Google+ Followers

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Samuel Herbert: The Man Who Brought Down the Conservative Government?

When John Profumo resigned on 5th June, after confessing that he lied to the House of Commons, the matter could have come to an end. However, someone decided that it would be a good idea to prosecute Stephen Ward. It was this decision that eventually brought down the Conservative government.

To understand what happened it is necessary to go back to 27th March, 1963, when Henry Brooke, the Home Secretary, summoned Roger Hollis, the head of MI5, and Joseph Simpson, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, to a meeting in his office. Philip Knightley pointed out in An Affair of State (1987): "All these people are now dead and the only account of what took place is a semi-official one leaked in 1982 by MI5. According to this account, when Brooke tackled Hollis on the rumour that MI5 had been sending anonymous letters to Mrs Profumo, Hollis vigorously denied it."

Roger Hollis then told Henry Brooke that Christine Keeler had been having a sexual relationship with John Profumo. At the same time Keeler was believed to be having an affair with Eugene Ivanov, a Soviet spy. According to Keeler, Stephen Ward had asked her "to find out, through pillow talk, from Jack Profumo when nuclear warheads were being moved to Germany." Hollis added that "in any court case that might be brought against Ward over the accusation all the witnesses would be completely unreliable" and therefore he rejected the idea of using the Official Secrets Act against Ward.

Henry Brooke then asked the Police Commissioner's view on this. Joseph Simpson agreed with Roger Hollis about the unreliable witnesses but added that it might be possible to get a conviction against Ward with a charge of living off immoral earnings. However, he added, that given the evidence available, a conviction was unlikely. Despite this response, Brooke urged Simpson to carry out a full investigation into Ward's activities.

Commander Fred C. Pennington was ordered to assemble a team to investigate Ward. The team was headed by Chief Inspector Samuel Herbert and included John Burrows, Arthur Eustace and Mike Glasse. Pennington told Herbert and his colleagues: "we've received this tip-off, but there'll be nothing in it." Glasse later told Philip Knightley that he thought that this was "a hint not to try too hard."

However, for some reason Herbert decided that Ward would be prosecuted. What is more, Herbert was willing to do all he could to make sure that Ward was convicted.

It emerged later that Herbert installed a spy in Ward's home during the investigation. Herbert recruited Wendy Davies, a twenty-year old barmaid at the Duke of Marlborough pub, near Ward's flat. Davies knew Ward who had sketched her several times in the past. Davies later recalled: "I went to Stephen's flat practically every night up to his arrest. Each time I tried to listen in to telephone conversations, and to what Stephen was saying to friends who called. When I got back to my flat I wrote everything down in an exercise book, and rang the police the next day. I gave them a lot of information."

Herbert interviewed Christine Keeler at her home on 1st April 1963. Four days later she was taken to Marylebone Police Station. Herbert told her that the police would need a complete list of men with whom she had sex or who had given her money during the time she knew Ward. This list included the names of John Profumo, Charles Clore and Jim Eynan.

On 23rd April Mandy Rice-Davies was arrested at Heathrow Airport on the way to Spain for a holiday, and formerly charged her with "possessing a document so closely resembling a driving licence as to be calculated to deceive." The magistrate fixed bail at £2,000. She later commented that "not only did I not have that much money, but the policeman in charge made it very clear to me that i would be wasting my energy trying to rustle it up." Rice-Davies spent the next nine days in Holloway Prison.

While she was in custody Rice-Davies was visited by Chief Inspector Herbert. His first words were: "Mandy, you don't like it in here very much, do you? Then you help us, and we'll help you." Herbert made it clear that Christine Keeler was helping them into their investigation into Stephen Ward. When she provided the information required she would be released from prison.

At first Mandy Rice-Davies refused to cooperate but as she later pointed out: "I was ready to kick the system any way I could. But ten days of being locked up alters the perspective. Anger was replaced by fear. I was ready to do anything to get out." Rice-Davies added: "Although I was certain nothing I could say about Stephen could damage him any way... I felt I was being coerced into something, being pointed in a predetermined direction." Herbert asked Rice-Davies for a list of men with whom she had sex or who had given her money during the time she knew Ward. This list included the names of Peter Rachman and Emil Savundra.

Herbert personally interviewed Christine Keeler twenty-four times during the investigation. Other senior detectives had interrogated her on fourteen other occasions. Herbert told Keeler that unless her evidence in court matched her statements "you might well find yourself standing beside Stephen Ward in the dock."

Mandy Rice-Davies appeared in court on 1st May 1963. She was found guilty and fined £42. Rice-Davies immediately took a plane to Majorca. A few days later Herbert telephoned her and said: "They would be sending out my ticket, they wanted me back in London, and if I didn't go voluntarily they would issue a warrant for extradition." Despite the fact that there was no extradition arrangement between the two countries, Rice-Davies decided to return to England. On her arrival at Heathrow Airport she was arrested and charged with stealing a television set valued at £82. This was the set that Peter Rachman had hired for her flat. According to Rice-Davies: "I had signed the hire papers, and after he'd died I had never been allowed to remove the set." Chief Inspector Herbert arranged for Rice-Davies passport to be taken from her. She was released on the understanding that she would give evidence in court against Stephen Ward.

Chief Inspector Herbert also interviewed Vasco Lazzolo, who was one of Ward's friends who agreed to testify for the defence. Herbert told Lazzolo that if he was determined to give evidence on Ward's behalf, then he might have to be discredited. Herbert warned that the police might have to "find" some pornographic material in his studio and prosecute him.

Herbert needed more evidence against Stephen Ward. He therefore arrested Ronna Ricardo was arrested by the police and agreed to give evidence against Ward. Ricardo was known as "Ronna the Lash", and specialised in flagellation. Trevor Kempson, a journalist, who was working for the News of the World claimed: "She used to carry her equipment round in a leather bag. She was well known for the use of the whip, and I heard that several of Ward's friends used to like it rough."

At the Ward committal proceedings, Ronna Ricardo provided evidence that suggested that he had been living off her immoral earnings. She quoted Ward as saying that it "would be worth my while" to attend a party at Cliveden. Ricardo claimed that she visited Ward's home in London three times. On one occasion, she had sex with a man in Ward's bedroom after being given £25."

Ricardo told Ludovic Kennedy that the police interviewed her nine times in order that she gave a statement that provided evidence that suggested that Ward was living off immoral earnings. Ricardo confessed to another researcher, Anthony Summers that: "Stephen didn't have to ponce - he was dead rich, a real gentleman; a shoulder for me to cry on for me, for a long time." Ricardo also told Summers that Chief Inspector Samuel Herbert was one of her clients.

Two days before Ward's trial, Ronna Ricardo made a new statement to the police. "I want to say that most of the evidence I gave at Marylebone Court was untrue. I want to say I never met a man in Stephen Ward's flat except my friend 'Silky' Hawkins. He is the only man I have ever had intercourse with in Ward's flat. It is true that I never paid Ward any money received from men with whom I have had intercourse. I have only been in Ward's flat once and that was with 'Silky'. Ward was there and Michelle."

It later emerged that Ricardo decided to tell the truth after being interviewed by Tom Mangold of the Daily Express. "There were two strands running through the thing, it seemed to me. There was some sort of intelligence connection, which I could not understand at the time. The other thing, the thing that was clear, was that Ward was being made a scapegoat for everyone else's sins. So that the public would excuse them. If the myth about Ward could be built up properly, the myth that he was a revolting fellow, a true pimp, then police would feel that other men, like Profumo and Astor, had been corrupted by him. But he wasn't a ponce. He was no more a pimp than hundreds of other men in London. But when the state wants to act against an individual, it can do it."

On 3rd July, 1963, Vickie Barrett was arrested for soliciting. While being interviewed, Barrett claimed she knew Stephen Ward. She told the police that she was picked up by Ward in Oxford Street in January 1963. Barrett was taken back to his flat where she had sex with a friend of his. Afterwards, she said, Ward told her that the man had paid him and he would save the money for her. Over the next two and a half months, according to Barrett some two or three times a week, the same thing would happen. Barrett claimed that during this time, Ward never paid her any money for these acts of prostitution.

The trial of Stephen Ward began at the Old Bailey on 22nd July 1963. Rebecca West was one of the journalists covering the case. She described Barrett looking like "a photograph from a famine relief fund appeal." Ludovic Kennedy, the author of The Trial of Stephen Ward (1964) commented: "She came into the witness-box, a little whey-faced blonde, wearing a sort of green raincoat with a white scarf round her neck; and when she turned to face the court and while she was giving the oath, one's impression was one of shock; shock that Ward, whom one had believed to be a man of some fastidiousness in his tastes, had sunk so low. For of all the whores the prosecution had paraded or were still to parade before us this one was the bottom of the barrel."

