Following the reports by Andrew Norfolk in The Times this Tuesday on abuse at Colet Court and St Paul’s School, including by director of music Alan Doggett (see my blog post from earlier this week for details and links to the text of the Times articles) a new article (Andrew Norfolk, ‘Boys punished for telling of abuse by teacher’, The Times, March 28th, 2014 – behind a paywall – full text can be read here) reports many former pupils of the schools having contacted the paper after reading the first article. In particular, several have helped to provide further information about the activities of Doggett, as follows:
Several ex-pupils described Doggett’s routine “fondling” of boys in their beds. Three said they were abused by the choirmaster, who was conductor on the first recordings of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita. Doggett resigned after his abuse was exposed in 1968, but it is understood that St Paul’s did not report the allegations to police or to education officials, which was required by law.
He went on to teach at City of London School and became director of an acclaimed choir before killing himself in 1978.
Stephen (his surname is withheld), the pupil who ended Doggett’s Colet Court career, said that he and a friend decided to speak to the school’s headmaster, Henry Collis, after Doggett indecently assaulted both 11-year-olds as they sat on each side of him during a televised football match in May 1968.
“It was the Manchester United v Benfica European Cup Final. We were sitting on the floor and Doggett’s hands were groping inside our pyjama bottoms.
“He wouldn’t leave us alone. He’d already had a go at me in the dormitory on quite a few occasions,” Stephen said. After the match, the two pupils decided that “he’s got to be stopped”. They informed Mr Collis, who was headmaster of Colet Court from 1957 to 1973 and served as chairman of the Independent Preparatory Schools Association.
Stephen said: “When I next went home on exeat that weekend, the school had telephoned my father to complain that I’d made up terrible stories about Doggett. Dad asked me what had been going on. When I told him, he said he believed me and I’d done the right thing in speaking out, but when I got back to the school the two of us were summoned to Mr Collis’s study.
“I can still see us standing in front of his desk on the Monday morning.He was furious. He said we were wicked for making up such awful lies. Mr Doggett was so appalled and embarrassed by the disgraceful things we’d said that he’d decided to leave the school. We should be thoroughly ashamed of ourselves. He gave us detention.”
Stephen said that another boy in their year suffered far worse crimes at Doggett’s hands: “He had one particular favourite who received regular visits in the dormitory at night. He’d abuse the poor boy without seeming to care that we could all see and watch what was happening.”
Other ex-pupils spoke this week of open gossip among the boys that “half a crown” was the “going rate for a session with Doggett”. One said that his year group even coined a new verb: to be “Doggoed” was to be groped and fondled.
Doggett’s resignation was one of several occasions when St Paul’s allegedly failed to inform police after concerns were raised about sexual misconduct by teachers. (Norfolk, ‘Boys punished for telling of abuse by teacher’)
In Norfolk’s article from earlier this week, the testimony of another boy, ‘Luke’, who had been abused by three teachers at the school before the age of 12, recalled how:
A far worse fate awaited another boy in his dormitory, a year younger than Luke, who was angelic in both voice and looks. He was Doggett’s chosen one, summoned far too often from their dormitory to spend long hours at night in the choirmaster’s bedroom. (Norfolk, ”The teacher sat us on his lap until his face went very red”).
The Manchester United/Benfica match in question was the 1968 European Cup Final, at Wembley Stadium, which took place on May 29th, 1968, thus just two-and-a-half weeks after the second performance of Joseph in Westminster Central Hall (detailed in my earlier account of Doggett’s life and activities – a revised version of this in light of the new information can also be read here). Eight weeks after this performance (thus in mid-July 1968), Doggett made the recording of Joseph for Decca at Abbey Road Studios, and in November of that year gave a further performance at St Paul’s Cathedral. Assuming that ‘Stephen’ made the complaint soon after the abuse during the cup final, this means that Doggett was continuing to conduct a choir of boys for recordings and performances after he had left Colet Court. More widely, this opens up the disturbing possibility, if not likelihood, that the choirs singing on the first recording of Joseph (and quite likely Jesus Christ Superstar as well) were being systematically abused at the time by their conductor.
Furthermore, if ‘half a crown’ was ‘the going rate for a session with Doggett’, then child prostitution of boys of ages around 10-12 was going on flagrantly at the school. And for Doggett would come into a dormitory and abuse a boy in front of the others is itself a form of abuse of all the boys in that dormitory.
