It is with mixed emotions that I blog the Report into child abuse at Beecholme Childrens Home.
Horror of course at so many people in trusted positions abusing vulnerable innocent children.
However I am heartened that a group of survivors have managed to form a survivors group, hold it together, take on the authorities that abused them and publish a Report outlining and documenting that abuse.
They have revealed truths that no one can deny.
They have exposed this abuse in the face of obstruction from the Councils and Police involved, notably unhelpful and hence named and shamed are Surrey Police and Wandsworth Council.
The Report is a huge achievement by Beecholme survivors.
It is hard to even set up a survivors group for an area or place of abuse and very few groups have written a report, so huge congratulations to Beecholme survivors.
The link to the report is here Beecholme Survivors Interim Report Through the Iron Gates To The Cottages of Hell  [open office document] or the full text is below. If anyone needs the Report in different format, leave a message in comments or email me and we will try and sort it into a different format.
If you wish to contact Beecholme survivors via email email@example.com
My previous blogs on Beecholme
2018 Jan 2017 CathyFoxBlog Beecholme Survivors and Justice Group Letter 
2017 Dec 5 cathy fox blog Beecholme – Wandsworth Council wrong to say they had no Child Abuse Reports 
2017 Oct 31 cathy fox blog Beecholme Survivors – please get in touch 
2017 Aug 5 cathy fox blog Child Abuse at Beecholme Childrens Home, Banstead, Surrey 
2017 July 9 cathy fox blog #CSASurvivors Stories 3 – James Reeves Story 
I must mention in particular Graeme Sergeant. Graeme has not only set up and managed the group (with help of others of course, but it is a lonely place sometimes leading from the front) but has authored the report. All this whilst having family illness. My respect to him.
Beecholme: A Children’s Village of Hope or a place of industrial scale Sexual Abuse
By Graeme Sergeant (BSc BioScience, Hons)
Through the Iron Gates to the
Cottages of Hell
Beecholme: a children’s Village. This is the group’s interim report on the abuses carried out in the name of Wandsworth Council previously known as The London County Council
They were supposed to protect the children, the innocent and the vulnerable. Far from offering protection it fed these innocent children into a world of sleaze, beatings, starvation, physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
In certain cases it then passed these children into the privately run boarding out and foster homes of unlicensed and unregulated establishments. Local Authorities took over responsibility for the running of these establishments after 1965. They gave a lot of these people licenses to run new homes and they did this without carrying out any checks on the individuals concerned.
This covered up the abuses and in certain cases it assisted the sadistic, the paedophiles and the sexual aggressors to thrive and the State and Local Authority machine destroyed records
Shame on them and those that try to deny justice to the Beecholme Survivors.
1a. Beecholme Survivors Group – Aim of this report
1b. The Councils, staff and disciplinary rules
1c. The History of Beecholme
1d. Beecholme Song
1e. Beecholme Cottages
1f. Beecholme Children
- SURVIVORS STORIES
2a. Non-Survivors – R.I.P
- PAEDOPHILES AND CHILD ABUSE
3a. What is Child Abuse and what is a Paedophile?
3b. Child on child sexual abuse
3c. Was there Paedophiles in Beecholme?
3d. Senior Staff/The Abusers
3e. Was there Political visitors to Beecholme?
WHAT IS THE TRUTH/ALLEGATIONS
- POLICE INQUIRIES
- THE CASE FOR JUSTICE AND REPARATIONS
- COMPENSATION OR REPARATIONS
- REDRESS SCHEME
- THE REPORTS AUTHOR
What is evident when you start to write a report about abuse at Beecholme and what surprises me most is the depravity of man. An innocent child thrust into a world of trust and belief suddenly find them self in a world of violence and sexual depravity.
“ A day is a long time in Child’s Life “
Let us with absolute humility and profound admiration dedicate this report to thousands of children who attended Beecholme from its inception in 1880, until it closed in 1974.
Every Child who went through this home during the published dates were victims of a system that badly let them down,
Going forward, we place our faith and hope that justice will finally prevail.
In the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World we pay silent homage to the 83 young boys from Beecholme (Banstead Residential Schools) who gave the Ultimate sacrifice.
1a. Beecholme Survivors Group – Aim of this report:
The basic aim of this interim report is to highlight the levels of abuse carried out at Beecholme in the name of both the London County Council and subsequently Wandsworth Council.
Other London Borough Councils sent children to this and other establishments. Did London County Council and Wandsworth Council contribute to the institutional child abuse carried out in the different cottages?
Was there abject failure by senior management of both organisations and were there other agencies instrumental in this pattern of behaviour, which seems to have been perpetrated at every level and was encouraged by staff at every level?
What was the relationship between the management and staff and what was the basis of the transfer of staff from the London County Council between 1963 and 1965 after the changes in Local Government?
As an organisation we did not take full statements but we looked at and collated the levels of abuse against each person. As part of this study we have to look at and dissect the standard of staff and the levels of supervision of each cottage. We must look at the interaction between the different government agencies that not only resulted in very few convictions for child abuse, but whether there was a complete breakdown in the management and whether, as seems apparent, there was a cover up of the mismanagement of the abuse at Beecholme?
The interim report will focus on the failures of Wandsworth Council to investigate or follow up on any reports of child sexual abuse at the homes. We will also question the roles of the newly formed children’s departments and other parts of the council that contributed to the mistrust.
We will also try to examine and discover why the council commissioned a report into abuse at Beecholme? Why was the report was buried by Wandsworth Council ?
Beecholme Survivors and Justice Group currently has approximately 400 members and our numbers are growing slowly. One of the reason for the relatively small increases is that, we believe, some survivors are embarrassed to reveal they were sent to Beecholme. Others are amongst those who after a fifty year gap have revealed and are still revealing the extent of the treatment they received at the home.
In this interim report no survivor will be identified and everything will be kept confidential except the levels of the abuse which needs to show the amounts of not only sexual abuse but the bullying, beatings and starvation that was prevalent at Beecholme.
In this interim report we name the perpetrators of some of the abuse and it is the author’s belief that it is important the names are revealed in the belief it might encourage more survivors to come forward.
The main aim of this interim report is to highlight the levels of abuse, the standard of care and the complete disregard of the welfare of each child. The other main aim is a complete and unreserved apology and a level of reparations and redress for the collective failures and injuries inflicted by the abuse, either short or on a long term basis. This abuse covers physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, beatings, neglect and/or psychological abuse and racial abuse that our members would have suffered.
1b. The Councils:
ILEA – The Inner London Education Authority was established when the Greater London Council (GLC) replaced the London County Council as the principal local authority for London in 1965. The LCC had taken over responsibility for education in Inner London from the London School Board in 1904.
Wandsworth Council – Past and Present: This introduction prints into the consciousness of the people reading this interim report, the rules of London County Council. One assumes that the same rules were implemented after Wandsworth Council took over the home in 1965.
Disciplinary rules – Council Staff: The disciplinary rules that are applicable to each staff member are found in the conditions of service that are referred to in paragraph 3. Any breaches of these disciplinary rules would render you subject to disciplinary action as set out in the paragraph below. Gross Misconduct is defined as an action by you that is of a very serious nature that the authority can no longer tolerate. Any allegation of gross misconduct will normally lead to suspension from work whilst the allegation is investigated. If, after a full investigation the allegations are proven, you could be dismissed with or without notice.
Examples of Gross Misconduct are not limited to the list below:
- Acts of physical abuse on a staff member or child.
- Sexual misconduct at work
- Disclosure of confidential information
- Malicious damage to Council or Local Authority Property
- The taking of bribes or inducements
- Any criminal convictions that results from your employment or outside of your employment
- A serious breach of any safety rules.
- Theft of property from the Council, Local Authority or any person in your care
- Any falsification of your qualifications or experience that would allow you to obtain a pecuniary advantage in gaining employment or promotion.
- The falsification of any records, including staff timesheets.
Judging by the poor staff conduct at Beecholme and other homes, including house parents at Beecholme assisted by Wandsworth Council, who came into contact or had a negative effect on many children’s day to day lives it is right to say a lot more people should have faced the most serious charges of gross misconduct.
So why, with these rules, were perverts, paedophiles, bullies and sadistic individuals that liked abusing children allowed to work and thrive in this climate?
Unfortunately we cannot look at the role of the Child Care Officer due to the Blair Government’s decision to close the files for an extended period on the pretence of protecting the Child abuse victim when in effect they have protected past and present members of all sections in our society. As a group, we think that this is a separate and distinct level of abuse, that was purposely aimed at certain children. Beecholme had been earmarked for closure for a number of years due to its size and the amount of land that could be sold for a commercial price.
After the transfer from the London County Council to the Wandsworth Borough Council the idea to speed up the closure of the large residential homes began. Beecholme, which had already been earmarked by the old LCC, started to run down operations and the amount of residents fell with only six councils sending children. Then in 1973, just 12 months before it shut, only children from Wandsworth could be sent here.
Wandsworth Town Hall.
Each of the cottages at Beecholme had basements and when the home was finally shut in 1974 it was discovered that each basement held a massive amount of records but Wandsworth Officials did not want to store these records. Thousands of the homes records were burnt during the twelve months it took to demolish Beecholme.
Wandsworth Borough Council was at first ruled by a Labour Council. In 1978 the political outlook changed and this was the time of the state’s retreat from providing fully for its citizens. At first a moderately run council was usurped by Christopher Chope (now An MP and a Sir) who was right wing and he was assisted by other Councillors and Council officials.
At this time it is obvious that rather than look after the old children’s homes or records, it set out with the tacit authority of the Tory Council to deliberately start a system of selling off assets without any thought and the privatisation of council services.
As part of these changes, the group is assuming, and the Council refuses point blank and denies, that the council at any time tendered out back office functions but in a book (Britain and the World, pages 294-302.Edinburgh University Press) it points out that Wandsworth Council were the pioneers or the infantry leading the Thatcher charge for privatisation. Under Chope, the council sacked a 1000 staff and started closing facilities for both children and old people.
In a freedom of information request by the group the Council stated that no legal or back office work was tendered out, yet the book ‘Britain and the World’ (pages 294-3020) states that when Wandsworth tendered out the back office functions and legal work it actually ended up costing more than the in-house team.