At the trial Vickie Barrett claimed that Ward had picked her up in Oxford Street and had taken her home to have sex with his friends. Barrett was unable to name any of these men. She added that Ward was paid by these friends and he kept some of the money for her in a little drawer. Ward admitted knowing Barrett and having sex with her. However, he denied arranging for her to have sex with other men or taking money from her. Sylvia Parker, who had been staying at Ward's flat at the time Barrett claimed she was brought there to have sex with other men. She called Barrett's statements "untrue, a complete load of rubbish".

Christine Keeler claims that she had never seen Barrett before: "She (Barrett) described Stephen handing out horsewhips, canes, contraceptives and coffee and how, having collected her weapons, she had treated the waiting clients. It sounded, and was, nonsense. I had lived with Stephen and never seen any evidence of anything like that." Mandy Rice-Davies agreed with Keeler: "Much of what she (Barrett) said was discredited. It was obvious to anyone that Stephen, with the police breathing down his neck and the press on his doorstep, would hardly have the opportunity or the inclination for this sort of thing."

Ronna Ricardo gave evidence on the second day of the trial. Ludovic Kennedy, the author of The Trial of Stephen Ward (1964) commented that unlike Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies "she made no pretensions about not being a tart." Kennedy added "She had dyed red hair and a pink jumper and a total lack of any sort of finesse".

While being cross-examined by Melvyn Griffith-Jones Ricardo claimed she had told untruths about Stephen Ward in her statement on 5th April because of threats made by the police. "The statements which I have made to the police were untrue. I made them because I did not want my young sister to go to a remand home or my baby taken away from me. Mr. Herbert told me they would take my sister away and take my baby if I didn't make the statements."

As Mandy Rice-Davies pointed out: "When Ronna Ricardo, who had provided strong evidence against him at the early hearing, came into court she swore under oath that her earlier evidence had been false. She had lied to satisfy the police, that they had threatened her, if she refused, with taking her baby and her young sister into care. Despite the most aggressive attack from Mr Griffith Jones, and barely concealed hostility from the judge, she stuck to her story, that this was the truth and the earlier story she had told was lies." As Ricardo later told Anthony Summers: "Stephen was a good friend of mine. But Inspector Herbert was a good friend as well, so it was complicated."

Stephen Ward told his defence counsel, James Burge: "One of my great perils is that at least half a dozen of the (witnesses) are lying and their motives vary from malice to cupidity and fear... In the case of both Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies there is absolutely no doubt that they are committed to stories which are already sold or could be sold to newspapers and that my conviction would free these newspapers to print stories which they would otherwise be quite unable to print (for libel reasons)."

Stephen Ward was very upset by the judge's summing-up that included the following: "If Stephen Ward was telling the truth in the witness box, there are in this city many witnesses of high estate and low who could have come and testified in support of his evidence." Several people present in the court claimed that Judge Archie Pellow Marshall was clearly biased against Ward. France Soir reported: "However impartial he tried to appear, Judge Marshall was betrayed by his voice."

That night Ward wrote to his friend, Noel Howard-Jones: "It is really more than I can stand - the horror, day after day at the court and in the streets. It is not only fear, it is a wish not to let them get me. I would rather get myself. I do hope I have not let people down too much. I tried to do my stuff but after Marshall's summing-up, I've given up all hope." Ward then took an overdose of sleeping tablets. He was in a coma when the jury reached their verdict of guilty of the charge of living on the immoral earnings of Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies on Wednesday 31st July. However, he was found not guilty of the charges relating to Ronna Ricardo and Vickie Barrett. Three days later, Ward died in St Stephen's Hospital.

In his book, The Trial of Stephen Ward (1964), Ludovic Kennedy considers the guilty verdict of Ward to be a miscarriage of justice. In An Affair of State (1987), the journalist, Philip Knightley argues: "Witnesses were pressured by the police into giving false evidence. Those who had anything favourable to say were silenced. And when it looked as though Ward might still survive, the Lord Chief Justice shocked the legal profession with an unprecedented intervention to ensure Ward would be found guilty."Ward's defence team found suicide notes addressed to Vickie Barrett, Ronna Ricardo, Melvyn Griffith-Jones, James Burge and Lord Denning: Barrett's letter said: "I don't know what it was or who it was that made you do what you did. But if you have any decency left, you should tell the truth like Ronna Ricardo. You owe this not to me, but to everyone who may be treated like you or like me in the future."

The letter was passed to Barry O'Brien, a journalist who worked for the Daily Telegraph. He later recalled: "We were alone in the room. I told her that Dr. Ward had died and that on the night he had taken the overdose he had written her a letter. I told her that I had a photograph copy of the letter with me and gave it to her. She was greatly shocked at learning Dr. Ward was dead."

O'Brien claimed that Vickie Barrett responded with the following words: "It was all lies. But I never thought he would die. I didn't want him to die. It was not all lies. I did go to the flat but it was only to do business with Stephen Ward. It was not true I went with other men." Barrett admitted that she had been coerced into giving her evidence by the police. According to O'Brien she told him that Herbert had threatened that if she did not do what he wanted she would never be able to show her face in Notting Hill again. Barrett agreed to go to see Ward's solicitor, then went to another room to get her coat. According to O'Brien, an older women who was living in the house came out, and said: "Miss Barrett was not going anywhere." Barrett later retracted her retraction.

According to Sergeant Mike Glasse, all the police officers had been told before Ward's trial that if the prosecution was successful they would receive promotions, "but not immediately, because it would not look good." Samuel Herbert was promoted to the rank of Superintendent.

Samuel Herbert died of a heart attack on 16th April 1966. In his will he left only £300, which was commensurate with the police salaries at that time. However, after his death his bank account was discovered to contain no less than £30,000 (660,000 by today's values). According to Philip Knightley: "By coincidence, in the tape recordings which Christine Keeler made with her manager, Robin Drury, Keeler says that John Lewis, Ward's bitter enemy, had offered her £30,000 for information leading to Ward's conviction and the bringing down of the Conservative Government."

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Prediction of the Assassination of JFK

Twenty-five minutes before the assassination of JFK someone phoned the Cambridge Evening News in the UK warning of “big news” and suggesting the paper called the US embassy in London. When this story emerged it was claimed the phone-call was anonymous. However, later that day a CIA officer based in London sent a telegram to their office in Washington claimed “some similar phone-calls of strangely coincidental nature previous received in this country over past year, particularly in connection with the Dr Ward’s case.” If it was the same informant, who was it?

We now know some of the people who were involved in leaking information about the Ward case. For example, the case originally became public when George Wigg raised the matter in the House of Commons. This information came from John Lewis, a former Labour MP who had lost his seat in the House of Commons. He got this information from Christine Keeler, who he met at a party. Lewis had two reasons for passing this information onto Wigg. Firstly, he was trying to please the leadership of the Labour Party as he wanted to a safe seat to enable him to get back into the House of Commons. Secondly, he hated Ward as he believed he was the cause of the break-up of his marriage.

We also know that Michael Eddowes leaked this information about Profumo and Keeler to Special Branch. Eddowes also got this information from Keeler. Eddowes was a patient of Ward’s who was trying hard to sleep with Keeler. He was also a solicitor and had been advising Keeler concerning the attack on her by John Edgecombe on 14th December, 1962.

Two days after the shooting Keeler contacted Eddowes for legal advice about the Edgecombe case. During this meeting she told Eddowes: "Stephen (Ward) asked me to ask Jack Profumo what date the Germans were to get the bomb." However, she later claimed that she knew Ward was joking when he said this. Eddowes then asked Ward about this matter. Keeler later recalled: "Stephen fed him the line he had prepared with Roger Hollis for such an eventuality: it was Eugene (Ivanov) who had asked me to find out about the bomb."

Eddowes believed Ward rather than Keeler and told Special Branch that Ivanov had been seeking this information. Eddowes claims that he did this for reasons of national security.

MI5 files suggest that the man who provided some of the information on the Ward case to George Wigg was Victor Louis, who also worked for the Cambridge Evening News. MI5 also suggest that he was getting information from the Soviet Union and may have been working for the KGB. If he was, he was never arrested and was allowed to continue working as a journalist. There is no doubt that KGB, like the CIA, leaked stories to journalists that they wished to appear in the press. Was it Louis who phoned the Cambridge Evening News predicting the JFK assassination? If so, did he get this information from the KGB? Is this why Eddowes became convinced that the KGB was behind the assassination of JFK?

Christine Keeler revealed in her 2001 autobiography that Stephen Ward told her in October 1962 that "a man like John Kennedy will not be allowed to stay in such an important position of power in the world, I assure you of that." Keeler believed this information came from Eugene Ivanov. Ward was a passionate “Liberal” and an open opponent of the Cold War. To some of his Conservative friends, Ward was seen as being pro-Soviet. However, according to Keeler, Ward had several heated arguments with Ivanov about the flaws in the communist system.