There seems no little doubt to my mind that, if these allegations are true, that Colet Court and St Paul’s School were during this period a haven for serial abuse of boys below the puberty, sadistic punishment for sexual gratification of teachers, child prostitution, and intimidation and blaming of victims by the shameful headmaster, Henry Collis. This is a shameful history for any school, but alas it would seem as if Colet Court/St Paul’s were far from alone in many of these respects.
That these sorts of unspeakable things have remained hidden for so long is itself an outrage, but I hope that some can take consolation from the fact that the truth is finally able to come out, and their experiences be recognised.
Others who studied at these schools and now hold prominent positions – such as the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (who was after Doggett’s time, but may have known some of the other abusive teachers) and Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC (who studied at the school when Doggett was a teacher) – should themselves be demanding action and proper investigation into how such abuse could be allowed to happen. Tim Rice wrote the following in his autobiography:
The only previous time in ten years that Andrew and I had come across such rumours concerning Alan, the allegations were proven to be exactly that, as the time and place of the supposed transgression clashed precisely with a recording date at which all three of us were continually present. It has been known for young boys, and more commonly their parents, to manufacture or exaggerate incidents when they know and (understandably) disapprove of a teacher’s inclinations. (Tim Rice, Oh, What a Circus: The Autobiography (Coronet Books, 1999), p. 401).
It would be informative to hear what Rice’s thoughts are on these new allegations, also those of both Julian and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and of Ian Hunter, Doggett’s colleague and successor as Director of Music at the school (who later became Head himself). How much did anyone know about this abuse at the time?
I will update my long article on Doggett later to take account of this new information, and will continue to update it with any subsequent information which comes to light.
One thing is for sure: Colet Court and St Paul’s School need to do everything in their power to help and support the boys who suffered as a direct result of the school’s negligence and complicity, as does every other school where similar things occurred. If these means some must close, so be it.
Following my article from earlier this month on conductor, Colet Court director of music, director of London Boy Singers, Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice collaborator and Paedophile Information Exchange member Alan Doggett (1936-1978) three articles appeared in today’s Times by Andrew Norfolk, giving testimonies and details of how Doggett abused boys as well as information on five or six other abusers at Colet Court and St Paul’s School (for which Colet Court was the prep school). These are Andrew Norfolk, ‘Teachers ‘abused boys at Osborne’s old school”, ”The teacher sat us on his lap until his face went very red”, and ‘Friends to stars had easy access to boys’, all The Times, March 25th, 2014; and can be accessed via the links given at the excellent Spotlight blog.
Norfolk’s report adds to my own blog post through the testimony of ‘Luke Redmond’ (not his real name) who had been sexually assaulted by three different men at Colet Court School by the time he reached the age of 12. These are Doggett, the dorm monitor Paul Topham, who went on to become an Anglican priest, and was questioned under caution by police in 2000, though no charges were brought before his death in 2012, and a housemaster known as ‘Alex’ Alexander, who took pleasure in punishing boys in a sexualised fashion before taking them on his lap and giving them sweets and physical affection. On Doggett, the final printed version of the article says the following (not all included in the link above):
Luke’s abuse by Alan Doggett, Colet Court’s director of music, was a once-only indecent assault during the boy’s compulsory audition for the choir. [From earlier version of article: Doggett’s auditions of boarders were always when pupils were dressed for bed. Luke stood by the piano. As he sang, Doggett’s hand explored beneath the waistband of his pyjamas.]
A far worse fate awaited another boy in his dormitory, a year younger than Luke, who was angelic in both voice and looks. He was Doggett’s chosen one, summoned far too often from their dormitory to spend long hours at night in the choirmaster’s bedroom.
A year later, another boy cried foul and Doggett was forced to resign, though his crimes are understood to have gone unreported by St Paul’s. As a result, it was a decade before he finally appeared in court, charged with offences against a 10-year-old choirboy, born in the year the teacher left Colet Court. (Norfolk, ”The teacher sat us on his lap until his face went very red”).
