Dec 1971/January 1972: Father Trevor Huddleston’s patronage & Righton’s ‘enforced’ resignation

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ACCESS Minutes, 8 December 1971, PSY/WOL/4/1 p1.


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ACCESS Minutes, 8 December 1971, PSY/WOL/4/1 p2

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ACCESS Minutes, 8 December 1971, PSY/WOL/4/1 p3




Within 9 months of starting ACCESS Righton’s ‘enforced withdrawal’ from Chairmanship takes place due to potential adverse publicity  – just after The Times announces him as Director-Designate heading up a two-man team at the National Children’s Bureau. [

On 8th December ACCESS met at the National Institute of Social Work with only 5 attendees: Peter Righton (Chair), Doreen Cordell (Secretary), Rev. Malcolm Johnson, David Allen (Honorary treasurer, formerly in same role for Albany Trust but left due to Michael De La Noy), and Dr Theo Schlict. Looking at the minutes, it may be that Righton had already wished to make the announcement that he had been forced to step down as Chairman at the 8th December meeting but due to the poor attendance held back his news on being ‘forced’ to step down along with Claire Raynor’s resignation.

“In spite of there being so few members present it was agreed to proceed with the business of the meeting owing to the urgency of the situation and as there was no defined quorum at this stage.”…

Item 4. The Chairman’s opening remarks were brief, the main content of what he had wished to say being deferred to the next meeting at which it was hoped more members would be present.”

On taking advice from their honorary solicitor (Ambrose Appelbe – also Hon. Solicitor for the Albany Trust) regarding redrafting their application for charitable status with a more medical emphasis, all due to a disappointing reply from the Charity Commission, Peter Righton suggests seeking the patronage of Father Trevor Huddleston, Bishop of Stepney for Vice President “or some other honorary office”.

Father Trevor Huddleston (Bishop of Stepney) shows an interest in Peter Righton’s new counselling outfit via Canon Eric James

[see Blog Post: Trevor Huddleston & Others: Famous Mr X and the Rule of Law 25/11/2014]

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Anti-apartheid campaigning Huddleston was the subject of headlines planned and then spiked by John Junor of the Sunday Express during mid 1974, (less than two and a half years after Righton’s suggestion to seek his patronage for ACCESS on Total Sexuality). When accused of ‘sexually harassing’ two school age boys by their mother, both the Bishop of London and the prebendary of Fleet Street’s St Brides got together to quash John Junor’s threat to publish an article.

Huddleston’s obituary for the Independent, written by former Albany Director Michael De La Noy (who gives the impression of a man intent on blackmailing Lord Beaumont and Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey), stated Trevor was moved from Stepney to the Indian Ocean of Mauritius in 1978 to ‘hush up a scandal which will raise a few eyebrows today.” De La Noy appears to have been someone who never shied away from an opportunity to point to what he knew about Anglican prelates’ sexual proclivities in print.

All the South African intelligence service BOSS’s files on Trevor had been shredded according to Canon Eric James who searched for them when writing his biography of Huddleston during the 1990s.

“5. Charitable Status: Discussion ensued on such other help as could be obtained and the Chairman suggested arranging an appointment with the Bishop of Stepney, who had already shown interest in ACCESS through Canon Eric James, with a view to inviting him to become associated with ACCESS. The Chairman’s suggestion was approved and discussion ensued on the possibility and advisability of inviting the Bishop to become a Patron or Vice President or some other honorary office…

5b. An approach to be made to the Bishop of Stepney and Professor Lafitte in the first instance to become associated with ACCESS on the lines indicated above.”

Jack Profumo secures Righton’s Counselling Group rooms at Toynbee Hall

“6. Toynbee Hall: ” It was reported that a letter had been received from the Resident Director of Attlee House, Mr Richard Pentney, dated 23rd November 1971, on behalf of the Warden of Toynbee Hall and himself.”

The Warden of Toynbee Hall was Jack profumo, who Doreen and Righton had met during October/November [insert link to post on Lord Beaumont’s Letter(s) & Peter Righton meets Jack Profumo). Remarkable to think of Macmillan’s former Secretary of War sorting premises for where MI5 blocked Dr Robert Chartham/Ronald Seth and Peter Righton sought to take over the Albany Trust’s counselling case files, all as part of his atoning ‘good deeds’.

What Profumo did next (The Telegraph, 17 November 2003)

 January 1972: ACCESS needs a new Chairman

By Monday 24th January 1972, Doreen Cordell was looking for nominations for a new Chairman for ACCESS.

“I would refer to my note about Mr Righton’s enforced withdrawal from the Chairmanship of ACCESS and our request that nominations should be received by me prior to the next meeting, at which Dr Theo Schlict has agreed to take the chair.”

