Thursday, 10 July 2014

Terms of endearment

After discovering the jewel in the crown that was APP 12 of the Pollard Report I made damn sure that one of the first things I did with the BMH Report was to go STRAIGHT to the appendices. I'm so glad I did because I found this little gem. A letter written shortly after Jimmy Savile first visited BMH on FRIDAY 13th September 1968.

Hurrah a FACT, PROOF something tangible at last ! The man who wrote this letter is the late Dr Patrick McGrath (PM) described by his son as 'the tenth and last medical superintendent of what was then called Broadmoor Lunatic Asylum, in 1957.' 

So, more or less, everything that I have written about Jimmy's initial involvement appears to be correct. He was asked to come by the patients. The then boss of the institution permitted his visits and, most importantly, monitored them and the effect that they had on the people who he spent his whole life helping; his patients. NOTE that word for future reference folks 'PATIENTS' not PRISONER's, it's important !

So, there's 'Britt' the entertainments officer about whom Jimmy fondly remarks on the back of that record 

It also confirms Jimmy's immediate affinity with the patients he met. I hope someone finds that episode of TOTP wherein he gives a secret signal to them. Imagine the joy those otherwise poor souls felt knowing that someone off the telly was actually thinking of them !
I wonder what PM would think about the findings of the report. He sounds like a man of purpose and integrity. He was, after all the real BOSS OF BROADMOOR up until his retirement in 1981. So his authority spanned twelve of the years JS was involved in BM and, seven of the years that Savile was alleged to be at the 'PEAK' of his alleged offending (1966/76).
Whether PM personally disliked JS as his son says, a level of TRUST was built up !
None of the senior folk involved with BM in these early years was available to speak to Bill's team. Most of them if not all, are dead making them easy targets for scapegoating despite the fact that NO OFFICIAL complaints were made about Jimmy Savile whilst he was there.
The testimony provided by various staff members indicates that whilst JS was tolerated by some, many were not happy at all. One thing that the authors of the report make abundantly clear however is that, whether the staff liked Jimmy's presence or not PM's judgement and authority was NEVER CHALLENGED or questioned at the time and this was a fault of the system that prevailed AT THE TIME as well as individuals such as PM who really should have known better !
The bias of the politically correct report makers is evident throughout the document. All patients were subject to harsh treatment and conditions at Broadmoor but it's the women's wards that is of particular interest to them Page 35

The report fails to mention that the same thing happened to the men as part of the admission process. How do I know that ? Well, I have Peter Thompson's book ('Bound for Broadmoor') He entered the institution in 1966. Here's how he describes that first bath !

'I was taken along a highly polished floor to a bathroom on the third floor. Here I was told to strip, while the male nurses present (I later learnt) kept an eye open for any identifying birthmarks or deformity'(p87)

Mr Thompson describes other interesting FACTS about BM at this time. He came up against PM when he challenged the rules in regard to letters ! YES readers, BM patients' letters were subject at this time to censorship and they were only allowed to send TWO PER WEEK ! 

'Dr McGrath refused to alter the rule. I said that I would approach the management. "I am the management," he told me. (P97)

PT provides quite a bit of information about the conditions and physical layout of the hospital. Overcrowding was a huge problem :
'The dormitory too was over-crowded, and there was a lot of homosexuality going on quite openly. (P100)

The next passage I found quite startling not because of the bomb but the fact that he had to WRITE to the 'chief male nurse' :

'I wrote to the chief male nurse and told him I had reason to believe that a patient was manufacturing a bomb in the hospital' after becoming 'chairman of the Patients' escape committee' !

OK I know I've gone off piste for a while there but I wanted to give you an insider's view of BMH from around the time that Jimmy first appeared. I have not seen any reference to Mr Thompson's useful books anywhere in the report. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong by all means !

One man who had a great deal to say to Bill's team is Bob Barber 'former nurse and head of security' ! And it's not just Jimmy Savile that he slates in his copious testimony. I'll cover what he (and others) has to say not only about the dead but the very much alive Alan Franey !

APOLOGIES FOR THE LAYOUT OF THIS POST. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO REMOVE THESE ANNOYING WHITE BOXES. Any advice will be gratefully accepted ! I will edit IF/when I find out how to fix this ! "Onwards !" 




  1. I note from that letter that Jimmy got his intro to the place via his position as a journalist for "The People", a major Fleet Street Sunday 'paper that was the main competitor to the News of the World for the lucrative weekend market.

    "Jimmy Savile started writing a weekly column for The Sunday People, in about 1959. He was most certainly still writing a regular column right the way into the 1970’s."

  2. I'm not sure if you've read this already, but I found it rather interesting !


    1. Kimi,
      Your quest to find a British journalist worthy of the title has taken you East Grinstead? Good effort. I hope a few more turn up soon.

  3. Thanks 'anon' and Misa - first time I've seen a photo of JS with 'not guilty' attached BIG THANKS keep 'em coming, Jimmy's chums are watching ! :-)

    1. I was a little concerned at first - links can be misleading: