1979: DES employee writes to Grey over concern for ‘Johnny Go Homes’

In the months before the 3rd May 1979 General Election when Thatcher swept to power ousting Callaghan’s Labour government, and the 3 year DES grant for the Albany Trust’s ‘Experimental Project’ on ‘Youth and Sexuality’ was coming to an end, Antony Grey was in correspondence with a civil servant employee of the Department of Education & Science concerning ‘health education’ and concerns over the future of governmental policy in this area. It was a concern that would be well-founded, judging by the DES cool response to the Albany Trust’s Youth Worker report on the experiment in January 1980.


On 22 February 1979, John Alexander, writes to Antony Grey on departmental notepaper:

“I greatly enjoyed our time together on 22 February and only regret that, by the nature of things, it was not possible or expedient with all of us present to deal, in greater detail, with central government implications on the topic of our discussion. As you may have realised I am on sabbatical leave until the end of March and so I was in no way expressing the view of DES. “

John wishes to return the invitation of lunch to Antony in order to discuss Grey’s recent article published in the New Humanist [which Grey publishes in Speaking Law Sex & Politics here ] which championed the work of several of Albany Trust’s trustees such as Quaker QC Keith Wedmore’s 1963 Towards a Quaker View of Sex and the Anglican ‘South Bank’ theologians such as Dr John Robertson (Bishop of Woolwich), Bishop of Southwark (Mervyn Stockwood) and Canon Eric James (later HM Chaplain to the Queen – here in 1971 promising patronage to Peter Righton along with the Bishop of Stepney )

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“I assume you had read my article in New Society (written under a pseudonym because of my civil servant status) which, though drastically cut when it comes to refer to health education aspects, nevertheless attempts to draw attention to the plight of the younger males.

I am convinced that, in spite of continued opposition and obstruction – and inactivity – we can achieve much by merely keeping-up the battle.”


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New Society, 29 June 1979, Robert Spittal (nom de paedophile plume of HMI )

Grey hasn’t archived his reply of 27 February 1979, but John Alexander responds enthusiastically suggesting dates to meet in April despite his time being less free now he has resumed his inspectorial duties – as an inspector for the DES is he inspecting schools in the days before Ofsted or inspecting other institutions falling under the remit of DES?

John will try and tie in a meeting at DES in the afternoon on the day Antony is available to meet him for lunch in Central London “thus making an effective working day”.

“Nevertheless I consider our discussions of importance in the field of Health Education and would wish to keep in touch with your thinking as well as with associated developments e.g. the film.”

and encloses his article on runaway boys or ‘Johnny Go Homes’ (as he calls them) and their habit of leaving comfortable, well-provided lives in the country to travel to London where some of them act as decoys to lure unsuspecting older men into being robbed down dark alleyways.

John protests that despite the ‘eye-catcher opener’ dwelling on the details of boy and young male prostitution at Piccadilly Circus, New Society had cut the rest of the article which went on to consider the kind of measures and research in health education to address ‘Johnny Go Homes’.

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30 March 1979

“In the event it is only the first part with a tiny reference to possible action which was published. It did, at any rate, lead to some interesting correspondence and enable me to use these leads as a lever to force some HMI/DES thinking about the subject. Unfortunately everyone seems pleasantly interested but determined to take no action or even further discussion.”

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6 April 1979


“There seems to have been a stunning silence since we met the film team and the others but I am horrified at the electioneering in Bournemouth by one of the candidates in strong opposition to CHE etc. Of course a geriatric area like this is more likely to foster these narrow views e.g. last week’s outburst in the council about male gays at Shell Bay and seeking to allow only female nudes on that reserved beach!”

At Shell Bay you could watch the ferries departing from Poole Harbour on their way to Jersey ‘s St Helier or Cherbourg in France, winding their way past Brownsea Island, the home of Baden-Powell’s first youth experiment of his own in establishing a Scout Camp on 1 -8 August 1907 to test his ideas he was developing for his book Scouting for Boys http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownsea_Island_Scout_camp 

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In 1979 the MP for Bournemouth East for the past 2 years had been Conservative David Atkinson MP (who was to hold the constituency successfully for 28 years from 1977 – 2005).

The wife who discovered her perfect family was built on a lie: A football star’s gay confession, an agonised call to her Tory MP husband – and Susan’s world collapsed [Daily Mail, 19 July 2014]

‘My father was a sexual predator like Jimmy Savile’ says son of former Tory MP’: The son of a Conservative MP has built up his own dossier on his father and a wider circle of friends [Telegraph, 20 July 2014]

“Mr Atkinson, 37, an illustrator, decided to speak out after becoming increasingly concerned about his father’s behaviour and his wider circle of acquaintances. David Atkinson was MP for Bournemouth East for almost 28 years before stepping down in 2005.”

“His son has compiled a dossier of his own on his father. In it he writes: “In the research work that I have done… it is clear that my father was associated with some very dangerous people.””

“Other suspicions, which fuel Mr Atkinson’s concerns about his father, cannot be repeated in The Telegraph for legal reasons. There is nothing in the evidence so far gathered by Mr Atkinson that offers any clear proof that his father had had sex with under-age children.”

“But I think my father got mixed up with the wrong people. I think he didn’t want anybody to find out he was gay and used that to influence him. He liked young men.”

“He said his father kept ‘meticulous’ notes of his every day activities in House of commons pocket diaries. Mr Atkinson does not have access to his father’s diaries.”


The Attack on Sleaze: How apartheid regime set out to woo Tories: Patricia Wynn Davies tells the story of the firm which gave MPs a South African perspective [Independent, 26 October 1994]

Part of the same scene were London dinners sponsored by Unita. One MP guest-list included such figures as Robert Atkins, now minister for the environment and countryside, John Carlile, Mr Colvin and David Atkinson, who led an SNI delegation to observe the Angolan peace process in 1992, a year before the firm closed.


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