Dr Chartham/Ronald Seth, although unable to attend because Wednesday was his clinic day (where?), appeared keen to take the reins but wasn’t available until July and wanted Dr Theo Schlict while on sabbatical (from Royal Northern Hospital, Holloway Road?) to take temporary charge



In a letter to (later to be Albany Trustee) Dr Charlotte Wolff, Doreen writes also on 24 January 1972:
“I am hoping that Peter will retain the Chairmanship of the Counselling & Training sub committee (which does not necessitate public identification and is essentially his special sphere) because this is very important and it is vital that we get a training scheme off the ground and that we establish a reliable roster of vetted people to help at Toynbee.” [My emphasis]
No trace of irony from Doreen using the term vetted in the same sentence as Righton and his ‘enforced’ resignation.

“At the January meeting Dr Schlict agreed to take the Chair, at least for the time being. We did not proceed to electing Robert into the Deputy Chair because we only had a small number and it was felt that this should be done, if at all, with a more representative group. I also explained how you felt about things, which was understood. Claire Raynor insisted to Peter that her resignation went forward so we accepted that.”

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Doreen Cordell writing to Dr Charlotte Wolff, 1 February 1972 [Wellcome PSY/WOL/4/1]

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“Peter has retained the Chair of the Counselling & Training Sub Committee, thank goodness, and as, you know, it only comprised Theo, Michael Butler and Peter…”
On 26th January 1972 Dr Theo Schlict took over as Chair of ACCESS and David Allen, Peter Righton, Rev Malcolm Johnson and Mrs Doreen Cordell all attended. Claire Raynor’s resignation was finally announced having been given to Righton before the 8th December meeting, and one room at Toynbee Hall was ready with the telephone connected as promised, radio

“i. Mr Righton outlined the situation which had arisen in connection with his new appointment which precipitated his enforced resignation as Chairman. He re-affirmed that this did not imply any loss of interest or confidence in ACCESS or the cause it sought to promote and he was willing, subject to the concurrence of the members, to remain on the committee to give such service as he could as an ordinary member. He expressed thanks to Dr Schlict for agreeing to preside in the emergency.”

ii. Nominations for the Office of Chairman Members had been circulated as to the situation and nominations had been called for.

A letter was read from Dr Chartham nominating Dr Schlict and it was reported that others had made this suggestion. Dr Chartham expressed the hope that Dr Schlict would consider taking Office permanently but if he did not, he offered himself for the position as from next July, subject to the approval of the committee, suggesting that Dr Schlict might consider taking Office in the interim.”

Righton’s step down appears to be related to the need to stress that membership of ACCESS was done ‘on a personal basis rather than on a representative basis of any other organisation’. How had his new appointment at the National Children’s Bureau precipitated his resignation? Had  this been requested as a condition of his appointment at the National Children’s Bureau? And if so, how and whose decision at the NCB had it been to ask Righton to step down?

Another consequence of Righton’s step down was that he’d not been able to approach the Bishop of Stepney and it was therefore decided Rev. Malcolm Johnson would do this.

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ACCESS minutes 26 January 1972, p.1

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ACCESS minutes, 26 January 1972 p.2


Meanwhile back at the Albany Trust, Edgar Wright (Antony Grey) was firmly back in control and Dr John Robinson, former Bishop of Woolwich and Dean of Trinity College, Cambridge was putting the case for the age of consent to be lowered to 14

The Times, July 6th, 1972 Basil Gingell, ‘Dr Robinson puts case for age of consent to be 14′ – Dr John Robinson, Bishop of Woolwich, Dean of Trinity College, Cambridge

Albany Trust, Access, Peter Righton, Dr Robert Chartham (aka Ronald Seth) and MI5

Antony Grey’s 1992 ‘ Quest for Justice: Towards Homosexual Emancipation’ makes but one mention of Peter Righton by name (see below) but by 1971 Peter Righton was very involved with counselling work at the Albany Trust bringing him into contact with many important and influential people, as had his employment as lecturer for MA Social Work for the National Institute of Social Work (NISW – Room 11).

Antony Grey: Quest for Justice, Loc 3318/6001

Antony Grey: Quest for Justice, Loc 3318/6001

Antony Grey: Quest for Justice, Loc 3318/6001 – Peter Righton compiled York Social Needs Conference 1970 survey, published by NCSS Bedford Square Press 1973

During 1971 there was a curious incident which looks a lot like an attempt at a coup to gain control of the Trust’s counselling casefiles, providing valuable blackmail material in alternative hands. When the then Director, Michael De La Noy, dismissed the one paid member of staff (Doreen Cordell, a social worker from Streatham) and called a Chubb locksmith to break into the filing cabinets, Doreen vowed to fight for her 3 months’ pay in lieu of notice and when she won, use it to fund 3 months of her time continuing with her counselling casework privately.

