There is no doubt that some survivors experienced sexual and physical assaults on holidays – 30 or 40 years later the experience, that promised to be a happy occasion which rapidly turned into a horror movie, stays strongly in their memories. Holidays provide an additional opportunity for abuse – boats, tents, forests, hotel rooms and vehicles provide hidden spaces, alcohol is easily available and children, in an unfamiliar environment, struggle to get help. They also have a heightened dependency on the residential staff for their basic care needs.
Fieldwork team managers were responsible for scrutinizing and managing the holidays – the finance, parental permission and safety. Most of the time they simply made a record on file of a holiday break for a child which they assumed was enjoyable. They did not question their assumptions and consider that the residential care managers might have had ulterior abusive motives. When the residential managers told the social workers that they would get the passports, inform parents, pay the costs and make all the arrangements, these tasks were generally accepted by social workers as something they did not have to bother to do.
There was an inequity in terms of which children went on holidays. ISN know of a number of children who were in boarding schools for whom the holidays were LBI children’s homes such as Sheringham Road, Grosvenor Avenue, Conewood St, Elwood St or Gisburne House. Some children were deprived of holidays as a punishment which would have left them isolated within the children’s home and more exposed to abuse.
The tell tale signs were there when questions could so easily have been asked. Why only one manager with one child going to Spain, Portugal or Jersey?
Why only boys on a holiday? Why only girls? Why were they staying in a ‘posh’ hotel? Which staff were going and what were the sleeping arrangements? Why did the children have to raise the funding themselves often by long sponsored military-style walks? What activities were organized and were these suitable for children? What attention was paid to disabilities and special needs?
There was a strong militaristic context to the holidays as one survivor said, ‘Walk, walk, walk, walk..’ . There are survivor accounts in 1981 when children from Gisburne House walked all the way from Watford to Islington clearly recalling going via Paddington, Marylebone, Euston and meeting the Mayor at the Town Hall prior to getting a lift back. They speak of blisters on their feet, thirst and exhaustion. Who were the blinkered dignitaries who met these children? It is obvious that, during this political event, no-one seemed to notice that for these children something was so terribly wrong.
In 1983, again from Gisburne House, boys walked 48 miles in 24 hours. In 1981 in the Scottish Highlands girls and boys walked 23 miles with a backpack. In 1981 theere is record of a walk in the Pennine Way which survivors say was an annual event. ‘We had, blisters on our feet and no socks, We did 24 miles every day – without a compass we walked in a circle – if we fell over we were kicked. They put rocks on our feet to break our feet so we couldn’t walk.’ ‘The manager would give us a lift in his car on our own which was a ‘privilege’. There were night walks on the Pennine Way and the New Forest. There was no regulation at all of what the children would be expected to do on the holidays and whether the activities were suitable for their age. They were children. This was neglect.
The ‘Germans’ game is one description that took place on night trips into forests. Children from Elwood Street, Copthorne (Village Road) and Conewood Street were taken to Epping Forest and from Conewood St to the New Forest , from Gisburne House to local forests, the New Forest and to Llambeda in Wales. Grosvenor Avenue children were taken to Whippendell Woods. Survivors described counting cattle grids on the drive there in order to try and find their way back because on these trips children were abandoned to find their way back to a vehicle or campsite. They describe a high level of terror, people pulling up in cars to try and pick them up, hearing children’s screams and cries in the woods, feeling scared and hiding, huddled together, when they heard a noise. A survivor describes three staff jumping on him from behind and how he fled back to the campsite terrified. Another describes seeing a boy slumped over a car bonnet with his ‘hair literally standing on end’.
