During spring 1976, on 7th January, 18th February, 24th March and 22nd April, the Albany Trust’s Antony Grey gathered together a mix of pedophiles from PIE and PAL and a few psychiatrists and family planning medical specialists to brainstorm ideas.
Following Harold Haywood O.B.E’s declared intent to alleviate the sufferings of pedophiles and push for social acceptability in the wake of Charles Hornby’s conviction, he wanted to know how could the Albany Trust help PIE and PAL? An ongoing support group? Counselling? Sponsorship? A Pamphlet? Sexual Offenders?
For assisting with an ongoing group for pedophiles:
“Harold Haywood said that if this was intended to provide ongoing interprative (sic) and supporting help, the Albany Trust would endeavour to provide suitable participants if requested. Also the Trust would welcome referrals for individual counselling.” [Minutes, 24 March 1976, see below]
The Trust were already providing help to sexual offenders via NACRO and the Home Office,
“Albany Trust representatives reported that they were already in touch with NACRO and the Home Office over the provision of help for sexual offenders. The need to make voluntary agencies such as the Samaritans better informed about the difficulties of paedophiles was also raised, and it was felt that it was also necessary to draw in more individuals and agencies to share in the work envisaged.”
the Albany Trust were simultaneously working on (with the assistance of PIE and PAL) ways to decriminalise adult sexual activity with children and the thorny issue of how to make paedophilia more acceptable to the wider public – a dual function which was surely a recipe for disaster in terms of entrenching offenders in their own warped belief system? The language used is in itself telling, avoiding any sense of personal responsibility because adult pedophiles were ‘made’ to be ‘potential victims’ by the law of consent.
Were NACRO and the Home Office (who via the Voluntary Services Unit were already bankrolling the Trust with a £10k p.a. grant for 3 years) aware of the Trust’s dual approaches?
“The need to work towards greater awareness of the sexuality of children was emphasised. Until this was accepted as valid, any sexual activities in which children engaged would continue to be regarded as ‘child molestation’ and ‘corruption’. The legal position relating to consent, while ostensibly protective was felt to make potential victims not only of adult paedophiles but also of nearly all children when they engaged in sexual experimentation and were found out in doing so. Public opinion – and especially medical opinion – was felt to be crucial on this issue. It needed to be emphasised that there were more positive ways of protecting children in their period of sexual development than through the criminal law.”
In Keith Hose’s response to the Criminal Law Review Commission in 1975 a civil system had been recommended following Dr John Robinson, Bishop of Woolwich’s initial proposal on the age of consent being turned into an age for protection bounded by civil enforcement alone.
A familiar name is Iain Melville of PAL, who had been featured in the Sunday People expose of PAL on 25 May 1975 (excerpted below), over 6 months prior to being invited to the Albany Trust’s Paedophile forum. Meville was reported as having trained as a teacher and worked for two local authorities as a child welfare officer, with a particular interest in boys under the age of 10 and a knack for worming his way into the confidence of officials running children’s homes,
“They’ll think you might donate a TV set or something and they’ll fall over themselves to offer you a kid,” he told a PAL meeting. [Spotlightonabuse.com The Vilest Men in Britain, Sunday People, 25 May 1975]
David Bloomfield, aged 28-30, who while working at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers at 1 Birdcage Walk not only had an office view of St James’s Park with children playing which he boasted about, he also had a vantage point over the entry point into the park from Parliament Square which he didn’t boast about.
“In the 1970s Smith was arrested on a number of occasions in public toilets in London’s St James’s Park, a regular haunt for young male prostitutes after dark, but always walked free.”
Warren Middleton (aka John Parratt) Paedophiles jailed after 3,000 abuse drawings found [The Guardian 15 July 2011]
Keith Hose (Chairman of PIE and NCCL Gay Rights Committee member) https://ianpace.wordpress.com/tag/keith-hose/ and also https://bitsofbooksblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/1974-75-keith-hoses-concurrent-nccl-pie-roles/
In typewritten notes of the group’s addresses and a list of who to invite to attend, the only clue as to which organisation Ian Bell is from is his name crossed out and replaced with that of Chad Varah’s the Founder of The Samaritans, appointed by the Grocer’s Company at St Stephen’s Walbrook – to whom Rev. Michael Butler of the Albany Trust (sometimes styled as ‘Counselling Trustee’) had long been Deputy Director of the Samaritans. The meeting did discuss the need for the Samaritans to be knowledgeable about the difficulties of pedophiles. Chad Varah’s appointment at St Stephen’s Walbrook came under control of the Grocer’s Company and their Patron – the Queen Mother.