The fact that the Castro’s agents had infiltrated CIA operations against Cuba, makes it indeed possible that the KGB was aware of the conspiracy to kill JFK. Maybe one of the roles of Eugene Ivanov was to bring this to the attention of MI5. This is why the Soviets allowed Ivanov to enter the “honeytrap” that was being organized by Stephen Ward.

Michael Eddowes

Harry Alan Towers and Mariella Novotny

Harry Alan Towers was born in London on 19th October, 1920. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Air Force. Later he became programme director for British Forces radio. In 1946 Towers joined forces with his mother, Margaret Miller Towers, to establish a company called Towers of London that sold various syndicated radio shows around the world.

In 1955 Independent Television (ITV) was established as a public service network of British commercial television broadcasters, set up under the Independent Television Authority (ITA) to provide competition to the BBC. Later that year Towers began producing television programmes for ITV including The Golden Fleece (1955), The Boy About the Place (1955), Teddy Gang (1956), The Lady Asks for Help (1956), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1956), The Suicide Club (1956), The Little Black Book (1956), The New Adventures of Martin Kane (1957), A Christmas Carol (1958), 24 Hours a Day (1959), Down to the Sea (1959), Gun Rule (1959) and Missing Person (1959).

According to Anthony Summers, Towers was by 1960 "a prosperous film producer working, out of Hollywood and Toronto". Towers was a regular visitor to London and at a party held by American millionaire Huntington Hartford he was introduced by Stephen Ward to Mariella Novotny. She later claimed that "Towers said he could make me into a television model for commercials in America."

In December 1960, Mariella Novotny arrived in New York City. She later told a friend that "I wanted to be famous and show my mother that I could make a go of life myself." Novotny was arrested on 3rd March 1961 by the FBI and was charged with soliciting. Three days later Towers was charged with violation of the White Slave Traffic Act, alleging that he had transported Novotny from England to New York for the purpose of prostitution.

In a statement made to the FBI, Novotny claimed that: "Towers took me to the Great Northern Hotel... The following afternoon Towers brought a prostitution date to me, who paid me $40 to commit a sexual act. Thereafter I entertained prostitution dates regularly and earned approximately $400 a week. I gave Towers about $300 of this money." Novotny added: "Towers was present when prostitution acts were committed." She provided detailed lists of madames and prostitutes who had arranged dates, or gone on threesomes with her - all, she claimed, introduced to her by Towers. Novotny also told the FBI that "Towers was a Soviet agent and that Soviets wanted information for purposes of compromise of prominent individuals."

Towers provided a different interpretation on what happened: "I had an affair with her (Mariella Novotny) and didn't know she was a hooker. Our total involvement was that she joined me in New York and lived with me in a couple of hotels... I got into trouble through my own stupidity.... I was in the other room writing a screenplay. She came rushing into the room - she wasn't living with me then, she'd asked if she could come up to meet somebody - I was busy working when she rushed in naked and said there was a policeman in the other room."

Philip Knightley explains that: "Towers was held in the Manhattan House of Detention on $10,000 bail until his hearing, set down for 7 March... On 15 March Towers's bail was reduced to $5,000 and he was released. He appeared before a grand jury on 12 April on five counts of violating the WSTA. On 25 April he came up before judge Charles M. Metzner and pleaded not guilty to all five charges." Knightley adds that the District Attorney asked that bail be increased to $25,000 because "a large number of influential and wealthy persons involved in this case would like to see the defendant out of the country." The judge refused the request and as a result by the time his trial was due to begin on 16th May 1961, Towers had fled the country. According to a report written by J. Edgar Hoover, Towers was now living in the Soviet Union.

On 31st May 1961 Mariella Novotny boarded the Cunard liner, Queen Mary, using the false name of Mrs R. Tyson. By the time the ship reached Southampton, the British immigration authorities had received word from the FBI that Tyson was really Mariella Novotny and that she was wanted in the United States in a "sex-for-sale" case which involved men in "high elective office in the United States government."

The FBI case against Towers and Novotny was eventually dropped. Novotny returned to running sex parties in London. So many senior politicians attended that she began referring to herself as the "government's Chief Whip". As well as British politicians such as John Profumo and Ernest Marples, foreign leaders such as Willy Brandt and Ayub Khan, attended these parties.

Mandy Rice-Davies later wrote in her autobiography: "In early 1962 I received an offer to make a television commercial in the States. The producer had come to England to find a girl with a British accent, typically British-looking." On 11th July, 1962, Rice-Davies and Christine Keeler, arrived in New York City. They stayed at a hotel on Fire Island. According to Rice-Davies she fell asleep on the beach and was badly sunburnt. She telephoned the studio and told them: "I've had this accident - first-degree sunburn. It will take about a month if I am lucky to get my skin back in order." The women returned to London on 18th July. It later emerged that their movements in America were being monitored by the FBI.

Was this producer Harry Alan Towers? Rice-Davies does not name the producer but it is an interesting fact that Rice-Davies later appeared in a film, Black Venus, that was produced by Towers.

In June, 1963, J. Edgar Hoover produced an internal memo on the Profumo Scandal:

For information. John Profumo was British Minister of War until his recent resignation following disclosure of his relations with Christine Keeler. Stephen Ward, London osteopath, has been arrested in London charged with living on the earnings of Keeler and Marilyn Rice-Davies, prostitutes. Ward's operations reportedly part of a large vice ring involving many people including many prominent people in the U.S. and England including other Ministers of British Cabinet not yet identified. Other individuals involved include Yevgeny Ivanov, aka Eugene Ivanov, former Soviet Naval Attache, London, who patronised Keeler and who reportedly requested Keeler to obtain information from Profumo; Thomas J. Corbally, U.S. citizen engaged in business in Britain, who reportedly gave wild parties in his flat; Michael H. B. Eddowes, British attorney for Keeler, now in the U.S. representing her interests re sale of her story to publications; Horace Dibben, British citizen, in whose residence sex orgies were held is husband of Maria Novotny; Maria Novotny is prostitute who operated in NYC, was arrested on March three, one nine six one, and was victim in white slave case involving her procurer, Alan Towers. She fled to England and has participated in orgies at Ward residence. Alan Towers was in NYC for two years prior to his arrest in above white slave case. He jumped bail and is now a bureau fugitive. He is reportedly now permanently residing behind Iron Curtain. Novotny alleges Towers was a Soviet agent and that Soviets wanted information for purposes of compromise of prominent individuals; Lord Astor of England on whose Cliveden Estate sex orgies reportedly occurred: it was here that Profumo first met Keeler; Douglas Fairbanks, Jnr, movie actor; Earl Felton, American screen writer; and many others also involved.

Hoover was wrong to claim that Towers was living in the Soviet Union. In fact, he was successfully producing films in London. However, it is this passage that is very interesting: "Ward's operations reportedly part of a large vice ring involving many people including many prominent people in the U.S. and England including other Ministers of British Cabinet not yet identified. Other individuals involved include Yevgeny Ivanov, aka Eugene Ivanov, former Soviet Naval Attache, London, who patronised Keeler and who reportedly requested Keeler to obtain information from Profumo; Thomas J. Corbally, U.S. citizen engaged in business in Britain, who reportedly gave wild parties in his flat... Novotny alleges Towers was a Soviet agent and that Soviets wanted information for purposes of compromise of prominent individuals; Lord Astor of England on whose Cliveden Estate sex orgies reportedly occurred: it was here that Profumo first met Keeler; Douglas Fairbanks, Jnr, movie actor; Earl Felton, American screen writer; and many others also involved." Hoover was obviously being kept in the dark about what was really happening. It was a MI5/CIA honeytrap operation. Both Thomas J. Corbally and Earl Felton were both CIA informants.

Towers was clearly rewarded for the help he gave MI5/CIA. He enjoyed a successful career in movies. Despite being 88 years old he is currently producing Moll Flanders that will be released next year.

For more information on Towers read my page on him. Then compare it to the page provided by Wikipedia:

For his television and movie career see:

John Profumo

It is 45 years since Stephen Ward committed suicide. At the time, there was a complete cover-up of what was really happening. I thought it might be worthwhile looking at what we really know about the case today.

Stephen Ward was involved in recruiting young women to take part in sex parties held for the ruling elite in Britain. One of the women who held these parties was called Mariella Novotny, who had an expensive home in London provided by a wealthy night-club owner, Horace Dibben. These parties were attended by several ministers in the government.

Ward was in constant contact with a man who was known as “Woods”. At his trial Ward said that he had contact with Woods at Room 393 at the War Office. According to Christine Keeler in her autobiography published in 2001, Ward used to meet Woods at their flat. Ward told Keeler that Woods was interested in the names of the people who went to these sex parties.

Ward told the court that in early 1961 he informed Woods that John Profumo, the War Minister and Eugene Ivanov, an naval attaché at the Soviet embassy, were attending these parties.