So it is quite right to assume that Wandsworth Council, its Councilor’s and officials took no notice of looking after records or keeping records safe. How is it possible that officials were not absent minded or overworked but they acted in a completely negligent way assisted by the elected Councillors whose only object in life was to destroy Public Services and serve Thatcher.
So with a reckless abandonment they set out to sell off as much of the councils properties as possible and destroyed thousands of Beecholme records. They allowed this to happen without any thought and this seems to be evident in the actions of Christopher Chope (MP in later life) who believes that it was ok to film up girls skirts. So does this man’s attitude show that whilst leading Wandsworth Council, he showed or exhibited the same wanton attitude towards child sexual abuse that was endemic at Beecholme and other homes.
Extract from Journal (Britain and the World)
“ I remember one senior official standing within earshot of the author while rashly telling elected Councillors over the telephone that it should be possible to ensure that a forthcoming tender would go the way the Conservative led council wanted. Thus ensuring a lower bid than the in house team.”
So yes, the group believes that there was or could have been corrupt practices in play at every level of the council’s operation. We believe it is imperative that the current council instigates an investigation into the actions of senior officials and members of the council at this time.
1c. The History of the Beecholme:
The beginning of the residential home system led to the opening of scores of these cottage homes around the suburbs of London. It started in 1876 when the guardians of the poor laws in the two adjoining parishes of St Mary Abbot and St Luke in Chelsea purchased two parcels of land, which in total amounted to over 140 acres, with about 100 acres being used as agricultural land with the main idea that each home would be run on a self-sufficiency basis. The children’s home was completely built and opened in 1880, a further four new houses for children were added in 1881.
After it opened, the home thrived as it was a new innovation on how to treat children who before had been in housed in barrack type accommodation. The cost of keeping a child on a daily basis was 7 shilling and six and half pence daily. The home was housing nearly 700 children at this time. The home, by its very nature and how it was setup was run along the lines of being a self-sufficient community with all needs taken care off.
In the 1930’s the Board of Guardians handed over responsibility of the home to the London County Council and all poor law homes and institutions were handed over to local county councils. The part of the London County Council that took over running the home was the Education Department who operated and was responsible until 1949.
As part of the changing attitudes to child care and a need for a more integrated management structure, in 1948,the Children’s Act became law which resulted in all councils setting up Children’s Departments yet for the next five years it was still operated as a Residential School. Children of secondary school age had been sent to secondary schools in the Surrey County Council area as they were undersubscribed. As staff retired more changes were introduced and in the early 1950’s the little primary school was split off from the home itself. As part of the process of change the houses started to be given more and more autonomy. This system of change continued even after the London County Council was abolished and the home, with others, were transferred to the newly formed Wandsworth Borough Council.
The transfer of the London County Council responsibility of these homes to the newly formed boroughs resulted in management changes to the running of the different institutions. At the top was the Director of Social Services, who reported to the Social Services Committee who delegated the powers of the day to day running to the Superintendent, who subsequently gave other powers to his Deputy, with the Matron, the Deputy Matron and the Assistant Matron. From the new organisational structure it is easy to see how it was made even easier for the paedophiles to operate and flourish.
1d. The Beecholme School Song
Hurrah for the Banstead School, the school of breezy downs
We pass our ways in the open ways, afar from the reek of towns.
And whether we work or play, the lesson we learn is the same.
There is a moldy dump down Beecholme way
Where we get bossed about fifty times a day
Egg and bacon we don’t see, we get sawdust in our tea
That’s why were gradually fading away
The teachers are real barmy, The matrons are real mad
And poor old Banner, the man sometimes looks real.
1e. Beecholme Cottages:
Acacia, Almond, Ash, Beech, Cedar, Chestnut, Drake, Elm, Fir, Hazel, Jasmine, Kerria, Laburnum, Laurel, Larch, Lavender, Lime, Maple, Oak, Pine, Rendall, Rowan, Thistle, Willow.
There were also other houses for staff, workshops and offices plus the church, swimming pool and the school
Each of the cottages were for different children, Some boys, some mixed and some just girls. Others were for different religions and Children with special educational needs. Then as time went on, some homes were used exclusively for black children.
As this system was used exclusively, whole families, some large, were all split up across different homes and depending on someone’s perception of you, you could find yourself in any one of these cottages. The London County Council were beginning to develop different strategies on how to deal with children with different educational needs, including the labeled education subnormal.
1f. The Beecholme Children:
The children sent to Beecholme before 1965 came from across the whole of the London region. After 1965 the takeover by the London Borough of Wandsworth resulted in the children being admitted to Beecholme, being restricted to only a few of the newly formed London Boroughs: Camden, Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City Council. This system operated until 1973 when only Wandsworth sent children to be admitted to Beecholme.
In the early days of the residential homes Beecholme’s roll was about 700
and over the years this resulted in falling rolls until finally 1974, just before closure. As the cottages were emptied and closed down the population could be counted in the tens and not hundreds. Over the years hundreds, maybe more, perverts and bullies were able to operate and flourish This abuse was spread between the sexes and children were abused by both men and woman.
The home had 23 cottages, each one unique in its operation and in a strange way home to a mixed bag of children. Each child had their own story, a story of poor parenting, neglect and in some cases abuse. One of the strangest things behind each child is that prior to 1965, most of London could and would send children to the home. Yet after 1965, only about six London Boroughs sent children to Beecholme. The other connections along these lines is that after 1965 the first Children’s Officer and his assistant sent staff to the six councils. Is this a strange coincidence or a deliberate act that enabled a London wide cover up of abuse at children’s homes.
This investigation and report will look into the roles of staff at these boroughs and what they knew. One of the biggest problems was the six Council’s refusal to engage in meaningful dialogue or to provide information on the staff transferred.
One of the main reasons was the closure of records to us or any other group.
Here follows some of the survivors stories, which have been abridged:
As part of the investigation into abuse at Beecholme, we were contacted by the above survivor who was in Drake house and told of us of the abuse he had suffered at the hands of Pete Mactavish.
(Survivor F.M. advised us that Wandsworth Council had paid him £25000.00 pounds to settle his claim for being abused at Beecholme. Wandsworth have been given the opportunity to comment and Freedom of Information requests have been submitted.)
Was a lad badly treated at every home he was sent to, beaten, bullied and abused in many of the Beecholme Cottages. Attached to the end of this report in the appendix section are Alan’s own diary records from Beecholme.
At the age of 3 I was thrust into a world of authority, a world that was alien to me. I was 10 on my release, with my siblings, from care. Because of racism we were sent to live with our father and his housekeeper.
What is hard about this was I had always assumed I was at Shirley Oaks. I had a father who denied the existence of my birth mother, a man who hid his past, I never saw my mother Rita alive again after the age of 5. The authorities conspired to deny Rita access to us children on what Grounds ( Racism).
I as in Beecholme, between 1951 and 1954. Mainly in Maple House. Miss Quinlan was the housemother and I was subject to Physical abuse because of a speech impediment, Each day you had to do chores and Quinlan ran the house with a rod of iron. She meted out punishments if you did not do as you were told quickly enough.
Depending on your misbehavior you could be made to clean the outside washrooms and the other children’s shoes, Beatings were given for the least little thing.
Explained that as a child at Beecholme, he witnessed sexual abuse happening, I was placed in Rowan cottage. The cottage was run by a Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd, who were very fond of calling children in this house retarded and then subjecting them to both Physical and verbal abuse. Children were starved and beaten for almost anything and these beatings were carried out by the house parents and the extra staff in each cottage.
I was then moved to the Laburnum cottage but I have no memory of this cottage, except that it was a harsh place.After sometime in Ash I was moved again, this time to ash Cottage where a Mr. and Mrs. Reed were the house-parents, Gordon Reed was a violent individual and for the majority of the time I was in Ash. I was both subject to very violent abuse and Reed was always fond of using abusive language towards us children.
I was then moved to Cedar Cottage where the Longs were the house- parents. I witnessed during my time in Cedar that long would molest children almost daily. Ted Long used to love rubbing himself against you whilst trapping you in the corner. I had first come along Ted Long in Rowan Cottage.
I was at Beecholme and I was abused. During my time there I suffered abuse in every cottage I was in. I was in Rowan, Laburnum, Larch, Ash, Lime and Beech. If you argued they would put you in cottages with Bullies and Perverts.
Whilst I was in the home I witnessed sexual activity between children and adults.
Whilst I was at the home I was on various occasions placed on a man’s knee where, now i am older, I realise he had an erection and he lifted me up and down rubbing me on this hard thing. After a time he would start groaning. I never knew or understood why until I got older.
I was taken to Beecholme where I was placed in Drake House, in around 1962. After a period of time the staff started showing their true colours and I was touched inappropriately by a tall woman and a woman I can only remember as Joyce. This happened more than once. During my time at Beecholme I was bullied, beaten and starved. One time I was grabbed at the side of Drake House and badly beaten by Pete Mactavish. Life was harsh and a lot of the children were bullies and loved to beat up the younger or vulnerable children. Some of the children even carried out sexual abuse on other children.
I think I might of been one of the lucky ones as I was only in care a short while but also because I was never sexually abused by an adult. Unfortunately, there was child on child sexual abuse and I have never forgotten the experience. The boy who abused me lived in a cottage across the avenue. when I first met him he seemed really nice. We would play on the rope swing together but then it happened. he said we were going to play hospitals. He was the doctor and he need to examine me and told me to lie down. He pushed my dress up and pulled down my knickers. I told him to stop but he wouldn’t and started touching me around my genital area. At this point I started crying. I told him I would tell on him. He said they would not believe me and as he was older they would believe him. On another occasion we went into the trees and he told me to stand against a tree where he made me spread my legs. I obeyed him as I had become scared of his behaviour. At this point he pulled down his trousers and pants and rubbed his penis up against me. I was shaking and started to sob. After I would not stop sobbing he told me pull my knickers up. When another incident happened he did not pull down my knickers. He removed his trousers and pants and told me to touch his penis which he nicknamed his dingle. I did not like this idea so he took my hand and placed it on his penis. I stood motionless. I was scared so he showed me what to do with his hand, placing my hand once again on his penis and told me to play with it. Not long after this I was returned to my mother’s care but due to this and other experiences whilst at Beecholme I have been a sickly person and I have suffered from a certain amount mental health issues. My experiences at Beecholme also meant that I could not for a very long time have a normal relationship with a man.