It has been suggested that Doggett’s treatment of Luke was common with many boys who he auditioned. Norfolk also details in concise form the information contained on my earlier blog post: Doggett’s teaching first at Westminster School (where he taught Julian Lloyd Webber) then Colet Court from 1963 to 1968, his commissioning of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, which was first performed at Colet Court during Doggett’s final months there, his dismissal from the school, then work at City of London School, continued association with Lloyd Webber and Rice, conducting the first recording of Jesus Christ Superstar, then directorship of the London Boy Singers, with whom he worked for the album of Evita, as well as Doggett’s suicide in 1978, just before being about to conduct a massed choir of 1000 school boys, after he was charged with the offences against a 10-year-old choirboy. He also mentions the tributes to Doggett by leading Paedophile Information Exchange figures Paul Andrews and Michael Ingram, and Doggett’s own PIE membership.
That Doggett worked with over 1000 young boys after his dismissal from Colet Court, not to mention his PIE membership and links to other major abusers, raises sinister possibilities – that there could have been widespread abuse of Savile-like proportions. Once again, I would ask anyone with further information to come forward if they feel able to.
As well as the three teachers mentioned by Luke, Norfolk lists three other alleged abusive teachers at Colet Court/St Paul’s; two of them unnamed, the other geography teacher and rowing coach Patrick Marshall, who was questioned as part of a police inquiry into abuse of a 15-year-old boy in 1979-1980. Elsewhere, Norfolk’s scrupulous investigations have drawn attention to how teachers at 130 independent schools in the UK have been implicated in sexual crimes against hundreds of boys, including 64 where at least one male teacher has been convicted of sexually abusing boys, and a further 30 where a member of staff has been sentenced for possession of images of child abuse. These include the likes of Eton, Marlborough, Millfield, Oundle, Tonbridge, Downside School, Somerset, Haderdashers’ Aske’s, Ampleforth, Wellington College, King Edward’s School Birmingham and The Oratory School, Reading. A comment by the Independent Schools Council referred just to the ‘abuse of trust by a small number of predatory individuals’ and wanting to point out that ‘these cases are largely historic’ (Andrew Norfolk, ‘130 private schools in child abuse scandal’, The Times, January 20th, 2014). A report from 1996 in the Sunday Times spoke of Scotland Yard investigating a possible paedophile ring involving public schools, in which context the names of leading PIE members Peter Righton and Charles Napier were mentioned (Stephen Grey, ‘Police investigate public school paedophile ring’, The Sunday Times, August 25th, 1996), leading to a range of raids the following month, including at Harrow School (Eileen Fairweather, ‘Paedophile ring alleged at top public schools’, Evening Standard, September 19th, 1996). A range of public schools were raided in 1997 as part of an investigation into a suspected child pornography ring (Jason Benetto, ‘Public schools raided in child porn inquiry’, The Independent, November 22nd, 1997). The enquiry, named Operation Fledgling, was later revealed to have targetted in particular Eton College, as well as various of the other schools listed above (‘Eton targeted in paedophile inquiry at top public schools’, The Sunday Times, August 6th, 2000). Furthermore, the suicide in 1997 of Adrian Stark, director of music at Leatherhead School, Surrey alerted police to activities at other schools, with raids on independent schools in Durham and Sedbergh in Cumbria, at the same time as a report by Sir William Utling drew attention to the particular dangers faced by children living away from home (Peter Hetherington, Duncan Campbell, Rebecca Smithers and David Brindle, ‘Suicide pointed police to top schools’, The Guardian, November 22nd, 1997).
Whilst Operation Fledgling was abandoned in 1998, there is clearly much more remaining to investigate about vast numbers of allegations into widespread abuse as a common occurrence at Britain’s most prestigious public schools, and more widely about the brutalising and exploitative hierarchical culture of such institutions, by which the values of dog-eat-dog and survival of the fittest may have been passed down from generation to generation.
In my last post, I quoted extensively from the article by Colin Ward, author of The Child and the City (London: Architectural Press, 1978), in New Society which linked Doggett and Tom O’Carroll (Ward, ‘The saving grace of worldiness’, New Society, July 9th, 1981), and served as an apologia for paedophilia. I reproduce the article below, together with a response which appeared a few weeks later (Ken Smith, ‘Paedophiles’, New Society, July 23rd, 1981).