Dr Fay Hutchinson had been advising teenagers since opening the first Youth Advisory Centre for the Family Planning Association 1964 in Ilford and then Leytonstone, rising to become Medical Spokesman for the Brook Advisory Centres. [Obituary, Journal of Family Planning & Reproductive Healthcare, 2009: 35(4)]
In the seating notes below John Heather is identified on the seating plan as ‘Secretary, PAL’ sitting to the right of Harold Haywood.
Sitting on Haywood’s left was John Holmstrom, a 48 year old former BBC Radio 3 presenter and theatre critic for the New Statesman where the Homosexual Law Reform Society’s C. R. Hewitt (former policeman Bill Hewitt) had worked on the editorial staff from 1964 – 1970. Holmstrom was also great friends with the theatrical agent Peggy Ramsay who had as two of her clients J.B. Priestly (one of the founding members of the Albany Trust along with his wife Jacquetta Hawkes, the Trust being named after the ‘set’ in Albany, Piccadilly the group first met in) and Jo Orton. Holmstrom’s play ‘A Quaint Honour’ focused on a prefect being ‘dared’ to seduce another boy by his fag and in doing so falls in love.
“The play was championed by the influential theatrical agent Peggy Ramsay, who arranged for it to be produced at the Arts Theatre Club in London, which was beyond the jurisdiction of the Lord Chamberlain, who then had powers of censorship.” [The Stage, Obituary for John Holmstrom, 2013]
In March 1976 5 of the 10 present at February’s meeting attend (Melville & Heather from PAL, Grey and Haywood for Albany Trust and Dr Fay Hutchinson with no PIE attendees present) as well as Dr Maurice Yaffe, Principal Clinical Psychologist at Guy’s Hospital.
In 1979 the British Report of the Committee on Obscenity and Film Censorship, chaired by Professor Bernard Williams, came to conclusions about the evidence very similar to those reached by the U.S. commission in 1970. Specifically it concluded that “it is still possible to say, as Mr Yaffe points out in his updated review, that there does not appear to be any strong evidence that exposure to sexually explicit material triggers off anti-social behaviour’ (Williams, 1979, p.66) [quote from Pornography and Sexual Aggression edited by Neil M. Malamuth, p143-144]
Dr Maurice Yaffe (who updated the Appendix of Lord Longford’s Pornography Report 1972 for the benefit of the Committee somehow?) presented evidence to the Williams Committee that there were no links evidenced between viewing pornography and acting on it to the harm of others.
“In a factsheet prepared by the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), the organisation observed that teachers, clergymen, scoutmasters and youth workers were particularly prone to “child love”. It said: “Paedophiles are naturally drawn to work involving children, for which many of them have extraordinary talent and devotion (often they are also the ones the children value most). If this field were to be ‘purged’, there would be a damaging reduction of people left to do the work.”
Maurice Yaffe, a senior clinical psychologist, identified the same four professions in an article for a medical pamphlet, saying “it is fair to say that a high proportion will have sought out positions” in these fields.”
[The Times, July 23rd, 2014, Dominic Kennedy, ‘How paedophiles gained access to establishment by work with the young; Child sex campaigners boasted the education system could not cope without them’ – see further Desiring Progress blog for more well-referenced material on Maurice Yaffe]
Dr Yaffe had been invited to (and attended at least one, possibly two since 7th January minutes are currently unlocated) of the Albany Trust’s meetings with pedophiles, organised to draft the fact sheet (or an A5 Booklet titled Paedophilia: Some Questions & Answers – a copy of which MPs received in their House of Commons’ pigeon holes during April 1977 while the Protection of Children Bill was in its last stages) so perhaps a degree of transference or repetition between the ‘findings’ of Yaffe and the PIE/PAL/Albany Trust co-drafting group are to be expected.
On 22nd April the final spring meeting took place for the co-drafting team to brainstorm ideas for the Paedophilia public information pamphlet, which would eventually target MPs during the passage of the Protection of Children Bill in April 1978
And there I think I might have as much of an answer as to who ‘John’ of the Albany Trust/PIE/PAL drafting committee as I’m likely to reach. It could still potentially be the John Heather, PAL Secretary, about whom I know very little. But I suspect John Holmstrom’s departure from the boys’ clothing business in 1975 was not entirely financial such was his interest in boys aged 7 – 14, the precise age range to which his series of shops ‘Colts’ catered, and combined with his celebrity (even if faded by the mid 70s and of the radio sort) added the need and frisson of secrecy that both Antony Grey and Tom O’Carroll wished to allude to.