I was in Fir House in the early 1960’s which was being run by Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd. On my first day in care Mrs. Lloyd physically attacked one of my brothers. I went to stick up for my brother and was then attacked by Mr. Lloyd. He kneed me in the back and slapped my head. He then threw me to the floor. We were then punished by being made to sit in a cold bath for an hour. When the Lloyds were away another lady came in to run the house, she used to like hitting us with spoons. One time she locked me in a cupboard and beat me with a Bamboo stick. I was sexually abused by at least three other older boys. Most nights I was subject to sexual attacks and it also happened if you went to the outside washroom, you ran the risk of a sexual attack, It seemed to me that these boys carried out the sexual attacks at the behest of members of staff. After one very vicious attack I was left with a badly cut head,
I was placed in Thistle House and I was abused by a Mr Grey, I reported Mr Grey to the police and then I was moved to another institution. I have suffered health issues for most of my life.
I was in Beecholme where I was at various times taken in to a room which had long mirrors around it ,I believe that I was being watched and even filmed. I was Sexually abused and I have suffered health issues and I have attempted suicide in my most darkest moments.
I was in Almond House during my time in Beecholme. My House Parents were Mr. and Mrs. Heard, When I was about 8 an older boy around the age of 13 came in to the dormitory and sexually abused me. This boy abused me more than once, He seemed to be a man to me. Mr. Heard would inspect the girls underwear and if it was dirty he would verbally abuse you tell you that you were no good. Mr. Heard used to beat you with a belt. Looking back it seems he took a certain delight in acting this way. Over my lifetime I have suffered physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse. I remember being made to stand naked in a freezing cold washroom with other boys and girls. Everybody used to share bathwater.
My first thoughts on being sent to Beecholme was how large the home was. At this time it spread over about 30 acres. I was at first in Pine house where after a time I noticed that a young lad was being woken up night after night. I did ask him once and he explained, Auntie Margaret used to like him cuddling up to her in bed. About three weeks later it happened to me and Auntie Margaret said I would not need any clothes. I had my penis played with by this auntie and it became erect. After what I know now as a climax she placed my hand on her vagina and told me to start rubbing. One of the problems with Beecholme was not only that a majority of staff were abusive but that a certain amount of the children were in to abusing other children. I will not name the lad here but suffice to say, the staff were inadequate at protecting children. After sometime in Beecholme I was moved to Lime House which was run under the tender mercies of Ted Long and his wife. Ted would always tell you that the bathroom door must be left open for safety reasons. One time Ted Long, without reason lunged at me and shoved his hand down my trousers. He was trying to get at my penis. I have no doubt of this. Ted Long did succeed in molesting me later on in my time at Beecholme after he had grabbed my testicles a few times. Ted Long and his wife were physical people and as a very large man he could easily control any of the children and he would belt you when he liked and whereever he liked. If you broke any of the major rules at Beecholme you could find yourself sent to the Superintendent. Once he told me to bend over the chair where he then pulled down my trousers and pants down, so I was then naked from the waist down. After this the superintendent took hold of my genitals and started to slap my bare behind. It seemed he got a form of sexual gratification from spanking boys. One other girl I knew was CV, who committed Suicide at Beecholme. Rumour’s were, one of the staff had molested her and got her pregnant.
I was a resident of Beecholme between the years 1958 until about 1967. During that time I was put in to three different houses. Cedar, Beech and Thistle. My time at Beecholme was not pleasant and I was often racially abused by another child. On more than one occasion I was sexually abused by one of the senior management and the same person sexually abused me whilst we were staying at a holiday camp. My time in Thistle was not nice and I was constantly abused by Mrs. Grey. At times she would beat me, wake me up and make me clean all the other shoes in the house. On other occasions she would belittle me during my periods. Another time Mr. Grey made me lie down between the beds in the boys dorm. He then got on top of me and told the boys in the dorm to watch me whilst he showed them how to do it. I was scared of what was happening but this was only a fraction of the abuse I suffered.
My name is JR. I was born in 1946. I was in a children’s home called Beecholme in Banstead, Surrey. I was in a house in the children’s home called Jasmine. I think I was 7 years old. I had spent younger years in foster care with the Porters. My foster dad wasn’t involved in abuse as far as I can remember. It’s the only thing I remember about foster carer’s except on one birthday my foster dad bought me a brown 3 wheel tricycle. I can remember standing on the kitchen table just a cloth nappy on being abused by women and grown up children, being locked in some cupboard for hours every day that’s all I can remember from foster care.
My next memory is Beecholme, Jasmine house. I was taken there by a woman who handed me over to the House Mistress of that house. That woman who took me to Jasmine House was my mother. The next time we would meet was when I was 12. I was shown into a dining room then stripped naked, was beaten on my bottom hard by the House Mistress, Miss Cullen. I was then taken into a large bathroom with 2 baths end to end. The bathroom was crowded with other naked boys and girls, one bath was for boys, the other was for girls. The water was never changed. There were 2 other female staff in there; one Miss Malden, the other Miss Kilbane (who was lovely throughout my stay and had no hand in any off my abuses). After bath, we were marched out up the stairs to our dormitories. It must have been not more than 20 minutes later, I remember being pulled roughly out of my bed by a man who took my nightshirt off and took me downstairs. I was told to face the wall opposite a room which was occupied by people. Every time any one came out of that room I was slapped hard on my bare bum. I was standing facing the wall for what seemed like ages, then I heard people leaving the room and going out the front door. I was then blindfolded and taken into that room and sexually assaulted by 2 people. One tried to bugger me but stopped when I screamed. Next I remember something hard being put in my mouth. I was crying and shaking with fear, I was so scared. I was told to suck on the thing in my mouth, but was whacked round the head. I heard one person say “He’s no good – his teeth are digging in”. I was then taken back to my dormitory and put into bed, told not to look round or I would get it. The person removed the blindfold. I was frozen, scared, crying. Then I heard the door shut. I lay there scared to move. I must have fallen asleep. We were woken up by Miss Malden, the other staff member. I tried to speak to her but she would not listen to me. I tried to talk to Miss Cullen who seemed in charge of Jasmine House. She pulled me into her office and told me ”Children who lie are sent away to bad places. Is that what you want?”. I remember saying “No Miss”. I know they had a school there but can’t seem to think about that. I remember we were all at our tables for tea. After tea, Miss Cullen used to put her chair in the middle of the dining room floor and call us boys to stand in line. She then would one-by-one strip us and spank our bottoms hard in front of the girls. This happened every night after tea, 7 days of every week. Other times at dinner, puddings were served. 10 times while I was there they served figs and custard. I was eating a fig it was horrible and I was sick all over my pudding, and was forced to eat it. Other times I was sick over figs and custard, Miss Kilbane (when she saw Miss Cullen go) would come and remove it and give me a cuddle. She seemed helpless and – I don’t know – I’m sure a few times she had tears in her eyes.
I never saw men in the house during the day, only at nights when they used to take me downstairs and repeat their abuse. God knows how many other boys there were abused like me, at nights. It was no good complaining, no one would listen to me. One day I was told I was leaving to be taken to another children’s home. I was picked up by car by a LCC Social Worker. I was driven to Hutton Children’s Residential Home, in Shenfield, Essex. I was taken into a large house, called Thames. All the other houses were named after rivers. I was never sexually abused there by any staff members. Though one boy was, in a different house and his abuser Mr. Brabbon was sentenced to six month prison. Whilst there, somehow some of us were invited to the Billy Cotton Band Show Christmas party, which was shown on BBC television. I was one of the kids who went. It was late 1950’s or early 1960’s. I can remember being seated at the tables full of food. There was Russ Conway, a woman singer and my abuser Alan Breeze. I didn’t know his name at the time. I asked Russ Conway his name. It happened in the men’s toilets. I was in there when Alan Breeze said “You going to toilet?”. I said “Yes”. “Let me help you.” he said and started touching my penis. He had his hand down my trousers holding my bum. I was trying to pull away, when someone else entered the toilet. I think he saw what was happening and he pulled me away, and sent me out of the toilet. As I left I complained to someone – a man – about what happened. He told me to go away and sit down, which I did. I was so upset and angry. I tried telling Billy Cotton but couldn’t get near him or Russ Conway anymore. I tried to tell staff at the home, but they laughed and walked away.
From that day, I was totally confused and felt alone. It got so bad I was taken to The Maudsley hospital, who after listening to my story told the person who took me there they wanted to keep me in. On hearing that, I ran out of the hospital and was found by my taker outside a big hospital opposite. I was crying and said “No one believes me! I am not staying in that place!”. I was taken back to the home and put on antidepressants. I have never forgotten my abuse – it still haunts me to this day.
The above is the full testimony of James Reeves, abused at Beecholme, never believed and moved to another home in Essex ( Hutton Residential), another notorious home on the paedophile circuit .
JR is now getting into his latter years but he is a tireless campaigner against all or any abuse of children. James is a man let down by a system that was set up to protect him and thousands of young impressionable children across many, many years.
As part of the treats given to us, residents were to be taken out to Showbiz 11 games. These were where we thought treats but what we did not know was that some of the paedophile staff members were taking us to be abused at will on the pretense of a treat. On arriving at the game we would be seated near the Showbiz team, and after the game ended we would be sat on the knees of these minor celebrities and ex footballers, whose knees we would be sat on whilst they rubbed themselves against us. Then whoever was selected would be taken somewhere quiet and undressed and forced to carry out sexual acts of an oral nature.
*Survivor f. stated to us that at one of these games he was buggered by two men.*
Stated he was stripped naked and a man started rubbing his penis, then the man told him to rub his. Then he was beaten with a belt and had his mouth forced down on to the man’s penis.
Was a lad badly treated at every home he was sent to be, beaten, bullied and abused in many of the Beecholme Cottages.