‘I was taken to Epping Forest at night to make my way through the woods to the centre having to walk in woods at night and through a cemetery feeling in fear for my life and feeling I would be killed.’ ISN Survivor
These were military style expeditions with a sinister purpose which was to enable strangers to access children. Of this we have no doubt. ‘The Islington case clearly identifies the enormous number of ‘back doors’ and other means that paedophiles could, if they so choose, use to access young people’ (White Inquiry p 64). White refers to a managerial vacuum in relation to residential homes – there was, ‘poor management which created the conditions where the sexual exploitation of children by the staff, pimps or paedophiles could have taken place… there was insufficient oversight of care practices leaving children vulnerable in a number of ways’ (p34). There is no doubt, from survivor accounts, that many residential children’s homes managers wielded absolute power over the children, their families, residential staff and field social workers and managers. They were manipulative using a range of strategies to maintain control and to enable themselves and others to access and abuse children.
A children’s home manager from Grosvenor Avenue home recruited two 10 year old boys, from outside the care system, to go on holiday with children from the home. This was exposed by a survivor at a council meeting on 28.9.17 and reported in the Islington Gazette (29.9.17). The manager was recruiting boys for sexual exploitation on a regular basis from a local Islington primary school.
“I wasn’t in care,” one survivor told councillors, “but when I was in primary school one of the leaders of one of the care homes used to take people on school journeys. He used to cherry pick people.
“I was one of the ‘lucky’ ones to go on the school journey – and for a week he sexually abused me. I have had to live with that for years.”
Previously, allegations of abuse have come from children who lived in Islington care homes, were sent to homes outside the borough by Islington Council, or had Islington social workers.
But the survivor said: “I think it’s a bigger thing than we even possibly imagine. […] I would like to know how someone from a care home can go into a school and cherry pick people. This guy would say: ‘You, pretty blond boy, can come along.’”
Council leader Richard Watts urged the man to speak to police emphasizing the need for an independent investigation but there was no justice as he found out that the manager was already deceased.
It is obvious that for one manager to have the power in the Islington education system to access children from outside the care system and take them abroad and convince parents – this was a well organized and repeated strategy.
Children from Colgrain children’s home were taken to Spain and Wales in the 80s and survivors describe managers leaving them to look after themselves with one accident with the council van and another where a child was injured assisted to hospital by her peers. Survivors of these holidays describe neglect and some also speak of abuse.
Financial concerns relating to a holiday from Sheringham Road to Rimini which cost £3670 were raised by Councillor Ann Page (The Times 4.9.92 (above left), Community Care 18.11.82 (above right)). The Director of Social Services, John Rea Price, initially objected to the holiday but councillors had overruled him and he finally agreed after hearing the children had missed out on a Christmas holiday which had been cancelled. One of these councillors was Victor McGeer brother of Peter McGeer who had been deputy at the children’s home and Anne Page said it was unwise of him not to declare a conflict of interest.
In 1992 a solicitor was asking for help regarding children abused on holidays in the early 80s (Islington Gazette 22.10.92) – ISN have not been able to establish what holidays this referred to.
As early as 1969 children were taken to Rotterdam from Gisburne House and stayed in a hotel. The card was dated 10.11.69
Holidays in hotels in Latvia, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy should have caused managerial questions to be raised as to the real purpose. On some of the holidays survivors were abused. Other holidays could have been set up for the staff to get luxurious holidays for themselves particularly when one member of staff took a child on their own. Perhaps that one child was a way of justifying the expenditure. The key point is there was no managerial, financial or childcare oversight – or was it complicity?
On 1st December 1984, the Islington Gazette reported children on holiday in Spain, France and Holland. One councillor spoke of the ‘council throwing money around like confetti’ although acknowledged children in care ‘deserved the best’. There was discussion about the children attending a bullfight which offended against the council’s position on animal welfare – this matter was to be raised with the residential home superintendent. If only questions had also been raised about the care and safety of the children.
“Staff should also be ‘discouraged’ from taking children in care to their homes”John Rea Price (Islington Council’s Director of Social Services)
ISN have numerous accounts from survivors who, as children, visited field and residential staff in their own homes, including staff council flats on nearby estates in Islington. For John Rea Price, Director of Social Services, to recommend only that staff be ‘discouraged’ from taking children to their home, demonstrates how management routinely placed children at risk of harm by their collusion with this unprofessional practice. Survivors explain how they were taken to the homes of residential staff for Christmas, holidays and weekends. Some were enjoyable experiences and others abusive.
