Michael De La Noy was sacked from his position as Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey’s Press Officer for publishing an article in New Society on 4 June 1970. De La Noy helpfully reprinted the article as an Appendix in his 1971 account of his sacking ‘A Day in the Life of God’.
De La Noy provided some identifying details about ‘Leslie’ giving his age as 67, so born in 1902/3, meaning in 1916 or thereabouts he would have attended Roman Catholic public school until 1921, trained at Sandhurst and become a regular soldier in India during 1920s, but more significantly he revealed the man was:
– a current civil service worker in a government ministry, who had previously worked for 20 years for the Ministry of Defence
– living in a run-down bedsit in Earl’s Court;
– who was writing ‘improper stories’, lending them to people in his own terrible (and identifiable) handwriting and not getting them back [blackmail alert!]
– “I don’t think anybody at work knows anything about me. If they did, I think some of them would be rather shocked. I hope I’m hoodwinking people. I would like people at work to think of me as a normal person. Actually, I’d like it if they were all abnormal like me. That would be very agreeable.”
When Doreen Cordell and the rest of ACCESS were fretting about the use of Albany Trust counselling case files by Michael De La Noy to publish ‘human interest’ stories during their October 1971 ACCESS committee meetings, this may have been precisely the kind of article they were thinking of.
One remaining serious matter was the question of the records which had already been discussed in committee. It was already known that if this issue was raised it would cause great difficulty so far as the trust was concerned.
The Chairman enquired if Dr Chartham had received a reply to the letter he had sent to Lord Beaumont which he had read to the last meeting to which Dr Chartham stated that Lord Beaumont had agreed with its entire contents. He had had a subsequent letter which was private and confidential.
The concern of ACCESS in the record situation was related to its takeover of the casework complete and the possibility that this material would be used for publication purposes without the consent of those involved. Dr Schlict added his concern since he had written confidentially in greater detail than he would normally do to an agency on certain cases. [October 1971 ACCESS Minutes]
Born in 1934
Aged 17 leaves school and works part-time in a boys’ club
In 1954, aged 20 he joined the staff of a remand home.
In 1955 he becomes a journalist and until 1959 reports adult and juvenile courts
Becomes a leader of an experimental mixed club in Bethnal Green
In 1962 aged 26/27 he becomes Lord Beaumont’s Assistant Editor at Prism
In 1965 aged 30 De La Noy writes Young Once Only, a first person account of the history and his time spent at Northorpe Hall, a non-residential weekend centre for boys and turns into an experiment with boys on probation run in close co-operation with the Leeds probation service but itself outside any statutory provision.
“During that fortnight (at Malvern – my edit) it seemed to the staff of Children’s Relief International that some sort of meaningful relationship had been established between the adults and boys.”
“Children’s Relief International at Overstream House, Cambridge, was founded in 1959 with the object of helping deprived children regardless of nationality or creed. Its general policy is to aid existing organisations or to found new ones, with the eventual intention that they shall become self-supporting under the umbrella of CRI. The directors of Children’s Relief International are Bernard Faithfull-Davies, Bruce Duncan, George Roberts, and Sylvia White. The Archbishop of Canterbury is patron.Northorpe Hall became a CRI project in 1962 with Bruce Duncan as director. In 1963 the Northorpe Hall trust was formed so that Northorpe Hall could become an autonomous charity. The Trustees are Bernard Faithfull-Davies, Ralph Cleworth QC, Joseph Hiley MP, and William Hill-Wood.”