2a. Non- Survivors – R.I.P:
Non-Survivor – Gale Parsons (Deceased). (Also Known as Gale Booth):
Who was Gale Parsons? She was the product of an affair between a public school girl and an unknown father, known only to Gale’s mother. She was abandoned at six months old into an uncaring care system. She ended up like lots of children at Beecholme. She was remembered as a sweet innocent young lady who was allowed by the senior management to spiral downward where she ended up going through remand homes, reformatory school and finally prison (Holloway). Everyone who came in to contact with Gale knew her as a loving, caring intelligent young lady who, if she had been properly cared for would have been a credit to everyone. Instead she was found in a dirty, seedy basement DEAD, having taken an overdose of heroin. A ,Man Alive, programme followed Gale to her death, and subsequent funeral. One lady who always stood by Gale, “Nancy David” stated that Gales funeral was not about her but to assuage the guilt of her mother and grandparents. The question which needs to be asked of first the Beecholme Authorities and then finally the senior management of both the London County Council and Wandsworth; why was this child sent through a system that had no checks or balances? Gale was let down by her mother first, then multiple agencies and the establishment who allowed her to slide into addiction.
Gale Parsons died of an overdose due to neglect and a lack of care.
Was Gale a victim of sexual abuse by the senior management at the home and was she further abused as she went through the Justice System? We will never know for sure but what we do know is she was badly let down.
So why was Gale sent through a system where she ended her life with a drugs overdose? Where are the records of her incarceration? The details of her crimes? What happened to her records from Beecholme and the details of how she disrupted the other children.?
Non-survivor – V. C.
Committed suicide after being abused at Beecholme,
It has been stated to the group that V.C was abused by members of the senior management. We are looking for details of V.C’s life but again these are sealed for an extended period.
Non-survivor – S.Y
After being abused at Beecholme had a life cut short
Were the senior management blind or just complicit in the sexual abuse of children in their care. At this time children had to be seen and not heard. Any complaint was met with a bashing and to complain about child abuse, or even an attempt, would move you on to another institution or reform school or an asylum.
Every survivor of Beecholme carries the anger of these events as they have a direct result or influence over many lives.
3a. What is Child Abuse and what is a Paedophile?
Child abuse or the mistreatment of a child or children manifests itself in a physical, sexual or psychological mistreatment of the child. This is predominantly carried out by adults and in a lot of cases by adults in authority. This abuse can be carried out in the home, or children’s home or other organisations, schools or communities where children interact with adults.
The word paedophile comes from the Greek alphabet and roughly translates as friendly love, or friendship. The word paedophile is used to cover adults with a sexual or other interest in young, prepubescent children aged under 13 or younger.
Nepiophilia is an interest in even younger children, with another subgroup Hebephilia can be defined as individuals with a sexual interest in children aged between 11 to 14.
We hope to show that adults with each of the above interests not only operated at Beecholme but operated in the other homes run by the Local Authorities. All types of predators with the above definition operated at Beecholme and liked to operate racial profiling, abusing children with all manner of disabilities where lots of these children were wrongly classified as maladjusted.
Wandsworth Council had a legal obligation to protect the children to the age of 16 and then subsequently 18. We can argue that any of the staff or uncles or aunties who indulged in sexual practices with children up to the ages of 18 are guilty of paedophilia. We will identify these people in the reports as paedophiles.
3b. Child-on-child sexual abuse?
Is a form of sexual abuse in which a prepubescent child is sexually abused by one or more other children or adolescents and in which no adult is directly involved. While this includes when one of the children uses physical force, threats, trickery or emotional manipulation to elicit cooperation, it also can include non-coercive situations where initiator proposes or starts a sexual act that the victim does not understand the nature of and simply goes along with, not comprehending its implications or what the consequences might be. Child-on-child sexual abuse is differentiated from normative sexual play or anatomical curiosity and exploration (e.g. “playing doctor“) because child-on-child sexual abuse is an overt and deliberate action directed at sexual stimulation, including orgasm. When sexual abuse is perpetrated by one sibling upon another, it is known as “inter sibling abuse“. When victims grow up, they often have distorted recall of the act, such as thinking it was consensual or that they were the abused child
. Child on Child abuse, I have been very shocked at this and I cannot quite understand it, how children abuse each other. Life it seems is no stranger to this sort of behaviour and rather than be quite a rare occurrence it is quite a frequent event.
At Beecholme the outside wash houses and the old bomb shelters was where some of the perpetrators of this abuse carried out the deeds. This could have been a simple sex act carried out orally but in other cases it was male and female rape.
Were the authorities aware of this and just turned a blind eye, in some cases staff, including house parents would put the children up to these sexual acts. In most cottages children of both sexes were paraded naked through the cottages, frequently bathed together at different ages and then forced to perform sex acts on each other.
Most of the children were too young to even know what they were doing let alone realising that this was wrong. We have been given names of one group of individuals who were responsible for some of these acts of abuse whilst they were resident at Beecholme. We are not naming them in the report as that may remind them of something they did but have shut out.
As time has gone on the amount of victims claiming abuse at Beecholme dwindles as old age and serious illness claims a few each year. Yet as a group we are determined that Justice must be done and that it is seen to be done. Are we the victims of this continued abuse over many years not entitled to receive a full written apology from the council that assumed responsibility from the London County Council in 1965.
London County Council and Wandsworth Council’s Child Care Officers or Welfare Officers as they are now called were in part responsible for the neglect and abuse of children in their care.
3c. Was there paedophiles in Beecholme?
Our group justification in believing that Wandsworth was an unsafe environment for children in care was discovering that a like-minded group of individuals set up an organisation in a run-down flat in Brixton. Paedophile Action for Liberation (PAL) was set up in the 1970’s. Whether this was coincidence or not, it is around this time that Social Services Departments took over the running of the children’s homes across the new London Boroughs. The Paedophile Information Exchange Group (PIE), a sister organisation to the (PAL) was completely brazen in its operations and tried to promote, by various means, the virtue of paedophilia and the abuse of children, especially the benefit of a captured audience of children in care.
“The organisation observed that teachers, clergyman, scoutmasters and youth workers, social workers and residential care workers were particularly drawn to the joys of child love. “Paedophiles are naturally drawn to working with children, especially vulnerable children in residential homes. The paedophile will show above the necessary care and devotion to the children in their care. By preying on the child’s problems and vulnerabilities they are able to groom the child of either sex. If the proper checks and bans were put in place this would reduce the amount of adults wanting to work in this field.
Would a proper vetting system in the 1930’s onwards have resulted in less child abuse? Paedophiles could remain hidden in plain sight, whilst being protected by their immediate supervisors and senior management at every level.
The records of paedophile behaviour by staff at Shirley Oaks are relevant and comes across in staff records and reports. In the early 1950’s Clifford Heap was employed at Beecholme and he, along with Thomas Hart and Edward Pearce started the 1st Banstead Scout Group. It is alleged that these gentleman had an unnatural interest for young boys and girls. Heap was convicted at Shirley oaks so there is no reason to believe he was not a paedophile beforehand.
Was there a paedophile ring operating at Beecholme and across the London County Council homes system and were these paedophile rings transferred with the homes to the newly formed London Boroughs.
Was there was any celebrity involvement at any level operating in the homes. Jimmy Savile and friends were known to visit the home?
Was there any paedophile behaviour at Showbiz Eleven games,?
When given any publicity, the Paedophile Information Exchange would try to justify its doctrine, even though it’s hidden agenda was to be able to have sexual relationships with children, They always presented the case as an argument that they were protecting children in their care. In this interim report and any subsequent report it will hopefully show that they showed a criminal disregard of the law and if they could not get their own way they would revert to criminal deception and cover ups to further their perverted practices. Probably the lack of references or vetting led to this and other opportunities for paedophiles to have access to any number of children and subject them to abuse.
In the dark labyrinth of child paedophiles at Beecholme there was a list of both men and/or women willing and able to carry out abuse at the home. This list could be similar to the membership of any paedophile group. This included teachers at the in-house primary school, house parents, casual staff and any number of the aunts and uncles who visited and took children out. They were, in most of these homes, poorly vetted or were they given the jobs purposely so that they could carry out their sick perversions. Finally we have to look at the culpability of the senior staff from Wandsworth Council, the Superintendents who ran these home autonomously from the local council and who were able to employ who they liked.
It is perfectly clear that when the home reverted to control by Wandsworth Council the council failed in its duty to carry out proper inspections of the cottages or the staff. Hopefully our investigation and report will show that the senior children’s staff at council level could have been complicit in the operation of abuse at Beecholme.
When one starts out to write a report like this, a part of your life that you would rather forget, it is hard in many ways. One has to revisit the dark days of Beecholme. Survivors for a long period of time have buried memories into a compartment and in the majority of cases these have now been re-opened.
The issues surrounding this report are complex and compounded by the unbelievable amount of sexual abuse that was discovered as being carried out at the home, The abuse, it seems, was on an almost industrial scale. The report is further hampered by the amount of records that were destroyed by Wandsworth Council before and after the home was closed.
We are further hampered in the report by the 100 year banning order imposed on most records. The other major obstacle is the lack of records kept by Wandsworth Council from those times. This lack of records has only hampered our research but has not stopped us.
Wandsworth Council have admitted that they carried out an internal report on the abuse at Beecholme in the 1960’s. This report was sent to Surrey Police but has been denied to us, stating the Data protection Act. As part of this report we have tried to obtain access to as many care records as possible but in the majority of cases these reports were incomplete with pages and even legal documents removed to protect individuals or the council.
One of the most distressing parts of these care records is the amount of times that the following phrases are used. “ told fantastic tales”, “made things up”, “liked to steal”. Each one of these other phrases we believe covers up the abuse. Children who informed the staff were beaten, moved on or in the most extreme cases put into asylums.
The London Paedophile Network.
3d. Senior Staff and Abusers List:
Our report, it is hoped, highlights that in most cases staff at every level were able to be abusers with impunity as they never believed that anything would, or could, be revealed either then or in the future. The changes in the law in the 1990’s started to open these organisations up to public scrutiny but it was the introduction and the rapid expansion of the internet that has allowed our investigation and the search for records to go forward at such a brisk pace.
We hope this report will highlight the extent of the Wandsworth Council ineptitude and blatant neglect of children. This report will concentrate on the time period between 1930 and its closure in 1974. Our approach has been to speak to as many people as possible and carry out our investigations with the help of very many brave individuals.
As part of the report it is necessary to look at other homes in the control of Wandsworth Council, Earlsfield House and Hartfield House. We also have tried to look into the roles of the following: Private Foster homes and Boarding Out homes, which were unlicensed and unregulated institutions, We, like others, need to look at whether the “Welfare Officer” was involved with sending children to these homes or whether there was corrupt practice higher up in the management chain.