There is no doubt this was a loophole in the protective systems which opened the doors wide to abusers and their networks gaining access to children. Here are some examples relating to children’s home managers:
- On two occasions 4 survivors went to a country cottage and say they were made to do his building work.
- Children were taken away to stay with the parents of a manager in the north of England
- Groups of children went frequently to Nick Rabet’s ‘The Stables’ his country estate in Sussex
Full List of Known Holidays from Islington Children’s Homes
|Date (Approx)||Children’s home where the children came from (A-Z)||Numbers of ISN survivors who reported Holiday||Place of Holiday|
|1970s||Conewood, Grosvenor Ave, Highbury Crescent Sheringham Rd,||Sunshine Holidays. Stayed with families. ‘Wear your heart on your sleeve’|
|1971/2||Ashbrook 103 Park Ave||1||Cromer, Norfolk|
White low buildings in L shape. Field in middle. Farmhouses.
|1977||Ashbrook 103 Park Ave||1||New Forest Camping|
|25.2.77-11.3.77||Ashbrook 103 Park Ave||1||Funchal Portugal Fuertoventura Hotel|
|8.10.77-21.10.77||Ashbrook 103 Park Ave||1||Alicante, Spain Hotel|
|1983 Summer||Colgrain||3||Alicante Spain 7 children named|
|5.7.83||Colgrain and Conewood||2||Wales ‘Therapeutic break’ 7 children named. Went in yellow transit van|
|1984 December||Colgrain||2||Spain, Holland and France Local press 1.12.84 covered story of 8 children being taken to a bullfight.|
|1984||Colgrain||2||Suffolk Project, Thornham Magna Estate, Eye. Camping|
|1978||Collins Meadow||1||Great Yarmouth|
|17.7.80||Collins Meadow||1||Child deprived of holiday as punishment|
|1-4.9.74||Conewood||1||Isle of Wight|
|1974-6||Conewood and Elwood||1||Savile taxi outings|
|1976||Conewood and Elwood||2||Devon Liverpool Wales Camping and caravans 50 children on holiday from different homes 4 children named|
|1977||Conewood||3||Epping Forest Night time outings in vans. Every 2 weeks.|
|1979||Conewood||1||New Forest ‘where Robin Hood used to rob people’. Bunk beds in air raid shelter 3 named|
|1982-3||Conewood||1||Child sent to Conewood for holiday from a therapeutic community|
|1986||Conewood (and Elwood)||1||Norfolk/Suffolk Holiday lodges 3 named. Big round buildings for girls and boys. Fire on first day – had to come home.|
|1987||Conewood St||1||Riga Latvia|
|1995||Park Place (prev.Conewood St)||1||Camping|
|1966||Elwood St||1||Savile taxi and boats|
|Late 70s||Elwood Street||1||Epping Forest. |
Night time outings
|1974||Elwood St||1||Child sent to Elwood St for holidays|
|1975-76||Elwood St||1||Devon holiday|
Mr Mac had a house in Devon
|1976-7||Elwood St||1||Devon 50 children from Conewood St and Elwood St on this holiday with children from other homes|
|1976/7||Elwood St||1||Brighton 3 named|
|16.8.1977||Elwood St||1||Tunisia. Manager Bernie Bain took children in his vehicles. Same date Elvis died.|
|1983||Elwood St||2||Camping in New Forest|
|7.9.84||Elwood St||1||Spain. Flight from Gatwick. 2 boys to a room. Went go karting 4 children on this holiday|
|1962||Gisburne Reception Centre||1||Boy went there on holiday from his family|
Took a flight. Camping. All boys. Nick Rabet. Sand dunes.