In 1987 an investigation by the Sunday Times identified “Woods” as being Keith Wagstaffe, an MI5 officer working for DI Operations, a section of the Counter-Intelligence branch. We know from Stephen Ward's unpublished memoir, and from the report provided by MI5 for the government inquiry held by Lord Denning, that the intelligence services were especially interested in the activities of Eugene Ivanov, who they rightly considered was spying for the KGB. In one of these early meetings Ward asked if he should continue seeing Ivanov. Wagstaffe replied that he should but he needed to keep him informed about Ivanov's activities. The authors of the two main books about the case, An Affair of State and Honeytrap, claim that MI5 were attempting to entrap Ivanov is some sort of sex scandal in order to backmail him into becoming a double-agent. They are surely right about this.

We also know that the FBI were monitoring the women that Ward was using to entrap Ivanov. Mariella Novotny, Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies all visited the United States between 1960-62 and that released FBI documents show that they were suspected of having sex with leading politicians, including John and Robert Kennedy.

Mandy Rice-Davies, one of the prostitutes, involved in this “honeytrap” pointed out in her book published in 1980 that Ivanov resisted their advances. Keeler later claimed that she had sex with Ivanov on one occasion but most people who investigated this case, suspect that she was lying. This is also the view of Rice-Davies. It would seem that the “honeytrap” was not working.

Keith Wagstaffe was refused permission by MI5 to talk to the Sunday Times in 1987. However, unofficially, he did provide Philip Knightley, the journalist working on the case, with some key information. We now know for example that Ward warned MI5 that John Profumo had become embroiled in this “honeytrap”. However, it was sometime afterwards that Profumo was warned about this and he broke off contact with Keeler. This suggests to me that the intention of this honeytrap was to compromise politicians as well as KGB agents.

This is also the case in the United States. Bobby Baker, who used some of the same girls as Stephen Ward, was mainly interested in entrapping politicians. It is assumed, that this enabled Lyndon Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover to blackmail these politicians. John and Robert Kennedy both became victims of this plot.

One of the most interesting aspects of this US/UK honeytrap operation was the use of Mariella Novotny. It was not just enough to have evidence that politicians were having sex with prostitutes. It was vitally important to persuade them that were involved in a relationship with a KGB spy. The reality is that Mariella Novotny was not a KGB spy. In fact, Mariella Novotny was not even her right-name. Her birth certificate states that she was Stella Capes and she was born in the East End of London in 1942.

It was later claimed that her grandfather was Antonín Novotny, the President of Czechoslovakia from 1957 to 1968 and the General Secretary of the Communist Party from 1953 to 1968. If this is the case, and Mariella Novotny was a KGB spy, why would she make it easy for the intelligence services, by changing her name to indicate a link with a communist regime? It makes no sense at all, unless the real motive, was to aquire information to blackmail senior politicians with this story.

For more information on this story see the following pages of the Spartacus Educational website:

Christine Keeler

Stephen Ward

John Profumo

Eugene Ivanov

Mariella Novotny

Mandy Rice-Davies

Lou Bernstein

Lou Bernstein

Directory of Documentary Photographers

Lou Bernstein was known as “The photographer’s photographer”, among the prominent great photographers of his generation. During the 1950’s through the 1980’s, Bernstein’s personal views, articulations on the aesthetics of photography, established him as a much sought after lecturer, critic, and teacher. He conducted numerous private individual and public group photographic workshops, as well as becoming a college educator. Bernstein taught at The Phoenix School of Design, NY, and at the request of W. Eugene Smith, took over Smith’s classes at Cooper Union, when Smith went to Japan for Life Magazine.

Period House Style Archive Group

Have a look at our Flickr photographs.

This digital photographic collections allows you to research hundreds of images on period design details. You can also contribute by added comments or starting relevant topic discussions. Opening up your own Flickr account will enable you to add your own images and contribute to the Period House Style Archive Group.

Period House Style Archive Group

Have a look at our Flickr photographs.

This digital photographic collections allows you to research hundreds of images on period design details. You can also contribute by added comments or starting relevant topic discussions. Opening up your own Flickr account will enable you to add your own images and contribute to the Period House Style Archive Group.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Teaching about John F. Kennedy

President Kennedy was assassinated on 22 nd November 1963. He was replaced by Lyndon Johnson. Some historians have claimed that the death of JFK had a tremendous impact on the development of modern history. For example, JFK was involved in secret talks with the Soviet Union at the time of his death to bring an end to the Cold War. His leading advisers also claim that he was also about to withdraw US involvement in Vietnam . These issues are covered on the following pages:

John Kennedy

Assassination of John Kennedy

Lyndon Johnson

Cold War

Vietnam War

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Dorothy Kilgallen

I have just discovered that J. Edgar Hoover used Dorothy Kilgallen via Richard Berlin, to spread the rumour that JFK was involved in the Profumo case. On 23rd June, 1963, Dorothy Kilgallen published an article in the New York Journal-American: "One of the biggest names in American politics - a man who holds a very high elective office - has been injected into Britain's vice-security scandal." This was a reference to the John Profumo and Christine Keeler affair. Kilgallen went on to describe one of the girls as "a beautiful Chinese-American girl now in London." She added that the "highest authorities" had "identified her as Suzy Chang."

The other interesting point is that on one memo about the Profumo case, Hoover has made a handwritten comment: "Roy Cohn has this info". Why? Well he was Thomas Corbally's attorney. It was Corbally who in January 1963 tipped off the then American ambassador (David Bruce) in London about the Profumo affair.

You will find out more about this story here:

John Profumo

Ellen Rometsch

Grant Stockdale

Bobby Baker

Nancy Carole Tyler

George Wigg

Maria Novotny

Suzy Chang

Thursday, 4 December 2008

West Ham Player Ratings (2008-09)

After every game I collect the West Ham player ratings from 13 different newspaper and websites. With 15 games played I thought it might be worth looking at how the players have performed this season:

James Collins (6.80)

Jack Collinson (6.79)

Craig Bellamy (6.57)

Freddie Sears (6.64)

Rob Green (6.56)

Dean Ashton (6.46)

Matthew Upson (6.44)

Scott Parker (6.43)

Carlton Cole (6.23)

Herita Ilunga (6.14)

Matthew Etherington (6.12)

Hayden Mullins (6.10)

Lee Bowyer (6.10)

Calum Davenport (6.01)

Lucas Neill (6.01)

David Di Michele (5.97)

Mark Noble (5.96)

Valon Behrami (5.92)

Julien Faubert (5.76)

Luis Boa Morte (5.72)

It is no real surprise to see Collins (6.80) at the top of the list. In my view, the defence has looked so much better since he arrived back in the team. Although he has only scored one goal this season, Bellamy (6.75) is playing well and always seems dangerous when he has the ball. Green (6.56), Upson (6.44) and Parker (6.43) have been consistently good this season and since Collins has joined them they team looks solid down the middle.

Collinson (6.79) and Sears (6.64) have also done well when they have played and one of my main criticisms of Zola is that he seems to prefer playing foreign players past their best than young local players with tremendous potential.

Cole (6.23) started the season well but does not seem the same player since returning from suspension. Noble (5.96) and Behrami (5.93) have been disappointing but I fully expect them to improve as the season goes on.

The main problem with the team is at full-back. Ilunga (6.14) is alright going forward but is poor against a good winger. The same goes for Neill (6.01) although he has been much better over the last three games (maybe Clarke has been spending time with him). I am still not convinced by Neill, who only scored 6.06 last season.

The great puzzle is why Zola continues to play Faubert. His thirteen games comes at an average-rating of 5.76. This follows his 5.37 for last season. Only Boa Morte has a worst record with ratings of 5.72 (this season) and 5.56 (last season).

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Race Relations in the United States

At the end of the American Civil War radical members of Congress attempted to destroy the white power structure of the Rebel states. The Freeman's Bureau was established by Congress on 3rd March, 1865. The bureau was designed to protect the interests of former slaves. This included helping them to find new employment and to improve educational and health facilities. In the year that followed the bureau spent $17,000,000 establishing 4,000 schools, 100 hospitals and providing homes and food for former slaves.

Attempts by Congress to extend the powers of the Freemen's Bureau was vetoed by President Andrew Johnson in February, 1866. In April 1866, Johnson also vetoed the Civil Rights Bill that was designed to protect freed slaves from Southern Black Codes (laws that placed severe restrictions on freed slaves such as prohibiting their right to vote, forbidding them to sit on juries, limiting their right to testify against white men, carrying weapons in public places and working in certain occupations).