Since the Beecholme Survivors Group was formed it has been the mission of the group to uncover the truth. Why this abuse could thrive and why the Head or Senior Management of the organisations sat on their hands and did nothing.
Were the senior management blind or just complicit in the sexual abuse of children in their care. At this time children had to be seen and not heard. Any complaint was met with a bashing and to complain about child abuse, or even an attempt, would move you on to another institution or reform school or an asylum.
Every survivor of Beecholme carries the anger of these events as they have a direct result or influence over many lives.
Beecholme seems to have been a mass exporter of paedophiles to other homes.
Heap, who was convicted at Shirley Oaks, started at Beecholme in the late 1940’s and left Beecholme around early 1953. Along with Pearce and Hart he started the 1st Banstead Scouts which was finally closed down by the Scouts Association after the conviction of Mr Harry Grey.
At present the roles of both Hart and Pearce are subject to a certain amount of speculation but various children who were sent from Earlsfield House by (Sherwood Jones) to either Beecholme or Shirley Oaks have given evidence that Hart, whilst running Earlsfield house, used to like touching up the younger girls whilst they stood by his desk.
Pearce has been identified by children at Beecholme and after Beecholme he moved to the London Borough of Islington and became head of Children’s Services.
Holman, who had a nervous breakdown whilst superintendent at Shirley Oaks. During his time was in charge of hundreds, if not thousands of children. Lives of children across these two homes were ruined by the levels of abuse this man allowed others to carry out. An even bigger crime is that he was a Justice of the Peace when he carried out attacks and abused children. Don Thomas who took over from Holman was also employed at Beecholme and worked with Clifford Heap.
Other paedophiles identified by the group and who are named below only make up a very small fraction of the staff who were identified as carrying out abuse at the home. Don Thomas, who took over running Shirley Oaks from Holman previously worked with Heap at another home in the 1950’s. Heap was at Beecholme during this period so it is safe to assume that they knew each other and worked together or abused together in different places.
In our report, and it is necessary to point out that there is a major theme running through this report, is that the senior management at Beecholme were not only active facilitators of abuse but a high percentage were paedophiles. It is obvious that abuse on an industrial scale was carried out from a very early time at Beecholme and some of our members were at Beecholme in the 1940’s when Heap arrived to work at Beecholme. We have discovered that the introduction of social aunts and uncles was instrumented by Heap and it seems became a growing theme across the homes operated by Wandsworth Council.
As part of a directive by the old authority the London County Council that ‘warned against the introduction of strangers’ it was agreed across the authority that friendless children should be boarded out, that is, fostered. The LCC report added that the Superintendents of these homes should be on their guard and aware of introducing strangers to have temporary care of children and must be carefully watched.
Following another directive from the London County Council ‘to employ more House Fathers to be employed alongside their wives, to try to recreate a family structure’, this directive was designed to try to give a better view of staff but what it actually accomplished was the introduction of another set of adults who, in the main, were not vetted or checked. Some of these ancillary staff who became House Parents went on to abuse children in their care.
Philip Temple was another person identified as a paedophile who carried out swimming lessons at both homes. He was convicted and sentenced to 12 years,
Mr and Mrs Hillman of Cedar house were sacked in the 1960’s for child cruelty and they were not the first or last that operated inside Beecholme.
Harry Grey was a Houseparent and a Scout Master, he was convicted and sent to prison in 1971. Once he was arrested the 1st Banstead Scouts was closed down. (Hart, Heap and Pearce operated from the same group so the 1st Banstead scouts had a long history of paedophile behavior.
Barry Fitzgerald was another abuser identified as working at Beecholme and convicted at Shirley Oaks.
Many members have identified the Superintendent from the 1950’s as a man who abused his position and carried out various sexual acts on underage girls. He has been identified by many independent reports.
Mr and Mrs Farmer (House parents of Drake House) were identified by different members as having carried out many degrading acts including getting children to walk around the house naked, touching girls and boys and getting them into the bath together.
As the list grows, the Deputy Superintendent from the 1950’s has also been identified as a perpetrator of abuse.
Granny Grace was a relief member of staff who is accused of being bully who delighted in carrying out vicious beatings and other forms of abuse.
The Matron LH has been identified by different survivors who said she carried out beatings, bullying and abuse.
Pete Mactavish has been identified as a man who had a sadistic streak and liked nothing better than to give a child a beating then rub himself up against you.
This list is not a finished list but a snapshot of the levels of abuse carried out at Beecholme
Edward Pearce Paedophile Beecholme Hannah Pearce Abuser Beecholme Thomas Hart, Paedophile Beecholme, Earlsfield House, Shirley Oaks Barbara Hart.
Assisted her husband at every home
Facilitator Clifford Heap Paedophile Beecholme, Shirley Oaks, Blue Star House, Islington Council Alice Heap
Assisted her husband, we do not believe she did not know what was going on in every home or organisation that her and her husband worked in
Beecholme Superintendent B
Various eye witness statements and Independent survivors, have accused him off improper behaviour with girls.
( I walked into his office without knocking and he was giving her one) Survivor M. (This is only one of a number of complaints about the superintendent)
Abuser Beecholme Edward Long
Various Survivors complain about his behaviour.
( I was thrown in the bath) Survivor A, (He trapped me in the office and liked rubbing up against me) Survivor B.
He has also been accused of encouraging certain children to abuse other children.( We cannot name the individual as he is subject to the Surrey Police Investigation).
Paedophile Beecholme Harry Grey
Beecholme He interfered with children whilst he was in charge of a cottage and abused his position whilst a scoutmaster he was in charge of ( Scouts Association shutdown 1st Banstead Scouts.) Scouts Association refuses to cooperate with the Wandsworth Survivors Network)
Convicted and Jailed in 1971
Paedophile Cecil Farmer
Would parade you through the house naked, loved to put you in the bath naked with girls and get you to rub each other.
Would spank you on your bare backside
Survivor F (The House-parents took great delight in walking you naked through the house, taking you out of your bed.
Survivor Y. “I was dragged out of bed and taken to a cupboard where i was locked in. After sometime, I was pulled out taken to a room where an unknown man forced me to carry out a sex act, hitting me afterwards
Paedophile Housefather (Drake) Gladys Farmer Facilitated abuse Auntie C
Put survivor in her bed and made him carry out oral sex – Loved to bend you over and spank you
Abuser Uncle D – , After being stood on a table naked in the kitchen in front of both men and woman, some were picked taken in to another room, could either be by a male or female, then made to carry out oral sex. Paedophile LH (Matron) Carried out attacks on children herself and watched while others beat children Abuser Catherine Kilbane Abuser Stella Hosegood (Hume)
(Married Donald Hosegood. Paedophile. (There is no reason to discount that she probably abused children at Beecholme.
William Hook- (Swimming Instructor) Paedophile Beecholme/Shirley Oaks Convicted Peter Mactavish – Was made House Parent of Lavender House, This house near the end of Beecholme was being exclusively used for Black Children. Various survivors have stated what went on in this house. Racism it seems was prevalent across the London County Council estate and continued under the management of Wandsworth Council. Paedophile Peggy Mactavish – Helped her husband to bully and beat children Bully/Facilitor Mr and Mrs Hillman – Various survivors have accused this pair of being bullies. ( Mr Hillman was sacked in 1956 for child cruelty) Bullies Cedar Bill Mccready – Used to beat children) Bully Marjorie c Pelly – survivors have given statements that this was a bully, abuser and a very evil woman. Abuser/Bully Barry Fitzgerald – Started his career at Beecholme, abused children at swimming pool with others. Went to work at Shirley Oaks where he carried on the abuse. Abuser Beecholme, Shirley Oaks Ted Waller Visiting Auntie and Uncle
Survivor (u,) stated they used to take me to their house and get me to play with them.
Abusers Drake Mr and Mrs Reed (House Parents) Bullies/Abusers Mr and Mrs Lloyd ( House Parents) Bullies/Abusers Malden.. Auntie in various houses, bully, who used to enjoy beating the children. Bully
3e. Were there were any political visitors to Beecholme?
We have received an anonymous tip that a paedophile ring was operating out of Banstead Police Station at this time. (We have made inquiries to both the Metropolitan Police and Surrey Police who assumed responsibility for the home in 2000). There is reason to believe that the arch pervert Cyril Smith used to frequent various children’s homes across the London area.
- WHAT IS THE TRUTH/ALLEGATIONS
So what is the truth? Was there a network of paedophiles and perverts that were assisted by politicians and others to molest and abuse children at will? From the 1930’s onwards the London County Council took over a lot of the Child Protection policies from the Poor law guardians and other organisations.
Was this admirable extension or proper organisation good in theory, but bad in practice? Did the new London County Council organisation attract paedophiles or deliberately go out to recruit them? Thousands of children who were in need of care were put in the way of adults whose sexual pleasure was gratified by having a constant stream of new victims.
The names of known paedophiles and politicians that have been convicted since 1930 is endless and it cannot be a coincidence. Was it just a natural extension to the behaviour of the rich and powerful who had control of most of the wealth and power in the UK.
At present we have connections from Wandsworth, Lambeth, Islington Camden, Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. We see no point at this stage in naming people from the 1930’s as even the police are not investigating before 1950.
Allegation that a prosecution against a government official who was in possession of indecent images of children was not pursued following instruction from senior officers and lawyers
Allegation that an investigation into a paedophile ring in south-west London in the 1970’s was shut down prematurely on instruction of senior or high-ranking officers.
Allegation that an MP was only charged with specimen charges for child sex offences and not more numerous or serious offences.
Allegation that paperwork and evidence relating to child sex offences involving an MP disappeared and the MP was released without charge
Allegation of a failure to investigate child sex offences involving an MP due to instructions from senior or high-ranking officers.
Allegations about attempts by Special Branch in the 1970’s to interfere in an investigation that would have revealed an MP to be involved in child sex offences
Allegation an investigation into a west London paedophile ring in the 1980’s had evidence removed and was threatened with closure by senior officer if it uncovered evidence against VIPs
Allegation that an MP was arrested and then released without charge on the instruction of senior officers following an investigation into a south London paedophile ring in the 1980’s. Also alleges officers were threatened with breaking the Official Secrets Act if they spoke of the events.