Hotel. Child sent postcard to social worker.10.11.69
|1970s||Gisburne||1||Visits to local forests. 6 children on this outing.|
|1970||Gisburne||1||Austria. Children raised the money|
|1971 1-15 8.71||Gisburne||1||Camping Army cadets|
|1971||Gisburne||1||Isle of Wight|
|10.11.1972||Gisburne||1||Camping with Derek Duker|
|1972||Gisburne||2||Belgium France Germany Austria – visited Dachau former concentration camp.|
Camping and trips to salt mine, Munich and the Alps 16 seater minibus 4 children named – one from Nottingham
|1974 -18-31 August||Gisburne||1||Camping|
Old school house. Long buildings in L-shape. Field in the middle. Playing field on the right. Camping 4 children named
Camping 2 children named
Haut de la Garenne children’s home
Scuba diving and visiting WW2 bunkers and underground hospital. Went by ferry from Plymouth or Portsmouth. Manager of Gisburne House had a boat
Savile taxi trip Camping
|2-17.4.77||Gisburne||1||Pennine Way Walking Photos in local newspapers|
|31.7.78||Gisburne||1||Norfolk Broads Boating 3 children named|
|1980||Gisburne||1||Llambeda, Wales Camping Went 3 times|
|1981||Gisburne||4||Llambeda Camping Night time outing to forest 5 girls 8-10 boys|
|1981||Gisburne||1||Devon & Penzance Youth hostelling|
|18.6.81-2.7.81||Gisburne||2||Scottish Highlands Inverness Walking – 23 miles with backpack|
|1981||Gisburne||2||Mousehole, Cornwall Cottage 4 boys|
|1981||Gisburne||1||Rickmansworth – Paddington Watford to Euston Walking the whole distance. Van back after Mayor’s reception at Town Hall, Islington|
Camping.5 or 6 boys to a car. 11 boys
|14-28.8.81||Gisburne||3||Pennine Way Every year Walking: 24 miles. Midnight runs 4 named|
|1981||Gisburne||1||Norfolk Boating 7 children – boys|
|12-26.8.82||Gisburne||1||North Wales Camping Army green caravan towed by minibus 2 named|
|12-22.10.82||Gisburne||2||French Pyrennes Lourdes Took ferry and own tents Walking|
|1980-2?||Gisburne||1||France A mixed group|
|25-30.10.82||Gisburne||3||Norfolk Broads Boating Manager had his own boat Girls had separate boat|
|1983||Gisburne||1||Costa Brava Hotel|
|Unknown date||Gisburne||1||Los Angeles|
|Unknown date||Gisburne||3||Forest Night time outing. Ran miles to get back to campsite. Walking|
|May 1983||Gisburne||2||New Forest Junior boys|
|9-10.7.83 also 8-11th||Gisburne||3||Lyke Lake, North York Moors Walking: 50 mile cross country run in 24 hours. Prior to going had mountain craft and survival lectures|
Hotel 5 children named
|? 1983||Gisburne||1||Poole Dorset|
|14-23.7.84||Gisburne||5||Calella, Cadiz Spain.|
Hotel Group passport
|Aug 1984||Gisburne||1||France Child deprived of holiday as punishment|
|1985||Highbury Crescent/Gisburne||2||New Forest.|
|3-17.8.85||Gisburne||2||North Wales Harlech Camping. Concerned family went to site and child was not there or in any other local campsite|
|1985||Gisburne||1||Norfolk Broads. Boating|
|14-25 .7.86||Gisburne||4||Lido de Jessolo Italy Camping/orienteering Holiday planned for Benidorm then changed. Boys from Scotland and girls from Ireland on same holiday|
|10.7.-16.9.1994||Gisburne||1||Senior Social Worker ran a holiday scheme at Gisburne from Eastgate Intermediate Treatment group|
|Undated||Gisburne?||3||Norfolk Broads Boating Girls boat and 2 boys boats|
|Undated||Gisburne||1||Milton Keynes Camping/walking Canal walk|
|Undated||Gisburne||1||Trips to abbatoirs and to Harpenden psychiatric hospital|
|1969||Grosvenor Ave||1||Jersey. Camping with 2 young staff|
|1972-6||Grosvenor Ave||1||Hotel in Mayfair|