Alan Doggett, first conductor of Joseph and Jesus Christ Superstar, and the Paedophile Information ExchangePosted: March 7, 2014
[Since this article first appeared, a lot of new information has surfaced in terms of Doggett’s activities at Colet Court School. With this in mind, I have produced a revised version, which can be read here. I will however keep this original version online as well]
An article was published in the Daily Mail in December (Guy Adams, ‘Apologists for Paedophiles: How Labour Deputy Harriet Harman, her shadow minister husband and former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt were all linked to a group lobbying for the right to have sex with children’, Daily Mail, 14/12/13, updated 20/12/13 ), which pre-empted the rush of media coverage which has emerged in the last two weeks. This concerned the connection between the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Harriet Harman, her husband Jack Dromey, Shadow Minister for Policing and former union official, and former cabinet minister Patricia Hewitt, all involved with the National Council for Civil Liberties in the 1970s and 1980s, and was affiliated to PIE (and took out an ad in their journal Magpie in 1979). I have blogged at length reproducing documents relating to NCCL and PIE (see here, here, here, here, here, here and here), and also on the Whitehall senior civil servant (formerly a church minister and teacher of theology in India, later a musicologist and classical scholar) Clifford Hindley, who has been identified as the individual who secured government funding for PIE.
But another name appeared in the December article, which has not really been investigated further prior to this article: that of boys’ choir conductor and teacher Alan Doggett (1936-1978), who had an extended and important relationship with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. A letter about the suicide of Doggett in 1978 appeared in Issue 10 of Magpie (Letters, Magpie, Issue No. 10 (no date), p. 4) and a notice of his memorial service in the subsequent issue (‘Alan Doggett – Memorial Service’, Magpie, Issue No. 11 (May 1978), p. 2 – both this and the letter can be read in the fourth of my PIE blog posts linked to above), to both of which I will return presently. The Mail article named Doggett as a member of PIE; a source close to the heart of current police investigations has confirmed to me that this was definitely the case.
Doggett is listed in the second Magpie article as having worked as conductor of the London Boys’ Choir (erroneously titled here – this was the London Boy Singers), and was to be remembered for his ‘friendliness, integrity and loyalty’. But his claim to fame is stronger than this; as has been chronicled in various books and articles about or by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, he was responsible for commissioning and conducting Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, conducting the recording of Jesus Christ Superstar, and sharing that for Evita, as well as writing his own musical, Jason and the Golden Fleece, inspired by these earlier examples. A scholarly article argues for Doggett’s close involvement with Lloyd Webber and Rice, saying that ‘he was effectively a third member of the team prior to the international success of Jesus Christ Superstar’ (David Chandler, ‘’Everyone should have the opportunity’: Alan Doggett and the modern British Music’, Studies in Musical Theatre, Vol. 6, No. 3 (2012), pp. 275-289 (quotation from p. 275) – this article mentions nothing about the more troubling aspects of Doggett’s life, other than mentioning in passing that he committed suicide), whilst Andrew Lloyd Webber paid fulsome tribute to Doggett in an article published in the Mail in 2012 (‘’I owe my success to an abseiling vicar’ says Andrew Lloyd Webber as he opens up about the highs and lows of his career’, Daily Mail, September 24th, 2012).
In this article, I give an overview of Doggett’s life and work, and appeal to those who may have known or worked with him in (especially those who studied at Westminster Under School, Colet Court School, or who sung in the London Boy Singers or in the larger massed boy choirs he assembled) to come forward if they have any relevant information.
Alan Doggett was born on November 29th, 1936, in Epsom, Surrey. His father was Kenneth Raymond Doggett, who edited the shipping journal Dock and Harbour Authority. Alan grew up in Iver, Buckinghamshire, where he took piano lessons from an early age, and attended Colet Court school, before going on to read history at Selwyn College, Cambridge. One account describes him as ‘a discreet homosexual’ who ‘ was enthusiastic about music but only modestly gifted’ (Michael Walsh, Andrew Lloyd Webber: His Life and Works (Harmondsworth: Viking, 1989), p. 37). His first job was as a history teacher at Westminster Under School, where he doubled as a music teacher and led the school choir (ibid). In this capacity he taught the young Julian Lloyd Webber (b. 1951), who attended the school between 1961 and 1963 and was a member of the choir (Tim Rice, Oh, What a Circus: The Autobiography (Coronet Books, 1999), p. 131). Through Julian, Alan Doggett came to meet his father William Lloyd Webber, and began to take an interest in the compositions of Julian’s brother Andrew Lloyd Webber (b. 1948), helping him with notational matters (Walsh, Lloyd Webber, p. 37). At some point during this period, Doggett also served as a vicar-choral at St Paul’s Cathedral, alongside Ian Hunter, who would become his assistant at Colet Court and later his successor (Jonathan Mantle, Fanfare: The Unauthorised Biography of Andrew Lloyd Webber (M. Joseph, 1989), pp. 30, 41).