The first branch of the Ku Klux Klan was established in Pulaski, Tennessee, in May, 1866. A year later a general organization of local Klans was established in Nashville in April, 1867. Most of the leaders were former members of the Confederate Army and the first Grand Wizard was Nathan Forrest, an outstanding general during the American Civil War. During the next two years Klansmen wearing masks, white cardboard hats and draped in white sheets, tortured and killed black Americans and sympathetic whites. Immigrants, who they blamed for the election of Radical Republicans, were also targets of their hatred. Between 1868 and 1870 the Ku Klux Klan played an important role in restoring white rule in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.

You will find more information about these related subjects here:

Slavery in the United States

The American Civil War


Civil Rights Movement

Monday, 1 December 2008

John Profumo, Bobby Baker and JFK

In the early 1960s the KGB was involved in a “honey trap” operation involving politicians based in London and Washington. This operation was identified by the intelligence agencies in both countries. However, instead of breaking up the operation, the intelligence agencies decided to use this information in order to manipulate these politicians.

In Washington the KGB had infiltrated the LBJ operation at the Quorum Club. This was a private club in the Carroll Arms Hotel on Capitol Hill that had been established by Bobby Baker. As Baker pointed out in Wheeling and Dealing its "membership was comprised of senators, congressmen, lobbyists, Capitol Hill staffers, and other well-connecteds who wanted to enjoy their drinks, meals, poker games, and shared secrets in private accommodations". Baker also held parties at a home that he had purchased for his mistress, Nancy Carole Tyler.

The idea behind this scam was that LBJ could obtain information about these people that he could blackmail into doing as he wanted. LBJ also did a deal with J. Edgar Hoover that involved the sharing of information about these politicians.

Baker used several prostitutes that originally came from communist countries. This included Ellen Rometsch, Maria Novotny and Suzy Chang. Of course, once these politicians became involved with such women, LBJ could apply more pressure by suggesting that they were KGB agents.

In 1961 Bill Thompson, a close friend of John Kennedy, met with Bobby Baker. According to Anthony Summers (Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover) Thompson asked Baker if he would arrange a meeting between Rometsch and Kennedy. Baker later said that: "He (Kennedy) sent back word it was the best time he ever had in his life. That was not the only time. She saw him on other occasions. It went on for a while."

The honey trap operation in London was being run by Stephen Ward. He was also using Ellen Rometsch, Maria Novotny and Suzy Chang in his operation. One of the politicians who got caught in this trap was John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War. Eugene Ivanov, a KGB officer and an naval attaché at the Soviet embassy, also went to these sex parties. Profumo began an affair with one of Ward’s girls called Christine Keeler. The problem for Profumo was that Keeler was also having an affair with Ivanov.

All this was being monitored by MI5 but it decided not to take action against what Ward was up to. However, someone within MI5 decided to leak this information to George Wigg, a Labour MP with very close relationship with the intelligence services.

On 2nd March, 1963, George Wigg made a speech in the House of Commons where he referred to rumours that Profumo was having an affair with Christine Keeler. A few weeks later Profumo made a personal statement where he admitted he knew Keeler but denied there was any impropriety in their relationship. This statement failed to stop newspapers publishing stories suggesting that Profumo had lied about his relationship with Keeler. On 5th June 1963, Profumo admitted that he had misled the House of Commons and resigned from office.

JFK took a keen interest in the Profumo affair. David Kirkparick Bruce, was the US ambassador in London. He was ordered to provide a daily report on the Profumo case.

Hoover now decided it was time to make use of this information. In July 1963 FBI agents questioned Ellen Rometsch about her past. They came to the conclusion that she was probably a Soviet spy. Hoover then leaked information to the journalist, Courtney Evans, that Rometsch worked for Walter Ulbricht, the communist leader of East Germany. When Robert Kennedy was told about this information, he ordered her to be deported.

JFK knew that the matter was not over. We know that after the deportation of Rometsch, JFK employed Grant Stockdale to raise a lot of money to pay off blackmailers. As it happens, Stockdale was a business partner of Bobby Baker.

I think it is possible that this story played a role in the cover-up of the assassination. LBJ and Hoover both knew that JFK had been having a sexual relationship with a KGB spy. Did this influence RFK decision not to publicize his own doubts about the assassination of his brother?

Interestingly, two of the key figures in the story committed suicide, while these events unfolded. Stephen Ward died on 3rd August 1963 before telling the full story of what happened. Recently, Christine Keeler has claimed that Ward ran a Soviet spy ring that involved MI5 chief Roger Hollis and Sir Anthony Blunt.

On 26th November, Grant Stockdale flew to Washington and talked with Robert Kennedy and Edward Kennedy. On his return Stockdale told several of his friends that "the world was closing in." On 1st December, he spoke to his attorney, William Frates who later recalled: "He started talking. It didn't make much sense. He said something about 'those guys' trying to get him. Then about the assassination." Stockdale died on 2nd December, 1963 when he fell (or was pushed) from his office on the thirteenth story of the Dupont Building in Miami.

You will find out more about this story here:

John Profumo

Ellen Rometsch

Grant Stockdale

Bobby Baker

Nancy Carole Tyler

George Wigg

John F. Kennedy

Sir Paul Stephenson and Michael Martin

The man who ordered the raid on Damian Green was Sir Paul Stephenson, the acting head of the Metropolitan Police. He has applied for the permanent post that became vacant after Iain Blair was forced to resign after he lost the confidence of Tory mayor, Boris Johnson. Blair should have been sacked after the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes. However, a deal was done and Iain Blair was protected in exchange for Tony Blair not being prosecuted over the cash for honours scandal.

The post of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is appointed by Jacqui Smith, the home secretary. Stephenson, who has applied for the post, obviously thought he would impress Smith was his “pro-Labour” attitudes by ordering the arrest of Damian Green. However, to get permission for the raid on Green’s offices, he had to get permission from the Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin. This would normally have been refused. The tradition of the Speaker protecting the rights of MPs goes back to 1642 when King Charles I entered the House of Commons and ordered the Speaker, William Lenthall, to identify five MPs he accused of treason. Lenthall refused and this act triggered the English Civil War.

However, Martin was in no position to refuse because of his own corrupt past. Since 2007 the Tax Payers' Alliance have been calling on the Metropolitan Police to investigate Martin for claiming expenses he was not entitled to receive. For example, it has been revealed that Martin claimed £17,166 last year towards the cost of his Bishopbriggs constituency home, on which he no longer pays a mortgage. When this was reported in the newspapers, Martin spent more than £20,000 of taxpayers' money on lawyers to challenge these stories. Understandably, Martin played an important role in trying to block the publication of details of MPs' £5m-a-year travel expenses under the Freedom of Information Act. Martin also used air miles accumulated on official business to fly his children and their families to London in business class. His wife, also illegally claimed more than £4,000 in taxi expenses. As long as Martin does as the police want, he will not be prosecuted for these offences.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Counter-Terrorism Laws

Yesterday, Damian Green, the Tory immigration spokesman, was arrested and questioned by counter-terrorism officers for nine hours and his home and office searched as part of an inquiry into Home Office leaks. The Metropolitan Police confirmed that Green was arrested by members of its counter-terrorism command. It said the investigation was not terrorism related but did fall within the counter-terror unit's remit.

It follows a series of leaks to Green by someone in the Home Office, including:

The November 2007 revelation that the home secretary knew the Security Industry Authority had granted licences to 5,000 illegal workers, but decided not to publicise it.

The February 2008 news that an illegal immigrant had been employed as a cleaner in the House of Commons.

A whips' list of potential Labour rebels in the vote on plans to increase the pre-charge terror detention limit to 42 days.

A letter from the home secretary warning that a recession could lead to a rise in crime.

It is an important aspect of a parliamentary democracy that civil servants leak documents to MPs when government officials are acting in a corrupt way. It limits the amount of lies a government tells the public. For example, Winston Churchill, used leaks from government to highlight the problems with appeasement in the 1930s. If it happened today, Churchill would be imprisoned by this government. Gordon Brown used leaks from the Treasury during the 1980s and 1990s to expose the Tory government. Now, he is willing to use the police and anti-terrorist laws to try and keep MPs from revealling corruption in government. It will of course not work as this government is not only corrupt, it is incompetent.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Nicholas Winton

You can find an excellent video made by the British School in Bratislava on Nicholas Winton here:

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Period House Style Archive Group

Have a look at the following:

This digital photographic collection allows you to research hundreds of images on period design details. You can also contribute by added comments or starting relevant topic discussions. Opening up your own Flickr account will enable you to add your own images and contribute to the Period House Style Archive Group.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Spartacus Educational

Established in September 1997, the Spartacus Educational website provides a series of history encyclopaedias. Topics covered include British History: 1750-1960, United States: 1840-1980, First World War, Second World War, Association Football, Making of the United Kingdom, Tudors & Stuarts, Assassination of John F. Kennedy, Watergate, Spanish Civil War, Russia: 1860-1945, Germany: 1900-1945, France: 1900-1945, etc. Entries usually include a narrative, illustrations and primary sources. The text within each entry is linked to other relevant pages in the encyclopaedia. In this way it is possible to research individual people and events in great detail. The sources are also hyper-linked so the student is able to find out about the writer, artist, newspaper and organization that produced the material.