Overnight stay at birthdays and Christmas time. Got presents
|1972-6||Grosvenor Ave||1||Whippendell woods.|
Night time outing
|1972-7||Grosvenor Ave||2||Butlins Bognor Regis Minehead Filey near Scarborough.|
Went every year 2 children named
|1972-7||Grosvenor Ave||1||Bishop Stortford.|
Home of member of residential staff. Rowing and football
Haut de la Garenne 5 named
Haut de la Garenne 2 months stay Worked in the fields picking grapes
|1972-7||Grosvenor Ave||1||Jersey Visited Guernsey. Haut el la Garenne 2 weeks then at large white house on a hill near St Helier with 6 rooms|
|1972-7||Grosvenor Ave||1||Norfolk Manager Nick Rabet’s house near sand dunes – Georgian house with blue door|
|1972-7||Grosvenor Ave||1||Sussex Nick Rabet’s manor house and play centre ‘The Stables.’|
|1972-6||Grosvenor Ave||2||Kursaal Southend Amusement park Children called them ‘ Slide parties’ Savile taxi events. Every year 5 named|
|Undated||Grosvenor Ave||1||Hollywood, USA|
|1973||Grosvenor Ave||2||Lake District Camping|
|August 1973||Grosvenor Ave||1||Jersey.|
Haut de la Garenne. Visits to WW2 tunnels Exchange. Staff from Jersey home went to Islington
|1.9.1973||Grosvenor Ave||1||South of France.|
Camping. Drove from Calais to Brittany Went twice. Girls to France and boys to Jersey
|1975-77||Grosvenor Ave||1||Jersey survivor from Haut de la Garenne on holiday in Islington children’s home 6 children on exchange|
|1975||Grosvenor Ave||1||Jersey survivors from Haut de la Garenne described childrens home ISN think fits the description of 114 Grosvenor Avenue Haut de la Garenne, 6 children on exchange|
Stayed night in Boulogne Visited prison on a rock out to sea. Went by coach and transit van
|? dte||Grosvenor Ave||1||Epping Forest.|
Night time outing Every 2 weeks
Camping. Child sent Postcard from Gorey Bay close to Haut de la Garenne
|1978||Grosvenor Ave||1||Guernsey Day trip to Jersey and France.|
Walked down hill to a prison on a rock out to sea. Walked to it. Camping
|1978||Grosvenor Ave||1||France Camping|
|Undated||Grosvenor Ave||1||France and Haut de la Garenne.|
Took helicopter twice 2 children named
|1984||Grosvenor Ave||1||Torremolinos Hotel.|
2 boys and 2 girls from Islington school and children from Grosvenor Avenue with Manager Dave Burrage
Camping in old lorry park and stayed at a house
|1986||Grosvenor Ave||1||Isle of Wight|
|1986||Grosvenor Ave||2||Sussex .|
Manor house ‘The Stables’ with Nick Rabet Manager Grosvenor Ave who owned the property
|Oct.1987||Grosvenor Ave||2||Blackpool – Alton Towers.|
|1987-8||Grosvenor Ave||1||Holiday placement for child in boarding school|
|22-24.2.72||Highbury Crescent||1||Llangower Bala North Wales.|
Camping 2 children named
Camping 3 children named
Boys and girls were separate
|1980||Highbury Crescent||2||Epping Forest.|
Night time outings
|late 1980s||Highbury Crescent||1||Alderney with one RSW|
|1987||Highbury Crescent||1||Barge trip.|
Organised by Highbury Roundhouse
|1997||Crescent Family Centre||1||Cumbria|
|23-26.8.72||29 Highbury New Park||3||Perren Sands Holiday Centre Perranparty Cornwall.|
Minibus and 3 chalets were hired
|1980s||29 Highbury New Park||1||Wales Pembrokeshire|
|1980s||29 Highbury New Park||1||Wales Abergavenny|
|1985||29 & 80 Highbury New Park||3||Benidorm.|
Hotel. 7 named Both homes went at same time
|1988||29 Highbury New Park||1||Margate.|
|1988||29 Highbury New Park||2||South France.|
Camping: Other schools there from the north 5 children named
|1968||59 Humber House||1||Belgium|
‘one boy did not enjoy the holiday because black children were stared at’.