In 1963, Doggett was appointed as Director of Music at Colet Court, an independent boys’ preparatory school established in 1881 which is linked to St Paul’s School, and whose headmaster from 1957 to 1973 was Henry J.G. Collis (1913-1994). Some prominent alumni of Colet Court include Greville Ewan Janner, Baron Janner of Braunstone (1928-), Sir Paul Lever (1944-), Paul Anthony Cartledge (1947-), John Cody Fidler Simpson (1944-), Sir Nicholas Felix Stadlen (1950-), Lloyd Marshal Dorfman (1952-), Jonathan Simon Speelman (1956-), the Conservative MP Dominic Grieve MP (1956-), Oliver Tom Parker (1960-) and Barnaby David Waterhouse Thompson (1961-) (David Bussey, John Colet’s Children: The Boys of St Paul’s School in later life (1509-2009) (Oxford: Gresham Books, 2009), pp. 157, 169, 172, 174-175, 182, 185, 188, 193, 196-197; parliamentary profile of Dominic Grieve).
At Colet Court, Doggett he brought in a system of vocal training based upon that of the Vienna Boys’ Choir (most distinct from traditional English methods), as well as finding external performance opportunities for the choir (Gerald McKnight, Andrew Lloyd Webber (London, Toronto, Sydney & New York: Granada Publishing, 1984), p. 85; Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 277 – all other information not sourced elsewhere comes from here. Some of Chandler’s information on Doggett’s early life comes from correspondence with Doggett’s sister Jennifer Acornley, Ian Hunter, Doggett’s successor at Colet Court, and Julian Lloyd Webber). He also worked as organist at the school, at least by December 1964 (At least by December 1964. See advert in The Musical Times, Vol. 105, No. 1462 (December 1964), p. 936. Doggett had a letter published in The Musical Times in August 1966, entitled ‘Let the Children Sing’, just talking about the nature of school choirs; he was then listed as belonging to St Paul’s Junior School (the same thing as Colet Court). See The Musical Times, Vol. 107, No. 1482 (August 1966), pp. 687-688).
In 1964, Doggett set up a choir at Emmanuel Parish Church, West Hampstead; his address at the time was given as SW1 2580 (see advert in The Musical Times, Vol. 105, No. 1451 (Jan 1964), p. 64). The vicar at the church during this period was The Reverend Jack Dover Wellman (The Rev Dr Peter Galloway, ‘A short history and guide to Emmanuel Church West Hampstead’) , who appears to have been an eccentric figure who wrote two books entitled A Priest’s Psychic Diary, with introduction by Richard Baker (London: SPCK, 1977) and A Priest and the Paranormal (Worthing: Churchman, 1988). Wellman also appeared on an edition of the late night Channel 4 programme After Dark, on April 30th, 1988, to discuss the subject ‘Bewitched, Bothered, or Bewildered?’, chaired by Anthony Wilson (see ‘After Dark 2’).
In 1965, Doggett already became more closely associated with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, helping out with some of the demonstration recordings of their musical The Likes of Us, written that year, about the life of Thomas Barnardo. Already on these recordings the Colet Court choir featured as the homeless children who Barnardo was helping, in stage cockney accents (Rice, Oh, What a Circus, p. 131; Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 277, Mantle, Fanfare, p. 30). Rice described him as an ‘extremely camp teacher, who was some ten years older than I was’, and ‘a talented music master, though a less talented composer, always on the lookout for a new way of instilling enthusiasm for music into his young charges (aged eight to thirteen)’ (ibid).