Encyclopaedia of British History: 1700-1960 (2,457 entries)

A comprehensive encyclopaedia being produced for the National Grid of Learning and a completely free resource for all students of British history. The encyclopaedia currently contains 2,445 entries and is an attempt to show the history of Britain through the eyes of people from all levels of society. This is a reference work that provides as much information about Marie Corbett as it does about Queen Victoria; where Henry Hetherington's life is examined in the same sort of detail as that of the Duke of Wellington. The encyclopaedia is being created in sections (entries in parenthesis): Emancipation of Women (114), Textile Industry (148), Entrepreneurs (80), Religion (122), Trade Unions (70), Socialism (178), Members of Parliament: (216), Peterloo (78), Parliamentary Reform (114), Chartism (66), Scotland (60), Education (102), Slavery (158), Prime Ministers (33), Child Labour (94), Parliamentary Legislation (74), London in the 19th Century (38), Political Parties and Election Results (42), Engineers (34), Railways (116), Artists & Architects (82), Cartoonists (98), Poets & Novelists (72), Theatre (24), Poverty, Health and Housing (26), Towns & Cities (40), Journalists (100), Newspapers & Magazines (38) and Publishers (50).

Encyclopaedia of the First World War (923 entries)

The encyclopaedia is being created in sections (entries in parenthesis). So far the following sections are available: Chronology (1), Outbreak of War (22), Countries (22), Allied Armed Forces (32), Important Battles (34), Technology (10), Political Leaders (94), British Home Front (20), Military Leaders (58), Life in the Trenches(24), Trench System (22), Trench War (18), Soldiers (44), War Heroes (12), Medals (8), War at Sea (24), War in the Air (48), Pilots (28), Aircraft (30), War Artists (34), Cartoonists and Illustrators (90), War Poets (16), Journalists (28), Newspapers and Journals (16), Novelists (36), Women at War (56), Women's Organisations (14), Weapons & War Machines (42), Inventors and the War (12) Theatres of War (6) and War Statistics (18).

Encyclopaedia of the United States: 1840-1980 (1890 entries)

An organic encyclopaedia on the USA between 1840-1980. The encyclopaedia is being created in sections. So far the following sections are available: American Civil War (262), Political Figures (170), Political Events (62), Slavery (156), Women's Suffrage (116), Business Leaders (54), Scientists (20), Supreme Court Judges (18), Trade Unions (68), Journalists (84), Newspapers & Magazines (36), European Immigration (270), Artists and Illustrators (28), Cartoonists (56), Photographers (50), Novelists & Poets (58), the First World War (86), Crime & Criminals (26), McCarthyism (110), Roosevelt and the New Deal (56), and the Struggle for Civil Rights (246).

Encyclopaedia of the Second World War

A comprehensive encyclopaedia of the Second World War. So far there are sections on: Background to the War; Nazi Germany, Chronology of the War, Political Leaders, European Diplomacy, Major Offensives, British Military Leaders, USA Military Leaders, German Military Leaders, Japanese Military Leaders, The Armed Forces, The Air War, The Resistance, Scientists & Inventors, War at Sea, Resistance in Nazi Germany, The Holocaust, War Artists, Weapons and New Technology.

Assassination of President Kennedy Encyclopaedia

A detailed look at the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. There are biographies of 328 people involved in the case: Major Figures (84), Important Witnesses (66), Investigators, Researchers and Journalists (112) and Possible Conspirators (132). Other sections include: Reports (4), Organizations and Operations (26) and Key Issues (4). The website also looks at the possibility that different organizations such as the Mafia, CIA, FBI, Secret Service, KGB and the John Birch Society might have been involved in the planning of the assassination. Other possibilities such as anti-Castro activists, Texas oil millionaires and the Warren Commission's lone-gunman theory are also looked at. The website has an activity section and a forum where students and teachers can enter into debate with the author of the material, other investigators and witnesses to the events of 1963.

The American West (384 entries)

A comprehensive encyclopaedia of the American West. So far there are sections on Explorers (12), Frontiersmen, Mountain Men and Fur Trappers (20), Criminals and Outlaws (34), Soldiers (30), Migrants and Settlers (12), Cattlemen and Cowboys (12), Judges and Lawmen (30), Politicians (10), Women and the Wild West (16), Inventors and Businessmen (10) Artists and Writers (12), Native Americans Leaders (18), Events and Issues (64), Trails and Places (10), Native American Tribes (26), Forts, Towns and Cities (28), Guns, Clothes and Equipment (20), Animals and Wild Life (20). Most entries contain a narrative, illustrations and primary sources. The text within each entry is hypertexted to other relevant pages in the encyclopaedia. In this way it is possible to research individual people and events in great detail.

Cold War Encyclopaedia

As well as 160 biographies there are 74 articles on subjects such as the Atomic Bomb, Berlin Wall, Bay of Pigs, Comintern, Cuban Missile Crisis, Domino Theory, Federal Republic of Germany, German Democratic Republic, Hallstein Doctrine, Hungarian Uprising, Korean War, Marshall Aid, McCarthyism, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Nuclear Arms Race, Ostpolitik, Perestroika, Prague Spring, Solidarnosc, Schuman Plan, Truman Doctrine, U-2 Crisis, Vietnam War and the Warsaw Pact.

Tudor Encyclopaedia

Tudor Encyclopedia: A collection of articles on the Tudor period. As well as 42 biographies there are articles on the Battle of Bosworth, Act of Union, Agriculture and Enclosures, Anglicans and Puritans, The Babington Plot, Catholics and Protestants, Elizabethan Theatre, Elizabeth and Marriage, Henry VIII and the Pope, Kett Rebellion, Poverty in Tudor England, The Protestant Reformation, Pilgrimage of Grace, The Ridolfi Plot, The Spanish Armada, Sports and Pastimes, The Throckmorton Plot, Tobacco in Tudor England, Tudor Artists, Tudor Heretics, Tudor Monasteries, Tudor Parliaments, Tudor Wales and the Tyndale Bible.

The Stuarts: 1600-1750

British History from 1600 to 1750. As well as 112 biographies there are articles on important events (The Civil War, Cromwell’s Commonwealth, Glorious Revolution, Great Fire of London, Gunpowder Plot, Jacobite Rebellion, Pride’s Purge, Putney Debates, Restoration, Rye House Plot, Ship Money, Test Acts); religious and political groups (Anabaptists, Anglicans, Baptists, Congregationalists, Diggers, Fifth Monarchists, Independents, Levellers, Presbyterians, Puritans, Quakers, Tories and Whigs); and military groups and battles (Cavaliers, Culloden, Edgehill, Marston Moor, Naseby, Newbury, New Model Army, Roundheads, Roundway Down).

Vietnam War

This website provides a detailed account of the Vietnam War. There is also an interview area where 12 Vietnam veterans are willing to answer questions from students on their experiences of the war. As well as thirty biographies of individuals who played an important role in the conflict there are entries for Buddhism, Cambodia and Laos, Chemical Warfare, Dien Bien Phu, Domino Theory, Eisenhower Doctrine, Guerrilla Warfare, Gulf of Tonkin, Ho Chi Minh Trail, Mass Media and the War, My Lai, National Liberation Front, Negotiated Peace, Operation Rolling Thunder, Strategic Hamlet Programme, Tet Offensive, Vietnam Protest Movement, Vietnam Revolutionary League and Vietnamization.

The Emancipation of Women: 1750-1920

A comprehensive encyclopaedia of how British women got the vote. Each entry contains a narrative, illustrations and primary sources. The text within each entry is hypertexted to other relevant pages in the encyclopedia. In this way it is possible to research individual people and events in great detail. The sources are also hypertexted so the student is able to find out about the writer, artist, newspaper, organization, etc., that produced the material. So far there are sections on: omen in the 19th Century (Schooling, Marriage, Industrial Work, Careers & Professions, University Education, Birth Control), Pressure Groups, Strategy and Tactics and Parliamentary Reform Acts.

Black People in Britain

A collection of biographies of black people who lived in Britain. This includes John Alcindor, Ira Aldridge, John Archer, Francis Barber, Manchererjee Bhownaggree, George Bridgetower, Learie Constantine, William Cuffay, Offobah Cugoano, William Davidson, Celestine Edwards, Olaudah Equiano, Marcus Garvey, C. L. R. James, Claude McKay, Tom Molineaux, Harold Moody, Dadabhai Naoroji, George Padmore, James Peters, Bill Richmond, Paul Robeson, Shapurji Saklatvala, Innatius Sancho, Mary Seacole, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Walter Tull, Robert Wedderburn, Arthur Wharton and Sylvester Williams.