“There is one boy living at Northorpe Hall on a permanent residential basis, whose case history, response to Northorpe Hall, and possible future would have made particularly interesting material. But because of his unique position, this you would be instantly identifiable, and out of respect for Clive I ave decided to omit any reference to him. In the final chapter however, I do touch in general terms on the implications of making Northorpe Hall partly residential.” [Preface]
“It is, of course, possible to take a rather more idealistic – but no more helpful – view of Northorpe Hall. ‘When I think of Northorpe Hall I think of our Lady, holding the house in her hand and surrounded by roses’, a member of the Community of Resurrection, whose Mother House is a mile or so up the road at Mirfield, told Bruce Duncan one day!’ [p.23]
“Thanks to the Variety Club of Great Britain there is even less chance than previously of boredom. The Club has donated £1,750 for a playroom, which has been built in the garden, and will also serve as a meeting-room and a cinema.” [p.27]
“On Sunday mornings the boys go to a parish communion at one of the local churches. For almost all of them it is their only contact with the Church and like most children they enjoy the hymn-singing and the ritual. The initial magic of organised religion has led to at least three boys seeking Confirmation. The oratory is used by the staff for matins and evensong, and is available to the boys for private prayer. The walls, once covered with twentieth-century phallic symbols, were stripped and repointed, and are now the original stone of the house. ….The chairs have been loaned by the Community of Resurrection. The Bishop of Wakefield has lent a chalice and paten and has made a gift of a wooden Cross and candle-sticks from his private chapel.”[p.28]
“Upstairs which can be got at from either the dining-room or the kitchen – in which case you are immediately in the bathroom – is the boys’ dormitory, an arrangement of eight beds in two tiers, an oratory off the bedroom, the housekeeper’s bed sitting-room and a bathroom and a spare bedroom at present used by a boy who is fully residential.” [p.24]
“The psychiatric social worker on the case committee confirmed for me that the kind of boy most likely to benefit from Northorpe Hall was a boy who needed a father figure to relate to, one who was perhaps over-disciplined at home by an unloving, stern father, who was an only child over-valued by his mother, or an only son.” [p.97]“To cut a very long story, short, Edgar somehow or other landed up at Northorpe Hall via the child guidance clinic and the girl guides! From the age of 12 Edgar had been seducing men all over Leeds at an alarming rate (the final total varies between sixty-seven and one hundred and sixty-seven, but any final statistics seem somehow irrelevant after, say, the fifty mark.) He went through a rather more than normally intoxicated stage of putting his arms around other boys at school and kissing them. He took to dress-up in his mother’s clothes and to wearing her lipstick, and even declared a desire to join the girl guides. After two years of closely examining Edgar’s case his child guidance cline supervisor noted: ‘He is clearly suffering from certain maladjustments. A woman probation officer put it another way. ‘The trouble is’, she told me, ‘these psychos are as twisted as the children and somewhere out on cloud nine.’ [what psychos? the men Edgar is ‘seducing’? sentence seems odd bit of a non sequitur]
Be that as it may, Edgar was selected for Northorpe Hall (this was before the days of the case committee). Within a couple of minutes he was hard at work trying to seduce one of the male staff. It was perfectly obvious to this man that Edgar was pathologically homosexual and in urgent need of help. In retrospect I think it is fair to say he handled the situation brilliantly and bold, fraught with dangers as it was. It was considered that on no account must Edgar be rejected outright, or he would deny that he was homosexual and refuse treatment. He was therefore allowed to make a number of overt gestures, both verbal and physical, which could be used as a basis for something to talk about, until eventually Edgar’s desires could be discussed without the other man either condemning them out of hand or seeming to share them. As soon as a dispassionate discussion was possible, he put a written report into the director and Northorpe Hall set in train a long and expensive session of psychiatric treatment for Edgar.This boy will always be homosexual, but at least he now has a chance to adjust to a useful and reasonably happy life. Left to the incompetence of his parents, schoolmasters and child-guidance clinic he would almost certainly have ended up a confirmed prostitute, and probably in prison.”
Aged 32, in 1966 De La Noy’s venture into publishing on ‘male juvenile delinquency’ propels him into a new job briefly working for Pergamon Press writing ‘Take Me Home’ booklets for the Industrial Publishing & Training section, a Robert Maxwell owned publishers printed at Bletchley, Buckinghamshire. Writes ‘Delinquency & Guilt’ and ‘Dog Collars Back to Front’
His biography states he is:
Member of the House of Laity of the Church Assembly
Has written a life of Christ for children
Member of Liturgical Revision Steering committee
Editorial Board of the Religious Education Press
In Spring [1967/68?] he will be publishing ‘Ministry to the Forces’ and ‘No time to Waste: A Challenge to Ordination’
In 1967 commences work as Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Press Officer
4 June 1970: Publishes article in New Society about a former Ministry of Defence employee/current civil servant writing improper letters
1 December 1970: Starts at Albany Trust as Director
1971: Writes his account of his sacking in ‘A Day in the Life of God’