreen’s faith and belief in Peter Righton is tremendous:
– “Of all those concerned with the meeting – and that includes both present and past Directors, present and past Trustees and any others concerned, YOU are the only one who can possibly know anything of the content, depth and variety of the work which was being done. How glad I am that you spent those few days at No. 32 [Shaftesbury Avenue, Albany Trust offices] over the Christmas because although this was not altogether representative of the total picture, you are the only person who has taken the trouble to do this and thus the only person who can claim in any way to know anything of the work.
The reason why I include both past and present Directors in the ‘not knowing’ category is because, as you know, Antony was both mentally and physically (most of the time) in abstention over the past 2 years and certainly since the end of 1967 and beginning of 1968 he adopted the attitude that he just didn’t want to know. The reasons for this you also know – his obsession with his own private affairs which, as you know, intruded wickedly into the time of the A.T, this situation only being cracked by Avril when she arrived at the beginning of 1970. Thus the previous Director’s comments and influence should be invalidated not only because of his own attitude and emotional inability to adjust to the post-1967 situation but also because of the situation with those in whom he interested himself who had (in both cases to my knowledge) come to the Trust for help.
So far as the present Director is concerned, he has just not the professional understanding to know with what he is dealing – it is just as simple as that. This is evinced by his own attitude that he can give advice just as well as I can and in much less time much more efficiently’ and his use of totally unsuitable people to interview those coming for help, including himself, who are totally incapable of diagnostic and professional referral work. It is not their fault in that they succumbed to what a consultant psychiatrist called the Director’s ‘psychopathic cunning and charm’ or, what is more likely, as journalists and writers, they saw the opportunity, as did the Director, to avail themselves of ‘human interest’ material which I have no doubt they will proceed to use in the future in a journalistic manner. As journalists, one would expect this to happen which makes what has happened and the exposure of those in trouble to such people an even more serious issue.
Why I include the Trustees in this category is because this perviously in the office were kept at arms length by the previous Director and only in fact, told what he himself wanted them to know of what was going on. He always took the view that he was the Director of the Trust (although this title only recently) and that he was not going to be ‘told’ what to do either by the Trustees or by the supporters – leading on the invidious position which has grown up between the Trust and whose who, mostly out of their own hard-earned incomes, provided the funds to keep the Trust in being including paying salaries of the staff including the Director.”
“You must also know that Antony’s position was rather different from Michael’s in that he was engaged by the Trust as a Consultant and paid a fee accordingly. When he was secretary of both A.T. and H.L.R.S. he was still technically employed as a Consultant and this was a situation which misled many and which put him into the strong position of dictating in the way he did.”
[p.3] “It is important for you to know this background because I have never disclosed the technicalities of it before although I have been aware of the situation but determinedly worked to the Ambrose formula and the constitution.”
– “On the liabilities side I know there there is an annual contract with J.Lyons & Co as the landlords, and from memory the cost of that accommodation is about £1,000 per year”
[p.5] “With the advent of the present Chairman and then the present Director (not so much when Dr Robinson joined the Trust) this fell away in a twofold manner = those who , at personal risk, undertook counselling of a religious kind, pulled away from the Trust because they felt themselves to be in serious danger, and those who would have come to the trust for help did not do so because of its public alignment with a particular denomination”
On the animosity between herself and Antony Grey, Doreen let Peter Righton know that Grey’s previous administrative assistant Joy Blanchard ‘exercised tight control’ over him (which is interesting in the context of Grey’s petitioning the Trustees in other meeting Minutes for Joy’s pension to kept up to date with his own) due to Grey having got involved with three clients of the Albany Trust who were under 21, one incident being known to Joy and two known to Doreen. Doreen calls under 21s Grey’s ‘achilles heel’ but that’s not to say Grey was at all interested in under 16s although the law would still have made him vulnerable to blackmail post 1967 due to inequality of age of consent – her point also being regarding the unprofessionalism of becoming involved with a client of the Trust who was presumably vulnerable and in need of help and the way in which the Trustees were involved and how dealing with Grey’s personal life was eating into valuable Trust time. She was also careful to point out that Antony Grey was well aware of the connotations for the Albany Trust if it were seen to be advertising in or writing for Spartacus and did not wish for the Trust to be associated with them – something which Michael De La Noy ignores.
However, what Doreen was so clearly unaware of was that Peter Righton would have had some idea of why Antony Grey was machinating and withdrawn from July 1969 – since he had become Chairman of the Albany Trust’s Social Projects Study Group with Antony Grey as Secretary [ see 1968-1970: Albany Trust, Peter Righton, Antony Grey and Ian Greer ] and together they had committed to an intense 12 month period of fortnightly meetings in time for the 1970 Social Work Conference at York, chaired by Raymond Clark.