Allegation that an investigation into child sex abuse in central London in the 1980’s was halted when it became apparent that an MP was involved.
Allegation that an investigation into child sex offences committed by an MP was taken over by officers from Special Branch and then not progressed.
Allegation that an officer serving with the MPS was involved in a paedophile ring in north London and that evidence was covered up by Special Branch.
Allegation that intelligence was provided by a witness, during a separate investigation, indicating an MP was involved in child sex abuse and that this was not investigated. (Essex)
4a. What are the allegations against Wandsworth Council.
As a group, we have searched to find out where do we start and as individuals we ask ourselves why us, but who else. All children are innocent to everything that happened to them. One reads stories of these abuses against children and cannot believe that political figures from both parties let us go to homes, reception homes, then these very Cottage homes operated by one large authority.
So the question we put out to the current officials of Wandsworth Council; over the years have any of the organisations who ran and managed Beecholme ever provided at any time a level of care that each individual person should expect or want, or need.
In our answer about Wandsworth Council we had no alternative than to say NO. As we came to this report late it has been nearly impossible for us to obtain or read the reports on Beecholme or look at the internal abuse report commissioned by Wandsworth about the levels of abuse.
The lack of Integrity shown by Wandsworth Council and Surrey Police leaves this report bereft of a certain level of detail but eyewitness reports and information we have seen leads us to believe a level of negligent management that goes to the top of the council.
Whilst we have spent time considering the serious failures of Wandsworth Council and the employees of Beecholme to instigate and carry out a level of care that was their duty to provide, we have developed a working theory that Beecholme Children’s village was infected with an infection, a virus. In this our interim report and in any future or final report that may or may not be published on the events or happenings at Beecholme, the word or explanation of virus will be printed in bold:
A virus is:
An infective agent able to multiply only within the living cells of the host
Beecholme Children’s Village
A group of persons who willfully infect children with their agenda that facilitates abuse.
An infectious disease that has been caused by a virus
A harmful or corrupt influence
Paedophiles that operate in a ring that infiltrates an institution by developing a paedophile ring that quiets the management and allows abusers to act with impunity and abuse at will.
During the period of this report, we have had to look into Wandsworth’s Council responsibility into the abuses carried out at Beecholme. It is obvious that following the transfer to Wandsworth from the London County Council, the information we have is that the level of incompetence and poor management identified certain structural weaknesses in the levels of management of the home. What seems to have been endemic at the time up to 1974 was a lack of training of staff at every level.
Even though training courses were gradually being introduced, we were a long way from the customary checks and balances that are now in place. Whether there was cover ups and if Wandsworth was in the business of cover ups, it would have been a far reaching one that may have infected every level of the management of the Wandsworth homes. Looking back or forward, was there misconduct in public office by the officials? This is and would be difficult to prove. It is our belief that with the overwhelming evidence against the council there has been a cover up.
There have been internal reports about Beecholme by the Council. Did the Metropolitan Police who ran the Banstead Station until the year 2000 investigate and arrest Harry Grey? Were there any internal police reports? The Metropolitan Police say no, but have so far not responded to our Freedom of Information request.
With the Council and the police denying the existence of any reports or arrests for abuse, plus the extension of the rules to shut all reports or records of abuse for a 100 years, the group has been stopped in getting to the truth but we are meeting with a Government Minister later this year to ask about the opening of these records.
The truth it seems is that Council Officials and even Councillors could have been involved in corrupt practices, it could and should be argued that history will show that instead of putting the needs of the children first or its constituents it chose to ignore them and ride roughshod over the rights of children in organised covers ups that protected the perverts.
The level of the deceit within the Wandsworth council, was so ingrained in the structures of the management at every level that without thought or thinking allowed a tunnel of abuse where children were sent or handed over to homes where the paedophiles and abusers acted with impunity. These people who were supposed to look after and care for the children were encouraged in their behaviour by a complete lack of interest at senior levels and this allowed these monsters to act with impunity. So behind the facade of change for the better from 1965 until the homes closure in 1974 Beecholme may have been a place of debauchery and was in effect a well-run home for perverts and paedophiles.
Through the level of inquires carried out by the Metropolitan Police and the 33 Local Authorities, we are unable to get an accurate figure but Wandsworth carried out its own report about abuse at Beecholme in the 1960’s. (Wandsworth refuse to give us a copy).
Surrey police are currently carrying out a report into abuse at Beecholme under operation Brockhurst run out of the Complex Abuse Unit at Woking Police Station.
Investigation into the Allegation of Child Sexual Abuse – Monkton Street (1988)
Review of Events and Circumstances Associated with Changes to Services at a Home Providing Residential Respite Care for Children with Disabilities (2000) (also known as the Chestnut Report)
(1).Operation Middleton Interim Report (2000)
(2).Operation Middleton Second Interim Report (2001)
(3).Operation Middleton Third Interim Report (2002)
(4).Children’s Homes in Lambeth Enquiry 1998 – 2003 Summary (also known as the CHILE Report) The Lambeth Independent Child Protection Inquiry (1999) (also known as the Barratt Interim Report).
(1).BBC Investigation into Jimmy Savile, Cyril Smith and others.
(2).Education department investigation into Jimmy Saville visiting Schools and Hospitals from 1960
(3) NHS Investigation into Saville and his behavior in various Hospitals and rehabilitation homes.
(4) Paedophile Information Exchange: Operation Cayacos (Peter Righton)
We should also point out that Surrey Police are themselves under Investigation for the poor way they have dealt with earlier child abuse allegations. We do not have any confidence in Surrey Police or the way they are investigating the abuse claims from Beecholme.
Above is just a very small sample of how many inquiries or investigations have been carried out across the old London County Council area and the institutions, it must run into the thousands. As survivors of Beecholme it is an eye opener to look in the mirror and think, we were one of an infinite number that will never be known.
We put a Freedom of Information request in to find out about the number of Child Abuse Inquiries that had been undertaken by the Metropolitan Police across London between 1950 and 1974. The response from the Metropolitan Police was that it would cost the group £450.00 to carry out the search.
So we altered the nature of our Inquiry to just Banstead Police station where the group had received reports of a paedophile ring operating out of the above police station. Also that Survivors had made complaints of abuse to the police but no records have been found. (These were anonymous tips so the authenticity the group cannot vouch for).
We have also received information that a previous Chief Constable of Surrey Police, now head of the National Crime Agency, refused to instigate child abuse enquiries into historic abuse allegations.
THE CASE FOR JUSTICE AND REPARATIONS
In most cases of historical sexual abuse claims, the claimant is invariably faced with a number of obstacles that a court has to decide to what level the experiences, as a child, have interfered with the claimants adult life and whether it affected his or her behaviour, including any criminal behaviour during this lifetime..
As a survivor group, we recognise that the courts have a limited amount of scope to accurately assess the impact of the injury on each person individually. We hope that we can show properly any damage to the survivor on a collective and any collateral damage in comparison to someone who has had a normal upbringing and adult life. Only then will it be possible to accurately assess the levels of damage that each person has suffered.
As judges have become more educated and informed on what impact child abuse has on all individual children and that it is wrong to discount any damages simply because a person may have suffered similar problems in later life, We believe this could be relevant to individuals who were at the home but not abused.
It would not be a fair assumption to believe that a child could have suffered these outcomes regardless of the level of abuse, it would be the same as stating that a person who is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from serving in war zones could of easily have the same problems from normal work related stress.
Any chances for a child in a care home setting to benefit from social mobility, however remote the chances are must not be excluded from them irrespective of how low the chances of this happening are. The lack of chances they had in life are not the fault of the children but the complete responsibility of the Management of these homes and there corporate bosses.
The defense normally put forward by most defendants in child sexual abuse cases tends to discriminate against the children. The point we are making that in the majority of cases adults are free to make choices that affect their lives at every level, any action causes a reaction and an adult bears that responsibility for what he does.
Judges, juries and other child protection authorities are now more aware of the devastating effects that sexual advances and acts carried out by or to the child as they grow into adult life. Each child is different and will suffer through a lack of opportunity, a dislike or hatred of authority. In a lot of cases the abused child will have a blighted education. To enable a child abused in care to reach its full potential they must receive extra help.
In the case of Beecholme, which closed its doors in 1974 completely but in the end only had a few resident children living there. The survivors of the abuse in the home are now reaching older age and others are suffering from poor health, whilst others are spread across the old commonwealth. Others are suffering from mental health issues that need to be assessed properly for the levels of impact on the child’s life.
If a child has suffered a collective trauma due to the homes failure at every level it is not for the council or the courts to decide what each child could have attained or the potential for each child by adopting the law of probability. What has to be decided is what could the child have attained if they had not be abused in a home under the management of Wandsworth Council.
If a parent neglected or did not properly look after a child in their care that child was removed by the state under the auspices of the local authority for their own protection. And in some cases of bullying, starvation or other parental abuse the parent or guardian was sent to prison. After this the children were sent to homes where paedophiles acted at will and in some cases with the knowledge of senior officials who carried out a system of high level cover ups.
If those in authority could not, or in most cases would not, realistically look after and guarantee the safety of the children then the question must be asked as to whether the child should of been placed in care in the first place. Only then could Wandsworth Council and the state be able to forgive themselves and absolve themselves of any blame in the beatings, starvation and sexual abuse that went on, on an industrial scale and contributed to many problems as these children left Beecholme.
As a group we are made up of different people.
- Some want justice and a level of compensation
- Some are ex-residents who have never spoken to anyone about the abuse and want justice and compensation.
- Others are ex-residents sitting anonymously watching developments who just want compensation
- Some ex-residents who were abused and told adults but the adults did nothing.
So that there can be no misunderstandings the groups legal team of Charles Dereham and Charlotte Attwood of Verisona Law have started sending claims to Wandsworth Council and for the avoidance of doubt, each member of the group is willing to give evidence in court against the council.
We have discovered that survivors, some Child Care Officers and others informed the authorities about the abuse but nothing was ever done or investigated so from 1950 until it closed in 1974 the staff who were employed or mandated by the state to look after the children failed in their duty of care to look after these children. This failure to carry out a duty of care towards the children was compounded by a management team, some of whom were obviously perverts, paedophiles and abusers. This meant over the years they would ensure that all, or the majority of staff employed by them, were off a like mind or had sympathy for the lifestyle these staff followed. These staff were of a substandard level and of a criminal type who never had the best interest of children as there mindset.