|1982-3||Mildmay||2||Aviemore, Cairngorms Climbing|
|1982-3||Mildmay||1||Tryfan Snowdonia Climbing|
12 young people. Holloway Neighbourhood Group.
|1970||New Park House||1||Majorca.|
Hotel. 6 named
|1970?||New Park House||1||Minehead|
|1972||New Park House||2||Jersey|
|1973||New Park House||1||Bournemouth.|
An old schoolhouse
|1973||New Park House||1||Wales.|
House of Manager’s friend
|1974-76||New Park House||1||Jersey|
|1977||New Park House||1||Cornwall.|
|1978||New Park House||2||Swaffam.|
Residential worker’s cottage
|1978||New Park House||1||Chalets.|
Went in minibus. Slept in bunk beds 5 named children
|1978||New Park House||1||Bristol.|
Bedminster Boys club
|1979||New Park House||2||Wales.|
Residential worker’s cottage
|17-21.12.79||New Park House||1||Majorca|
|1980||New Park House||2||Billing Aquadrome,|
|1981||New Park House||1||Caravan|
|1982||New Park House||1||Llandudno|
|28.5.83- 6.6.83||New Park House||1||Loreto del Mar Spain Camping. 9 children|
|1977||Northampton Park||1||Norfolk Broads.|
Boating boats called Lady1 and Lady2. Patio door at back of boat. Went in minibus
|April 1978||Northampton Park||1||Boy deprived of youth hostel holiday as punishment|
|Northampton Park||1||Isle of Wight.|
|1971-2||Oak Lodge||1||Debden camp.|
|undated||Sheringham Rd||1||Blackpool Flat 3 and 4 holiday flats Sunningdale,|
Scout trip 5 children
|Sept 1972||Sheringham Rd||1||Blankenberg, Belgium Camping. 8 children named|
|1972 -?||Sheringham Rd||1||St Marys Bay|
|1972?||Sheringham Rd||1||Suffolk project|
Lot of children all ages and ethnicities. Not a yacht. Cameras
|3-14.7.73||Sheringham Rd||2||Belgium, Germany, France & Luxembourg.|
Mini bus tour
|5.10.74||Sheringham Rd||1||Annual taxi drivers trip|
Camping in tents. 3 children named
Visit to theatre
|1978||Sheringham Rd||1||Sheringham Rd|
Holiday placement from boarding school
|1980||Sheringham Rd||1||Sheringham Rd.|
Holiday placement from boarding school
|1980||Sheringham Rd||2||Isle of Skye|
Stayed in hotel which had half burnt down. Visitors flew in in helicopters
|1982||Sheringham Rd||2||Rimini; Local press 4.9.82 and Community Care 18.11.82 covered story of expensive holiday for 9 children. See also Council Minutes 21.12.82|
|1984||Sheringham Rd||1||Dorset Clay Pigeon Caravan Park|
|28.10-1.11.85||Sheringham Rd||1||Ipswich. Master Builder Ketch|
|1977?||Sickert Court||1||Diss, Suffolk|
|1979||Sickert Court||1||Suffolk Project|
|1978-9||Solna Rd||2||Shropshire Staff family house|
|7.6.1980||Solna Rd||2||North Wales|
|1982||Solna Road||1||Portugal Hotel Golfino|
|1976||Village Rd||1||Sea cadets holiday|
|1966||Widbury||1||Walton on Naze|
This table is a summary of holidays ISN have learnt about from information on files, from survivor accounts and some former staff statements. There are accounts of accidents during these holidays where supervision was lacking and of violence, physical abuse, sexual harm and neglect. Some of the most painful memories survivors have of abuse are in the context of these holidays. The change of circumstances embedded the experiences vividly in their memories. Witnessing serious accidents, feeling afraid and abandoned on night hikes, thrown into water when they couldn’t swim, being absolutely exhausted on military style walks and being abused in isolated situations such as caravans, cars, hotel rooms and tents – these are deep seated memories. Some children told their social workers they ‘didn’t enjoy the holiday at all’ but this didn’t seem to lead to further questioning as to what had gone so very wrong.