Encyclopaedia of Russia: 1860-1990 (300 entries)

A comprehensive encyclopaedia on Russia. So far there are sections on: Events and Issues, 1860-1914 (22); Revolutionary Philosophers (8); Russian Revolutionaries, 1860-1910 (32); Russian Political and Military Figures: 1860-1920 (34); Events and Issues in Russia, 1914-20 (18); Russian Revolutionaries: 1914-20 (64); Political Groups and Organizations (12), Foreign Witnesses of the Revolution (18), Newspapers and Journals (6), Russian Literature (24), Soviet Union: 1920-1945 (20), Soviet Union: 1945-1990 (16) and Political Figures: 1945-1990 (14).

Germany: 1900-45 (452 entries)

A comprehensive encyclopaedia of Germany. So far there are sections on the First World War (82), German Art (18), German Scientists (26), Weimar Republic (16), Political Parties (8), Political Leaders : 1900-1930 (42), Foreign Policy: 1930-40 (12), Military Leaders (42), Nazi Germany (34), Nazi Political Leaders (74), German Resistance to Nazism (52), Holocaust (46).

Encyclopaedia of France: 1900-45

The encyclopaedia is being created in sections. So far the following sections are available: Military Leaders: 1900-1920, France and the First World War, French Armed Forces: 1914-18, French Politicians: 1920-1945, Military Leaders: 1920-1945, French Politicians: 1945-1970, France and the Second World War, French Armed Forces: 1939-45 and the French Resistance.

Spanish Civil War (246)

A comprehensive encyclopaedia of the Spanish Civil War. There are sections on: Main Events and Issues (10), Political Organizations (16), Military Organizations (24), Important Battles (12), Biographies: Spanish (56), Biographies: Foreign Participants and Observers (96), International Leaders and the Civil War (22) and Individual Countries and the Spanish Civil War (10).

Teaching History Online

A free weekly email journal for anyone interested in using the internet to teach or study history. The journal includes online news, reviews of websites and articles on ICT history. Members will also be able to submit information for inclusion in the newsletter. In this way we hope to bring people together who are involved in using the internet to teach history. Currently it has 41,600 subscribers. Past editions can be seen at: You can subscribe to Teaching History Online by sending an email to

Education on the Internet

Education on the Internet is a free weekly email journal for anyone interested in using the internet in schools, colleges or for private study. The journal includes online news, reviews of websites and articles on ICT. Subscribers can submit information for inclusion in the newsletter. In this way Spartacus Educational hopes to develop a community of people involved in using the internet for education. Currently Education on the Internet has 53,150 subscribers. Past editions can be seen at: You can subscribe to Education on the Internet by sending an email to or from any page on the Spartacus Educational website.

Educational Web Directory

Sections of the educational web directory includes Primary, English, Mathematics, Science, Modern Languages, History, Geography, Design & Technology, Business Studies, Media Studies, ICT, Sociology, Music, Politics, Physical Education and Religious Studies.

History of House Design





Balconies & Verandas

Bay Windows

Flat Roofs

Gable Ends

Herringbone Brickwork


Leaded Glass

Metal Framed Windows

Oak Doors

Painted Panelled Doors


Pebble Dash

Sash & Casement Windows

Stained & Leaded Glass

Tile Hung Walls




Inglenook Fireplaces

Leaded Glass


Oak Panelling

Plain Tile Fireplaces

Parquet Flooring



Wooden Flooring

Interior Detail

Exterior Detail

Sourcing Products

Freepedia Blog

Monday, 17 November 2008

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Motor Neurone Disease and Professional Football

In the 1970s it was finally accepted that playing football could result in brain damage. The Encyclopedia of British Football (2002) pointed out: "On wet days the ball grew increasingly heavy as the leather soaked up large amounts of liquid. This, together with the lacing that protected the valve of the bladder, made heading the ball not only unpleasant but also painful and dangerous." A large number of football players in the past have suffered long-term brain damage because of repeated heading of a heavy, wet ball. Several top footballers in the 1950s and 1960s have suffered developing dementia in later life.

Research carried out by D. R. Williams in 2002 concluded that repetitive mild head trauma over the course of an amateur and professional footballer's career may increase an individual's risk of developing dementia in later life. Former players who have suffered from this disease include Joe Mercer, Bob Paisley, Stan Cullis, Bill Shorthouse, Peter Broadbent and Malcolm Allison. In 2002 a coroner said it was likely that the death of former West Bromwich Albion centre-forward, Jeff Astle, had been caused by "repeated small traumas to the brain".

In the 1970s leather footballs were coated with a special polyurethane preparation, which eliminated water absorption during games. Footballs used today combine a latex bladder with an outer casing made from synthetic leather. It was believed that this would eliminate brain damage in football players. However, recent research shows this is not the case.

Recently there has been concerns about the possible connections between motor neurone disease (MND) and professional football. In 2007 Ammar Al-Chalabi, a neurologist at King's College Hospital called on the Football Association to investigate whether the sport contributed to MND. It was pointed out that Don Revie, Jimmy Johnstone and Rob Hindmarch had all died of the disease.

Several top Italian footballers have also suffered from MND. This includes Gianluca Signorini, Adriano Lombardi and Stefano Borgonovo. Adriano Chio, a neurologist and Italy's foremost expert on the condition, has shown that professional footballers in the country are seven times more likely to develop MND than others. He discovered that 41 players had suffered from MND since 1973.

According to one theory, the incurable disease might be linked to pesticides used on football pitches. Others suggest it could be a result of performance enhancing drugs, the treatment used to combat physical injuries or repeatedly heading the ball.

English Civil War

Biographies of Military Leaders (36), Political and Religious Figures (40), Writers and Artists(20), Events, Issues and Organizations (18), Battles (6) and Religious Groups (10).

The Normans

This website includes 30 biographies and 20 aspects of Norman life.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Encyclopaedia of the Industrial Revolution

Encyclopaedia of the Industrial Revolution (538 entries)

The encyclopaedia is being created in sections (entries in parenthesis): The Textile Industry (148), Entrepreneurs (80), Child Labour (94), Engineers (34), Railways (116), Poverty, Health and Housing (26) and Towns & Cities (40).

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

First World War Resource

I just wanted to let you know about the upcoming editorial series on the First World War, running for a week from this Saturday in the Guardian and Observer.

The Guardian has put together a highly collectable, seven-day series of 32-page, full-colour booklets to give readers a unique "eyewitness" history of the war, with an extraordinary array of extracts from writers and poets including Ernest Hemingway, DH Lawrence, HG Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Winston Churchill and many more.

There is also a wonderful selection of war photography and paintings each day, plus an introductory essay from a contemporary expert on the war.

Barack Obama

Some people believe that John F. Kennedy was killed by white racists who were opposed to civil rights legislation. When Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1965 Civil Rights Act he made a prophecy that he was “signing away the south for 50 years”. This proved accurate. In fact, the Democrats have never recovered the vote of the white racists in the Deep South. This is the electorate that now gives its support to the Republican Party. A new alliance has therefore taken place between the white racists, right-wing conservatives and Christian fundamentalists.

Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King called for further civil rights legislation before their deaths in 1968. Both men were probably assassinated as part of a right-wing racist conspiracy.

LBJ was right in his prediction. However, so was RFK when he said in 1968 that the US would have a “Negro president” in 40 years.

With Barack Obama's victory it is ironic that the Republican Party is now only really strong in the Deep South. LBJ was right in the short-term about how the passing of Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s would hurt the Democratic Party. However, in the long-term, it hurt the Republican Party.

If Barack Obama now orders the release of CIA and FBI files on the three assassinations, we might well be in a good position to have a fuller understanding of US history since the election of JFK in 1960.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Edward Carpenter and Gay Rights

Edward Carpenter played an important role in the campaign for Gay Rights in the UK. By 1880 Carpenter had acknowledged his homosexuality and had moved in with Albert Fearnhough, a scythe riveter from Sheffield. When Charles Carpenter died in 1882 he left his son a considerable amount of money. This enabled Edward Carpenter to purchase a farm in Millthorpe, near Baslow in Derbyshire and to concentrate on his writing.

By the 1880s Carpenter had established himself as a poet of democracy and socialism with books like Towards Democracy (1883) and England's Ideal (1887). He also wrote socialist songs and hymns such as England Arise! that were used by the Labour Church movement in the 1890s.

Carpenter believed that homosexuality was innate and should not be classed as a sin. A strong advocate of sexual freedom, Carpenter wrote several pamphlets on the subject including Sex Love and Its Place in a Free Society (1894), Women and her Place in a Free Society (1894), Marriage in a Free Society (1894) and Homogenic Love and Its Place in a Free Society (1895).