This she did, by which time she’d become so close to Peter Righton (who’d spent time with her over Christmas 1970 at the Trust’s Shaftesbury Avenue offices counselling clients when De La Noy had first arrived – prior to Doreen’s dismissal) that by May 1971, together they’d resolved to set up an alternative counselling charity to take over Albany Trust’s counselling work. The counselling charity was called ACCESS – designed to embrace and support ‘Total Sexuality’. Righton was its Chairman and Cordell its Secretary.

Joint letter from Peter Righton & Doreen Cordell re ACCESS, 11 May 1971

Joint letter from Peter Righton & Doreen Cordell re ACCESS, 11 May 1971

Invitees to June 1971 ACCESS meeting including Dr Robert Chartham

Invitees to June 1971 ACCESS meeting including Dr Robert Chartham

Agenda for June 1971 inaugural meeting of ACCESS, Peter Righton Chairman

Agenda for June 1971 inaugural meeting of ACCESS, Peter Righton Chairman

One of the eight invitees to the inaugural meeting  was a Dr Robert Chartham of Ashford Kent. Along with Dr Theo Schlicht (whose son was Australian painter Rollin Schlicht) and Dr Charlotte Wolff (who later became an Albany Trustee), Dr Chartham  was named on the draft Charitable Trust Deed for ACCESS.

ACCESS Charitable Trust Deed

ACCESS Charitable Trust Deed

ACCESS charitable trust deed p.2

ACCESS charitable trust deed p.2

Dr Robert Chartham was considered to be a ‘sexologist’ and became Consultant Editor to Bob Guccione’s Penthouse Forum where he advertised methods for penis enlargement and erectile dysfunction such as vacuum pumps. These methods were challenged as a fraudulent scam in the States, resulting in a June 1977 decision against Dr Chartham’s claims.

However, Chartham’s real name was Ronald Sydney Seth as detailed in a recent article by PhD Candidate at the University of East Anglia,  Ben Wheatley, published in November 2013 in the Journal of Intelligence History

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Ben Wheatley’s article precis tells us:

MI5’s investigation of Ronald Sydney Seth, SOE’s Agent Blunderhead and the SD’s Agent 22D: Loyal British agent or Nazi double agent?

This article charts the colourful wartime career of Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent Ronald Sydney Seth and presents for the first time the subsequent investigation into his wartime conduct by MI5. Seth, as Agent Blunderhead, was parachuted into German-occupied Estonia late in 1942 to destroy the country’s vital shale oil plants. Upon landing, Seth was swiftly captured and offered to work for the Germans as a double agent. In April 1945, Seth was sent over the German border into Switzerland as SD Agent 22D, where he promptly presented the British with sensational peace terms from Himmler. This article presents the British security services’ remarkable conclusions and indicates that, in their opinion, Seth was ‘spiritually so much under German domination that he intends to work for an Anglo-German understanding and an anti-Russian policy after the war’, had ‘not told us all about the services he rendered to the Germans’, was of ‘unbalanced character and rabidly anti-Soviet’, ‘extremely untruthful’, prone to ‘megalomania’ and that ‘neither his loyalty to this country nor his discretion were all that could be desired’. Seth was also considered to be a post-war security threat whose job opportunities should be restricted. Despite these revelations, Seth was never prosecuted and was able to become a successful post-war espionage author. This article explains how these seemingly obvious contradictions came to pass.

Despite the 3rd SIS Interrogation report in May 1945 considering  Seth/Chartman  a man who needed to be kept an eye on as a post-war security threat and the vetoing of various potential postings, following his departure from the RAF he went on to become a teacher (where?) and publish his 1952 memoirs ‘ A Spy Has No Friends’ along with a number of other books.
Journal of British Intelligence, 4 November 2013, p.60

Journal of British Intelligence, 4 November 2013, p.60

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But in particular one book of Seth’s published in 1969, two years before his involvement with Righton and the ACCESS counselling charity caught my eye: Children Against Witches, where he discussed his view of the inherent unreliability of children’s testimony against the backdrop of Europe’s witch hunts.

By 1985 Macmillan were publishing Seth’s series of children’s travel books titled “Let’s go to…” providing an introduction to countries such as Malta.
It would be interesting to know whether MI5 continued to keep a vague eye on Seth/Chartham and his pro Anglo-German/anti-Soviet sentiments throughout his involvement with Righton and ACCESS.
If anyone has any further information on Ronald Seth’s career post Special Operations Executive and RAF I’d be grateful for any leads/recommended reading.