The policy of allowing staff to take children to their homes was with few exceptions, a disaster for the children – a policy ready made for exploitation by child abusers. It was not uncommon for a holiday to include a visit to the home of a member of staff or their family. After all no-one was looking. Children’s home staff having unilateral control over the choice and organisation of holidays gave power to those whose aim was to harm children – field social work oversight was framed in a blinkered world of optimism – in a grossly mistaken belief that a holiday must by definition be a good experience for a child in the council’s care.
Night walks in forests
The numbers of night walks in forests after having been abandoned and left to their own devices to find their way back to a campsite or vehicle is nothing short of shocking. These ‘trips’ are on record from Conewood St, Elwood St, Gisburne House, Grosvenor Avenue and Highbury Crescent and to different forests. The stories from survivors, both women and men, are similar. They speak of absolute terror, of men trying to pick them up in cars and of hearing children crying. Some cannot even speak of what happened. ISN think that this was a very specific way of exposing children to abuse. One woman has described to ISN a boy returning to a vehicle with his hair ‘literally standing on end’ and slumped over the bonnet of the car – she never knew what had happened but knew it was something terrible.
Savile taxis and Sunshine holidays
From 8 of the survivor’s files and interviews, ISN has learnt about the Savile Taxi outings which took place every year when a hundred London taxis took about 300 children to the seaside for a day out (The Times, 28th February 1973) These events are reported by survivors from Conewood St and Elwood St 1974-6, Elwood Street in 1966, Grosvenor Avenue from 1972-6, Sheringham Road in 1974 and Gisburne House in 1973 & 1977. Survivors describe the ‘Slide Parties’ held at the Kursaal Amusement Centre in Southend.
‘We went to a place where the children were given loads of presents and toys. Sat at tables with men. We had to sit on their knees and get kissed. I was kissed by Savile. Went in a convoy. 3 course meal. Remember Savile coming to taxi – clunk click.‘ ISN Survivor
Savile is also mentioned by a survivor in relation to 5 homes (Conewood, Grosvenor Avenue, Highbury Crescent and Sheringham Rd ) which were said to have sent children on the Variety Club Sunshine holidays. There are no Islington child abuse allegations related to these Sunshine holidays although some were reported elsewhere. (ITV News, 13th October 2012)
The role of Jimmy Savile in the Islington child abuse scandal is unclear. The Telegraph article ‘Jimmy Savile sex abuse: ‘Islington is still covering up’ mentions 3 women who as girls were abused in an Islington children’s home who said the perpetrator procured young girls from the home for Savile. In 1979 a survivor told ISN that children from Conewood St and Grosvenor Avenue were taken to the filming of Jim ‘ll Fix it. One survivor from Widbury in 1977 said Savile visited the home and children went to Top of the Pops.
ISN conclude that Savile did have some connection to at least 7 Islington children’s homes although the evidence so far is limited.
In 2014 The Islington Tribune reported that ‘ Education Secretary Michael Gove ordered Islington to investigate information uncovered in the historic police inquiry which links Savile to children’s homes in the borough in the 1960s, 70s and 80s’.
The Government commissioned report in 2015 by Lucy Scott-Moncrieff however named Sheringham Road as a home that Savile was not involved with! When ISN asked the council about the government commissioned investigation they said it was all a big mistake. However ISN wonder why any mention would be made of Sheringham Road at all in that case? Also questions asked of Education Minister Martin Howarth in an email ( 9.4.2016) gained no response.
Keith Harding, a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange who lived in Hornsey Road, appeared alongside Savile on a Christmas edition of Jim’ll Fix It. (The Express, 10th May 2015)
An Islington Gazette article from 1990 shows Savile opening a centre for adults with learning disabilities.
If you have additional information about Islington holidays for children in care (1960s -90s) please let us know – it has not been easy to draw these facts together from multiple sources and there may be some duplication or errors which we will amend.