[p.6] “You must know – in case you are not aware of this already – that because of my unwillingness to machinate for Antony in his private affairs, he turned extremely vicious during the latter part of 1969 and early 1970. It was for this reason that he brought Avril into the picture, thinking that he would set us against each other. However, she quickly saw through the situation and cracked it at once – after 3 weeks to be precise, whereas I had had to put up with it for 3 years!
If it is asked why I put up with it all that time, it was because I knew, beyond any shadow of doubt, that once Joy Blanchard became so ill leaving Antony and I on our own, it boiled down to a question of my word against his – and I knew which way the Trustees would take it.”
“Joy’s illness was rather a turning point in the scheme of things because she had previously exercised tight control on Antony (because of her intimate knowledge of a previous incident similar to those in which I was involved related to his private life in which the trustees were also involved.) However, with her not there and with my apparent ignorance of the back history, Antony took advantage of the situation.
At that time, he did his utmost to force me into the position of his Assistant.”
“I knew that he had had a great shock when he began to realise the swing back of police activity immediately the Act went through which disclosed the real inadequacies of the law reform which had taken so much out of him. It was as if all the effort was for nought. The only real thing the Act did, as you know, was to enable two consenting adults over 21 to have a relationship. All the peripheral aspects and especially the under 21s – which is his own achilles heel – were worse than ever before. As a legal man, he found this very hard to take and I could understand and sympathise.
To add to his emotional disturbance, we had, as you know got involved in the transvestite/transexual field and this to him was the ‘last straw’. It dawned on me to the full when I heard him explaining to someone that the whole idea of transsexualism is abhorrent to one who is homosexual, because it is, in fact, the castration of the source of erotic stimulation. i know he felt this deeply and went through agonies over the 1st Gender Identity Symposium we ran and it was basically for this reason that, in spite of his promise and our obligation to all those wonderful specialists who attended from all over the world, he failed to publish the Proceedings. He just could not face up to the job of editing such a subject.
This was especially pertinent because it coincided with a time when he was in a bad emotional state personally and it was from then on, July 1969, that he was really withdrawn. Because I realised all this, I withheld details of casework from him, keeping him informed of trends and developments with a brief report every so often. For a long while I deliberately sought his help with legal difficulties until I realised that this, too, was a source of anguish to him. Thus we were not able to take the positive action which we should have done at a time when police activity and court interpretation of the Act was so serious.”
On Michael De La Noy, Doreen was able to bring Righton up to date with how he’d first arrived in the office and also how he’d published an article with Spartacus [ Spotlight on Abuse: The Spartacus paedophile network was exposed by the Sunday People in February 1983 ] in the hope of ‘big money’ with John D Stamford [Spotlight on Abuse: UK Connections with international pedophile network Spartacus ]
[p.7] ” Avril summed up the position with in the first week of his arrival. In fact he had so beforehand on the occasion when he came to the Trust for help with a book which he was proposing to write on the lack of suitable training in Ordinands for our particular work. [p.8] This was just prior to his interview by the Selection Committee though only I knew of his application. Avril and the girls thought he was a ‘case’ because he behaved in such a disturbed way when he first arrived. Thus they bent over backwards to put him at his ease only to receive incredible rudeness from him.
My reaction was the same – that he was a highly disturbed young man – during the course of our talk which I kept strictly to the subject in hand. I put him in touch with one or two of our religious folk who immediately reacted and rang me to say we should have nothing to do with such a dangerous individual. I pointed out that his request had concerned the church and, as I felt inadequate in discussing the training of ordinands, I had referred him to those who knew all about it and trusted them to ‘deal with him appropriately.” However, the next we knew was that he had been appointed Director! And this inspite of the fact that I had sent a message to Lord Beaumont via his personal secretary that he seemed to be a person in need of help and I had put him in touch with some of our church folk for this purpose!”
“During December when I had tried to convey to him the breadth and importance of our future and the many things which are needing to be done by an active Director that I disclosed to him the 9-months work I had done on religious ceremonies and the file which I had built up of comments made by those within the various churches. All though this files were undertakings by me in response to suggestions from the contributors that the next stage was a highly confidential ecumenical conference without any publicity of any kind so that those who were concerned with this question could evolve some sort of recommendation which could be made through the churches and come from within. You know how this got treated – a wide press circulation and a sermon in Norfolk with blazoned headlines. When I protest and said this had broken confidence I was told by the Chairman and other trustees that this was not so, however, while they had all read the sermon, not one of them had taken the trouble to read the file.