After the 1963 local government act and as the newly expanded Wandsworth Council set up a new Child Care organisation under the leadership of Ted Higgins, they shadowed the staff and started transferring staff to the new organisation, a full inspection of the assets and liabilities it was to inherit was undertaken. A complete and full independent inquiry and report should have been carried out and Beecholme should have been closed sooner rather than later. So any child still at Beecholme on transfer after 1965 was still being abused and the new organisation in these homes was the same as under the London County council.
As an organisation, the Beecholme Survivors and Justice Group has had to consider its options and which level of litigation to follow.
- We will be presenting this report to Wandsworth Council along with some individual case studies so that the council can investigate and find out why they failed the children in their care, then jointly explore avenues to provide justice and an acceptable level of compensation.
- Beecholme Survivors and Justice Group is providing cases to Verisona law, who have started sending these individual claims to Wandsworth Council. We will bring litigation against any council or organisation that holds a responsibility for the standard and lack of a level of care and provide an acceptable level of compensation for the abuse each child suffered, irrespective of whether the survivor is dead or alive, with Wandsworth Council being the main litigant.
As a starting point, we must be able to prove that the claimants are able to prove that each individual was
- Themselves physically and/or sexually abused and/or neglected while under the care of the Defendant at Beecholme/Earlsfield House/Hartfield House children’s home or were injured
- By witnessing the physical or sexual abuse of other residents at Beecholme Children’s Home or
We ask the following questions:
- Is the Defendant(s) vicariously liable for the actions of the individuals who perpetrated and carried out the abuse
- Is the Defendant(s) a public authority under the auspices and explanation of the Human Rights Act (1998)?
- What level of damages would be acceptable or what is the appropriate level(s) of general damages, past losses, future losses and if appropriate, Human Rights damages for the claimants?
As a group we feel it is a better and more cost effective way to start litigation with a claim against Wandsworth Council. This is rather than engaging in individual claims and the associated level of costs to the public purse. We feel that justice is better served by hearing every claim as one entity as some claims are more severe than others. The judging of the failures of the Beecholme Management and by its very extension Wandsworth Council, plus other government organisations that failed to supply a level of care that each child required.
It is the groups view that bearing in mind the passage of time and the age of many of the staff that may be still alive, the idea that any more convictions would be forthcoming are nigh impossible to expect.
When control of Beecholme was transferred to Wandsworth, all obligations and liabilities were set out in the transfer document giving them full responsibility for any past and present actions which took place at the home. There was a supreme court ruling in 2007 and again in 2016 that the councils were responsible for all prior failings of previous authorities. This leaves Wandsworth with the responsibility for the failings during the years from 1930 until the changeover in 1965. The failings during this period and subsequently the failings of Wandsworth Council leave a Group Litigation the best way forward. As part of the recompense and justice for each individual would be a full recognition of the hurt and harm caused by the Management of the home at all levels.
It is obvious to us as a group that in any future litigation we must rely on the testimony of survivors who have first-hand experience and the collaborative evidence of each person from Beecholme. We must also look at the collective role of Child Care officers who through neglect, indifference and too heavy a workload. allowed the collective abuse of children by beatings, starvation and sexual abuse which resulted in a very dysfunctional childhood that had a major impact on each child’s subsequent life.
If any of the above options fail or for some reason or cannot be pursued, we reserve our right to undertake any other action needed to obtain justice for every Beecholme Resident.
We will where necessary search every available place, organisation or the internet and print and publish every accusation of abuse against any individual. We will also ensure that the name of every alleged abuser or paedophile is also published as part of the expose. This will be done to ensure that the correct levels of justice and compensation is awarded to each survivor.
The Beecholme Survivors and Justice Group will seek to be awarded by Wandsworth Council a level of Compensation, reparations and redress for the many and continued failures of first the London County council and finally Wandsworth Council.
As a group we will be also seeking redress compensation that will enable the group to provide enough services for at least 3 years after the closing date of any compensation award.
COMPENSATION OR REPARATIONS
Our reparations must ensure a level that each survivor is happy with. We reserve the right to amend or alter any of the claims as required by events.
- It is our intention to seek reparations for every child from birth until the age of 16 who were sexually abused or any other form of neglect that was carried out at Beecholme by any member of staff or other individuals starting in the 1930’s and carried on until the home closed in 1974. The level of this sexual depravity is not limited to a few individuals. ( Clifford Heap)
- The Beecholme Survivors and Justice Group will seek reparations for all children that were placed in the homes or educational establishments that catered for children adjudged to have been maladjusted. We have identified members of staff in these cottages who acted in a sadistic nature and caught a form of sexual gratification out of that behaviour.
- In our evidence we point out the levels of bullying that was carried out on a daily basis. The information we have is that even though there was a ban on corporal punishment, sadistic bullying and beatings were carried out on a daily basis. Sexual abuse has been mentioned by some survivors. ( This is subject to further investigation).
- The Beecholme Survivors and Justice Group will be seeking reparations and complete acknowledgment from the institutions of how badly children were let down once a child reached 15/16/18, depending on time or year. They were thrown out onto the street where some were picked up by some of the perverts or paedophiles who operated out of Beecholme and pimped out, both boys and girls. Some of the children graduated to the Wimpy Bar and amusement arcades at Victoria where they were led into a life on the streets and prostitution.
- In the event that the survivor is deceased, we will seek compensation for the survivor to be passed to the surviving family members.
- As a group The Beecholme Survivors and Justice Group will seek a level of compensation or reparations that amply compensate for the failure of the council to investigate any or all claims of sexual abuse in the home. Wandsworth council should acknowledge its failure to investigate and protect children in its care. If any of this neglect was of a criminal nature then the level of compensation should be at a higher level. The council should seek advice from the police on whether charges can be bought against any individual who carried out or neglected to act on any information that was told to them.
- Beecholme Survivors and Justice Group will seek to obtain a level of compensation for the lack of certain staff integrity and the lack of proper background checks or vetting carried out between 1930 and 1974 and the complete failure to check any member of full time staff, part time staff, casual staff and visitors and the social Aunts and Uncles who had free range of these homes.
- Beecholme Survivors and Justice Group will also look at the racism issues to claim reparations and compensation, After our investigation it was discovered that at one time black children were sent to one particular cottage under a sadistic bully.
- As the final claim for compensation and reparations against Wandsworth Council in its failure to protect children from sexual abuse, at certain times individuals were arrested and charged with sexual abuse (Harry Grey, 1971) Also bullies were allowed to flourish and keep their jobs whilst children were labeled as story-tellers and liars. ( in my sisters case, teller of fantastic stories and a thief)
- As part of our claim for reparations and compensation Beecholme Survivors and Justice Group are seeking justice for the children shipped out by the management after reporting sexual abuse.
As a group it is necessary for us on behalf of all survivors, and families of the abused to have acknowledged the unimaginable harm, damage and trauma caused at a level. Every survivor has been significantly disadvantaged and has experienced high levels of unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, also poor physical and mental health and in the majority of cases have not reached the potential they should have. We believe that each survivor should get a level of compensation that will enable them to have a decent level of expectation. Every child thought they were being given a pass into a better life but they never expected to be abused again. These survivors were abused or neglected in their own home where they expected to be safe. Instead they were put at the mercy of perverts who were protected by the establishment. In most cases, one hell was swapped for another. Some survivors lives after leaving Beecholme just went from bad to worse.
What this report shows and demonstrates is that some children could have avoided further abuse or trauma if just one person in the employment of Wandsworth Council took a hand in their care before they were released. Why, after 1965 did Wandsworth not put in place a leaving care scheme? If they had, this would or could have saved some of them from a life on the streets. Wandsworth like many other authorities sought to lie and cover up the levels and amount of abuse.
Beecholme Survivors and Justice Group seeks to obtain compensation or reparations for the children who were denied access or a family life by the actions of any part of the Wandsworth legal team.
8 REDRESS SCHEME
Beecholme Survivors and Justice Group are of the opinion that a full redress scheme would be the best case of compensation and justice for each survivor. Any scheme implemented must address as a starting point, were you resident in one of the cottages where abuse was carried out. The scheme must also recognise the level of abuse suffered by each survivor, what impact it had on the survivors life and life chances. Also any redress scheme must also look to help the survivor face their fears and their futures. As a starting point it is recommended to Wandsworth Council that the report (Historical Abuse, What Survivors want from Redress) Professor Patricia Lundy,Ulster University,2010 ) This report suggests that the following should be included.
- Financial Compensation
- Acknowledgment and Apology
- Access to Records
- Counselling and Wellbeing service provision
- Monuments and Memory Projects
- Restorative Justice
- Reparation and Family Reunification
- Intergenerational Issues
- A level off payment in Compensation to allow the group to continue working for Wandsworth Children’s homes survivors ( A Compensation Payment per Survivor).
In seeking a redress scheme we must seek that each person gets a basic payment, with a top up payment for the level of abuse suffered in any Wandsworth Children’s home, this should also include the unregulated and unlicensed boarding out homes.
Another part of the redress scheme must ensure that no survivor can lose any access to, or any of the benefits they currently qualify for. The group as a whole will look into how this can be achieved for each survivor.
In conclusion it is groups position that each ex-resident of Beecholme must get a full written and individual apology that ensures they feel justice has been obtained. Our inability to get Wandsworth to the table is part of the problem.
It is our belief that along with Surrey Police they have deliberately covered up and prevaricated as much as they can to stop us getting at the truth. They have hidden abuse reports and destroyed records over a number of years. The police have been deliberately obtuse by at first pretending to be keeping us informed but then changing the goalposts in which they now treat each person as an individual and use the exemption they are allowed. As a group we have sought to work and cooperate with everybody, but to no avail. Some groups have not cooperated whilst others have ignored requests from us for help.
The other councils involved in this are Camden, Westminster, Islington, Royal Borough Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham. Each one of these Councils sent children to Beecholme, How many of these councils have abuse reports? Each council is extremely guilty of a gigantic cover up and neglect of each child at a very high level. These Councils have once again cooperated with Surrey Police but have ignored requests to talk to us.