George Merrill moved in with Carpenter at his home in Baslow. After the House of Commons passed the Criminal Law Amendment Act that made all homosexual acts illegal, Carpenter had to abandon his campaign for sexual tolerance. In 1908 Carpenter returned to this theme with his book Intermediate Sex. Although the book created a great deal of hostility it had a strong influence on literary figures such as Siegfried Sassoon, D. H. Lawrence and E. M. Forster.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch

One of the main reasons why Tony Blair attempted to stop the publication of Lance Price’s book, Spin Doctor’s Diary (2006) was that he disclosed that all important policy decisions had to go before Rupert Murdoch before being announced to the general public.

Journalists have been attempting to use the Freedom of Information Act to publish documents concerning the meetings between Blair and Murdoch. The first of these was released this week. It concerns a meeting that took place in January 1998, about a European Commission investigation into Murdoch’s business activities. This involved blocking Murdoch’s plan (British Interactive Broadcasting) was that BSkyB should join up with other large companies to develop an interactive scheme in which people could shop and manage their finances through their televisions. The memo of the meeting has Blair telling Murdoch that he was “sympathetic to what he was aiming to achieve.” As a result of the meeting Blair immediately ordered his top officials (Jonathan Powell, James Purnell, Alastair Campbell) to help Murdoch to deal with the European Commission.

Karel Van Miert, the EC Competition Commissioner, gave permission for Murdoch’s British Interactive Broadcasting to go ahead in 1999. Initially it was successful but was closed down in 2001 because of the competition from the internet.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Tony Blair and the Recession

As we enter the recession I thought people might be interested in seeing an update of the financial situation of Tony Blair. From a report in The Times this week:

Tony Blair’s earnings since leaving Downing Street are calculated to have topped £12 million, more than six times his previous lifetime income.

The former Prime Minister, who tours the world speaking to audiences including investment banks, private equity firms and chambers of commerce, is now said to be the highest-paid speaker in the world.

As the stock market has plummeted and the housing market has slumped, the man who as Prime Minister championed the “light-touch” system of financial regulation blamed by some for the current crisis is enjoying an unprecedented boom of his own.

Mr Blair receives £84,000 of taxpayers’ money to run a private office and is entitled to an annual pension of £63,468, but this pales to insignificance beside his private earnings. He has made £4.6 million from his memoirs, an estimated £2 million from JPMorgan Chase — including bonus — and £500,000 from Zurich Financial Services. On top of that he has exceeded the $9.2 million (£5.8 million) that Mr Clinton earned, according to his wife Hillary’s financial disclosures, from speeches in his first year outside the White House.

“I can tell you that Tony Blair has already made more money than that,” a speaking industry source said. “He is now probably the highest-paid public speaker in the world.”

At the United Nations there is fear that his focus on commercial interests is jeopardising his unpaid role as Middle East envoy.

One senior official said: “There’s a view in the UN that he’s not making any progress and that from all the status that he brings to the position, he doesn’t seem to be achieving anything . . . He’s meant to work on the distribution of aid to Palestinians and not brokering peace in the Middle East, though he’d like to do that.”

Such is the demand for Mr Blair, who works exclusively through the blue-chip Washington Speakers Bureau, that he has a two-year waiting list for bookings, with clients prepared to pay $250,000 (£157,000) for a typical speech of roughly 90 minutes.

One of his main employers is the Washington-based Carlyle Group. Next month he will address a conference of its European investors in Paris about “geopolitics”. He addressed a similar conference for Carlyle in Dubai in February. Carlyle Group is a leading private equity investor in the military.

Carlyle and the Blair Government have a controversial history. The National Audit Office said taxpayers lost millions from the privatisation of spy technology because of Labour’s decision to appoint Carlyle Group as a preferred bidder too quickly.

However, it is not all good news for Tony Blair. Like other wealthy individuals, he has been badly hit by the economic downturn. For example, he owns five properties. The house he owns in Sedgefield is now worth £126,000, down from a peak of £140,000 in summer last year (he bought it for £30,000 in 1983).

In 2002 he bought two new-build apartments bought for £265,000. They looked a shrewd investment at the time but it has been reported that one of them is now on the market for £285,000.

His house in London bought for £3.65 million in 2004. He then added the adjoining mews house, for £800,000 early last year. However, it is in a fashionable part of London and is still valued at over £5m.

His biggest loss is for his home in Wotton Underwood, Buckinghamshire. He bought the property for £4 million in May. It is currently valued at £3.76 million.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Alexander Fleming

On the outbreak of the First World War Alexander Fleming joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. Fleming and Almroth Wright were based in Boulogne. Fleming soon discovered that many of the wounded men being transported back from the Western Front were suffering from septicaemia, tetanus and gangrene. He was aware that white blood corpuscles, left to themselves, killed an enormous number of microbes. Yet the infections from war wounds were terrible. Fleming realised that part of the answer was that there was a great deal of dead tissue around the wound, providing a good culture in which microbes could flourish. In September 1915, he published an article in The Lancet advising surgeons to remove as much dead tissue as possible from the area of wounds.

Fleming research showed that the traditional treatment of infected wounds with antiseptics, was totally ineffective when used in the Casualty Clearing Station. He discovered that antiseptics did nothing to prevent gangrene in seriously injured soldiers. The reason for this was that scraps of underclothing and other dirty objects were driven by the force of an explosion deeply into the patient's tissues, where antiseptics were unable to reach.

Fleming and Almroth Wright realised that supporting the natural resources of the body would be more effective in the treatment of gangrene and the showed that a high concentration of saline solution would achieve this. However, they had great deal of difficulty in persuading the Royal Army Medical Corps to adopt this treatment.

Fleming remained convinced that he would eventually find a successful treatment for infected wounds. "Surrounded by all these infected wounds, by men who were suffering and dying without our being able to do anything to help them, I was consumed by a desire to discover, after all this struggling and waiting, something which would kill those microbes."

After the war Fleming returned to St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington and in 1921 Fleming was made assistant director of the Inoculation Department. The following year he discovered lysozyme, a natural antibacterial enzyme which he found initially in human tears.

In 1928 Fleming was appointed as Professor of Bacteriology at the University of London. Later that year he was clearing out some old dishes in which he grew his cultures. On one of the mouldy dishes, he noticed that around the mould, the microbes had apparently been dissolved. He took a small sample of the mould and set it aside. He later identified it as of the penicillium family. He therefore named the anti-bacterial agent he had discovered penicillin.

Fleming published his findings in 1929 but it was not until during the Second World War that Howard Florey and Ernst Chain managed to isolate and concentrate penicillin. It was not until the end of the war that the antibiotic could be mass produced and was widely used. Fleming, Florey and Chain won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1945.

In October 1953 Fleming developed pneumonia. He was given an injection of penicillin. Fleming made a quick recovery and he later commented: "I had no idea it was so good."

It was recently estimated that over 200 million lives have been saved by penicillin since 1945.

Monday, 27 October 2008

C. S. Lewis and the First World War

C. S. Lewis is best known for "Narnia" stories for children that began with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) and finished with The Last Battle (1956).

Lewis attended Malvern College and in 1916 he won a scholarship to University College, Oxford. However, the Master of the College informed Lewis that, with the exception of one boy with health problems, everyone who had won a scholarship had joined the British Army in order to fight in the First World War. As the authors of Famous 1914-1918 (2008) pointed out: "As as Irishman, Lewis could legally have avoided service, there being no conscription in Ireland, but the thought never entered his head: he would serve."

Lewis initially joined a cadet battalion at Keble College. He made friends with a small group of students including Ernest Moore, Martin Somerville, Thomas Davy and Alexander Sutton. Lewis became a commissioned officer in the Somerset Light Infantry. He soon became very close to Laurence Johnson, who had also won a scholarship to Oxford University. All these men, except for Lewis, were killed. In fact, an estimated 25% of all scholarship boys were killed during the First World War.

Lewis was badly wounded during an attack on the German trenches on 14th April 1918. "Just after I was hit, I found (or thought I found) that I was not breathing and concluded that this was death. I felt no fear and certainly no courage. It did not seem to be an occasion for either." When Lewis regained consciousness he discovered that the man standing next to him, Sergeant Harry Ayres, had been killed by the same shell that had wounded him.

After the war he went to live with Jane Moore, the mother of Ernest Moore. He therefore kept the promise he had made in 1917 that he would look after his mother if he was killed in the First World War. He introduced Moore to friends as his mother (his own mother had died of cancer when he was 10 years old).

Moore developed dementia after the Second World War and was eventually moved into a nursing home, where she died in 1951. It was said that he visited her every day that she was in the nursing home.

For several years Lewis corresponded with Joy Davidman, an American poet. The couple were married on 21st March 1956. She died from bone cancer on 13th July, 1960. Lewis wrote about the relationship in his book, A Grief Observed (1961). The relationship is the subject of the film, Shadowlands.