This was only one item of many where damage was done by public statements – the article in Sparticus [sic] referred to on Saturday as being derogatory to the Trust was, in fact, one engineered by Michael and given by him and consisted of quotes from his comments. In this, of course, we had the business of adverse publicity to St. Katherine’s where we had promised Father Hoey that this would never happen. “
In fact, he gave the article because he thought he was going to get money (in a big way) from Stamford. It was a fait accompli before we knew anything about it – inspite of the fact that, give Antony his due, he had resisted (Antony I mean) having any reference to A.T. in Sparticus because of its circulation, and the nature of the publication.”
Monday 19th July: Committee Room 3 at the House of Lords
“Held at the House of Lords on Monday 19th July at the invitation of the Chairman of the Trustees, Lord Beaumont, to discuss the future of the Trust. While it was not suggested that the Trust should not continue, consideration was given to transferring its casework to another organisation. The meeting was an advisory one only, during which the Chairman (Peter Righton?) outlined the establishment of the ACCESS and following which the Trustees held their own meeting to come to a decision.”[ii]
Dr Charlotte Wolff’s notes of her attendance at the meeting, those who spoke and how positive or negative their response to hers and Peter Righton’s suggestions are held at the Wellcome Library [PSY/Wol/4/1].
At the close of the meeting Wolff noted:
“Lord B much thanked M de la Noy for his great application and devotion to his task. De La Noy mentioned he had been fired from his previous job because of his outspokenness about sex. Lord B much sympathised with him.”
Dr Charlotte Wolff (ACCESS invitee, later Albany Trustee)
At 11.30am the following Monday 26th July, a week after attending the emergency Albany Trust meeting at the House of Lords, Dr Charlotte Wolff answered her phone to Michael De La Noy and had a conversation she took the trouble to transcribe.
MdlN: “Lord Beaumont asked me to phone you and arrange a meeting with Michael Schofield and myself about the referral of the cases – I gather you stand in for Mr Righton’s practice
Dr C.W: “Yes but nothing can happen for about 3 months – could you not wait until Peter Righton is back – It would only be theoretical what we could discuss
MdlN: I know that it would only be theoretical but it would help me – Michael Schofield would prefer afternoons. Could you meet us this week?”
Cr C.W. No I cannot. Perhaps next Monday or Thursday 4pm at the Albany Trust. Ask Mr Schofield and ring me back.
MdlN: Yes. Thank you.
Phone call finished – I thought this is odd – Doreen must come with me – It is entirely her comain – And I felt insecure that my words might be twisted by de la Noy and even by Schofield – I need a witness apart from anything else
Rang Doreen at once
She immediately suggested to come with me – I – You took the words right out of my mouth – That is what I want – D They may try to pull a fast one over you – We decided to phone Michael to tell him that I bring Doreen
The phone constantly engaged I phone Michael Schofield.
He hardly spoke – anything else but a rather discourteous yes or no. His attitude a great surprise to me. I told him I wish to bring D.
MS: No you cannot – they don’t get on
Dr CW: They have to communicate anyway. D is doing the whole ?
MS: Excitedly – No he won’t communicate with her – A Secretary can do this. He is ?? to do that
Dr CW: Do you remember my ?talk? with you a few months ago – I told you he is altogether ??. But as long as he is Director, he will have to communicate with D – He has to send files and documents. A secretary could not do this – on her own.
MS: Yes she can.
Dr CW: Well it is for Righton’s and my wish that D is ?? …and this interview is for her more than for me
MS: [WG?] are you difficult
Dr CW: Not at all – I shall be delighted to come with D.
MS: I call the meeting off
Dr CW: Fine, then you wait for Peter Righton
MS: (A faint) Yes.
Dr CW: Goodbye
And yet a week after Dr Charlotte Wolff’s awkward conversations with De La Noy and Michael Schofield, Lord Beaumont sent a further circular to the Friends suggesting a smooth transfer was in hand, and Righton would have control over the Trust’s counseling casework by Christmas 1971.
“The Trustees (and I am glad to tell you that Edgar Wright has accepted an invitation to re-join the Board) have decided to carry on the work of the Albany Trust as defined in the Trust Deed and to run down the case of referral work over the next three months. To this end Michael Schofield and Michael De-La-Noy will be having talks with Michael Butler, Peter Righton and Dr Wolff to see what alternative arrangements can be made.”
[ii] PSY/WOL/4/1 Wellcome Archives 21 September ACCESS minutes
[iii] PSY/Wol/4/1 Wellcome Archives Doreen Cordell correspondence file