Each of the six councils which include Wandsworth have been negligent and have allowed the sexual abuse of children on an industrial scale. Are there other hidden reports these councils carried out? or did they at any time undertake any investigations into the abuse at Beecholme. We have first-hand reports from various survivors who were sent to Beecholme. Why did six Heads of Child Services in six of the new London Boroughs allow the neglect and sexual abuse of children that they sent to Beecholme.
We are happy to state that initial meetings took place with the following councils, Camden, Islington, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Wandsworth and Hammersmith and Fulham.
We have also requested new meetings to look at further cooperation between us and the councils.
Camden, Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Islington are also complicit in the cover up of the levels of abuse at Beecholme.
We conclude this report by stating that Wandsworth are guilty of allowing sexual abuse, neglect, beatings, starvation and a cover up.
So where does the conclusion for Beecholme begin, does it begin with the complicit behaviour of the senior management of the London County Council or the new senior management from the six newly enlarged councils or Wandsworth Council alone who assumed responsibility alone for its day to day affairs after 1965.
No, the responsibility lies with each authority and management during its operation from 1930 onwards until its closure in 1974. In the1930’s the newly formed or expanded London County Council were responsible. This responsibility we have split on a 50/50 basis between the politicians and the Management. The blame lies in the standard and levels of education or training off the staff. Such was t8. at this time that one could safely assume that staff were picked on their ability to control the children in their care.
Children were controlled by different measures, the majority being beatings, starvation and very harsh treatment. The other methods of control were the perverts and paedophiles that were allowed to operate in these homes and cottages.
The numbers of staff and visitors who took advantage of the lax security or care or concern for children cannot be measured at all but must number in the high hundreds or low thousands. Children were forced to call everybody Auntie and Uncle and on numerous occasions the children were taken advantage off by these individuals. (in a sexual or physical way).
So let us return to the running of Beecholme, the children’s village was operated by senior management consisting of a Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent and other supporting and ancillary staff operating out of a central office. After this came the House Parent or Parents with casual staff
and others helping to run each cottage. Plus, the home had students and volunteers visiting the homes at different times. So in essence each cottage operated in a semi- autonomous fashion where what went on behind closed doors, stayed behind those doors. This does not mean that the senior management were above such levels of poor behaviour.
As part of this investigation we looked at the role of the senior management and especially Geoffrey Banner and whether he was a paedophile. In the cause of our investigation various individuals and family members of the deceased have said that they had been sexually abused by the superintendent. We do believe these actions happened as they have been verified by different survivors. Geoffrey Banner was also fond of delivering a good spanking. We cannot verify or prove one hundred per cent as to whether or how much sexual abuse was carried out or instigated by Geoffrey Banner who was abusing his position of power.
In looking at the person above and investigating the extent of the management cover up, it is impossible to believe they did not engage in these sexual perversions or know it was going on. To what extent and how high into the politicians of the London County Council and Wandsworth is now and can only be conjecture, but it is evident that the sexual abuse was on an industrial scale and covered up by the establishment.
So Ted Long, Pete Mactavish, Clifford Heap, Thomas Hart, Edward Pearce, xxxxx xxxxx, xxxxx xxxxx, Ethel Farmer, Cecil Farmer, and others carried out certain acts of violence towards children and young people. This list is not exhaustive as it would probably number more pages than the report.
As we looked further into the very dark practices and treatment of young girls at Beecholme, we have to mention VC and Gale Parsons (Booth).VC committed suicide and Gale died of a heroin overdose,
All these deaths can be attributable to the treatment of each girl whilst at Beecholme. Our information is that each girl was sexually abused whilst at Beecholme. In the case of young Gale, was her poor behaviour and disruption down to her or to adults sexually abusing her. So this part ends with the responsibility for the sexual and physical abuse laid squarely at the feet of Councillors.
Let us turn now to what is now classified as a Welfare Officer/Social Worker, for some unknown reason our society has moved to a system where a three year Social Worker degree seems to give you the keys to the Kingdom. My first social worker “ Murial Tanner” was a well-educated middle class lady who saw through my father and had the measure of him My father moved house, Miss Tanner was promoted and we then had a succession of Child Care Officers who had no real interest in the children they were looking after.
So it is to this that we look at now, in the majority of case reports were poor and rather than properly inspect places or bedrooms they did nothing. They just filed a report saying everything was OK, All of us had a variety of these officers in our lives and every one of us can relay stories about them in the main. The majority were very poor and did nothing. If a child complained they would be moved on elsewhere. How does a “ Margaret Quigley” run a home with about 20/30 children with no checks whatsoever, then in 1965 how does the newly formed Wandsworth Council give her a license for a home with 10 children. Who covered this up? Was Ted Higgins involved in these decisions?
Our investigation has been hampered by the following groups, Surrey Police and Wandsworth Council. Plus we must also look at the roles off all six councils that sent children to be abused in all its many forms whilst in their care.
(We wish to thank Miss Katrina Waite from Wandsworth for her unstinting patience in trying to find out the information we requested.)
( We also wish to thank Kahlah Ravnett and the staff of Islington Council for their help in the compilation of this report).
( We wish to also thank Miss Georgia Gould and her staff at Camden Council for the help and assistance they have provided).
( We would also like to thank, Angela Flahive and the support staff of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster Council).
Our biggest condemnation goes to the Hammersmith and Fulham Council and Surrey Police who have both been obstructive and refused to provide us with the information we needed. It is forty three years since the home closed, surely it is time in a so called open and transparent democracy that the light of TRUTH should be shined into the dark recesses of the Children’s Homes that were, in the majority of cases, sweet shops for perverts and paedophiles.
We would like to add that Hammersmith and Fulham Council never returned a letter and point blankly refused to meet.
So let us close the report in the knowledge that no longer can Wandsworth claim ignorance about the children abused at Beecholme, or the ongoing effects that each child’s abuse had on the lives they have lived.
Justice is only served when it is acknowledged by the Authority dispensing it.
Let me finally thank my wife Lee, who has been constantly by my side, who is fighting the hardest battle of her life, who has heard things that has happened to me and others. No person should have to listen to the levels of abuse that were suffered by our survivors at Beecholme. So my thanks to her patience and understanding have no end.
For every survivor who has suffered because of Beecholme
Children will be seen and not Heard:
This was the watchword of our youth.
Beecholme Report, has been written and
published by the Beecholme Survivors and Justice Group
TM who has kept me sane and been a great friend
KS who brightens my mood every time I speak to her and without whose help we could not have written the report.
SP whose knowledge has been fantastic
ML a wonderful friend and helper
JR A very genuine individual, who has suffered more than most.
C, Thank You
SC, a great friend and who gets my heartfelt thanks.
TW an unflinching fighter for survivors
CFB who has been unstinting in his help and friendship.
To every Beecholme Survivor who has come forward and helped move us closer to Justice.
. THE REPORTS AUTHOR
Graeme Sergeant was at Cuckfield Nursery in 1958 and arrived at Beecholme in 1959 moving on to boarding out home in 1962, Gayfere House, On his arrival in Beecholme he was placed in Drake House under the House Parents Mr. and Mrs. Farmer who ran a degrading operation.
When the Farmers left Drake House a succession of part time or casual staff were employed to run the home until Eva Knight was appointed just before he was moved. On various occasions he was dragged out of bed, taken downstairs and locked in a cupboard. He then taken out and paraded naked in the kitchen in front of both men and woman whilst it was decided who he would go with. He was abused by both men and woman and made to carry out various sexual acts for the gratification of both men and woman. (He was never raped or buggered).
He was beaten badly on more than one occasion, being thrown against an iron towel rail, having his head dunked down a toilet then spanked hard. On being sent to the new home he was again sexually abused by strangers and members of staff. Gayfere House disappeared in 1965 and the house and Margaret Quigley, one of the staff members and had previously worked at Beecholme, disappeared. After a battle he obtained the rather underhanded behaviour of Wandsworth Council in that they licensed Margaret Quigley to run a home with up to 10 children.
Wandsworth Council in 1965 then committed the ultimate act of racism in that as his mother had a relationship with a black man, she was immediately left out of decisions. The London County Council ‘forgot’ to tell his mother that the divorce hearing was three months earlier. This decision denied him a relationship with Rita, his mother. Hence, he never saw her alive again. He had two extra sisters who he never knew so a relationship with then was impossible.
He went on to have a very successful life being married for over 42 years and having children and 8 grandchildren. He tried numerous jobs and moved about eleven times, including a stint of working in South Africa.
After tracing his mother and discovering her death and getting hold of his care records, he discovered that what he had been led to believe was true, turned out to be false. His father had been not only the instigator but he was assisted by the authorities in his dealings. His father had always said very little, but had told him he had been in Shirley Oaks, when in effect he had been in Beecholme and he also knew about the sisters.
So it was this that led him to start the group and the fact that we have identified a system of institutional abuse at Beecholme and it was instigated at management level. We must also look at the extent of any cover.
- The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.
- National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups.
- One in Four [C]
- Havoca [D].
- Useful post on Triggers [E] from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.
- Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G] and Meditation [H] may be useful.
- Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma [J]
- Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K]
- Voicing CSA group [L] helps arrange survivors meetings in your area
- A Prescription for me blog Various emotional support links [M]
- Fresh Start Foundation Scottish not for profit group, helping child sexual abuse victims & survivors [N]
 Beechwood Survivors Interim Report Through the Iron Gates To The Cottages of Hell
 2018 Jan 2017 CathyFoxBlog Beecholme Survivors and Justice Group Letter https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2018/01/17/beecholme-survivors-and-justice-group-letter/
 2017 Dec 5 cathy fox blog Beecholme – Wandsworth Council wrong to say they had no Child Abuse Reports https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2017/12/05/beecholme-wandsworth-council-wrong-to-say-they-had-no-child-abuse-reports/
 2017 Oct 31 cathy fox blog Beecholme Survivors – please get in touch https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2017/10/31/beecholme-survivors-please-get-in-touch/
 2017 Aug 5 cathy fox blog Child Abuse at Beecholme Childrens Home, Banstead, Surrey https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/child-abuse-at-beecholme-childrens-home-banstead-surrey/
 2017 July 9 cathy fox blog #CSASurvivors Stories 3 – James Reeves Story https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/csasurvivors-stories-3-james-reeves-story/
[A] Sanctuary for the Abused http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html
Let justice be done though the heavens fall – Fiat justitia ruat cælum