In late 1967, Doggett contacted Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, to request a cantata for the school’s annual spring concert. The headmaster of Colet Court, Henry Collis, had been quickly won over by Doggett’s proposal, despite some conservative doubts about setting a biblical story to popular music (McKnight, Lloyd Webber, pp. 85-86). To Lloyd Webber and Rice, Doggett made clear that he wanted something short and sharp, ideally a cantata on a religious theme, a story through song, though giving them carte blanche over the subject matter (Michael Coveney, The Andrew Lloyd Webber Story (London: Arrow Books, 2000), p. 53; Rice, Oh, What a Circus, p. 131; Mantle, Fanfare, pp. 41-42). Doggett nonetheless suggested a biblical subject, thinking of what Michael Coveney refers to as that sort of unbuttoned Christian sing-along represented by such pieces as Herbert Chappell’s The Daniel Jazz (which he had produced the year before), Michael Flanders and Joseph Horovitz’s Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo and indeed Benjamin Britten’s exemplary Noye’s Fludde (Coveney, The Lloyd Webber Story, p. 53). Rice found the story of Jacob’s son, Joseph, who was landed in trouble by his dreams and coat of many colours, leading his brothers to sell him into slavery in Egypt, where he becomes a prophetic guru to the Pharaoh, in The Wonder Book of Bible Stories (ibid; Rice, Oh, What a Circus, p. 132). This would become Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Lloyd Webber and Doggett worked together at the music room of Colet Court whilst the work was being composed, and Lloyd Webber was prepared to accept suggestions from the choir (Mantle, Fanfare, p. 42; Rice, Oh, What a Circus, pp. 133, 135).
The world premiere of Joseph took place on Friday March 1st, 1968, at 2:30 pm, in the Assembly Hall of Colet Court School, conducted by Doggett himself, an ad hoc pop group called The Mixed Bag, including Rice (who took the part of Elvis/Pharaoh) and singer David Daltrey, a cousin of Roger’s (from The Who), who led the principal solo numbers for Joseph himself (see Rice, Oh, What a Circus, pp. 136-142, for a detailed account; also McKnight, Lloyd Webber, pp. 87-88, for Ian Hunter’s account). The school was itself about to move from its 1890 premises in Hammersmith to new buildings across the river in Barnes, and this performance would be the last in the old Assembly Hall (Walsh, Lloyd Webber, p. 37). The first half of the concert consisted of performances by the pianist John Lill, and both Julian and William Lloyd Webber; for Joseph, Ian Hunter played the piano and Julian played the cello (Stephen Citron, Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber: The New Musical (London: Chatto & Windus, 2001), p. 117). Several hundred parents were present and clapped politely (Walsh, Lloyd Webber, p. 37), but also on that day, a representative of the music publisher Novello’s, who had been invited to the premiere by Doggett and had given it an advance listing in what was then their flagship periodical, The Musical Times (Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, pp. 279-280 – Chandler is sceptical about the account offered later in Rice, Oh, What a Circus, p. 148), offered to take on the piece, and pay £100 for it, as an educational work for schools (Lloyd Webber, ‘I owe my success to an abseiling vicar’).
The next performance took place at Westminster Central Hall, on May 12th, 1968, and involved 300 boys from Colet Court, conducted by Doggett (advert in The Musical Times, Vol. 109, No. 1503 (May 1968) p. 464. It had been organised by William Lloyd Webber, who was organist and musical director at Central Hall, and who played the organ in the performance (Hunter played the harpsichord) (Mantle, Fanfare, p. 45). The first half of the concert, attended by around two thousand people, including many parents, consisted of performances by the pianist John Lill, and both Julian and William (Citron, Sondheim and Lloyd Webber, p. 117; Lloyd Webber, ‘I owe my success to an abseiling vicar’). One boy in the choir was Nicholas Jewell, who had persuaded his father Derek Jewell, pop critic for the Sunday Times, to attend the performance (McKnight, Lloyd Webber, pp. 88-89). Jewell published an extremely positive review, which recognised the importance of Doggett’s role, the following weekend in the Sunday Times, on May 19th, 1968 (see Mantle, Fanfare, pp. 46-47, for the review; see also McKnight, Lloyd Webber, pp. 91-93, Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 282), which caused jubilation amongst all involved with the production.
Eight weeks later, a recording was being made for Decca at the studios at Abbey Road of an expanded version for augmented ensemble with solo voices (a cast consisting of Terry Saunders, David Daltrey, Malcolm Parry, Tim Rice, John Cook, Bryan Watson) and rock musicians. The twelve or so Colet Court choirboys served as a backing group, with Doggett conducting and a ‘Joseph Consortium’ with William Lloyd Webber helping out on organ, and Martin Wilcox on harpsichord; some vocal backing was provided by Andrew and Tim Rice (Mantle, Fanfare, p. 47; Citron, Sondheim and Lloyd Webber, p. 148; the recording was Scepter/Capital (S) SMAS 93738. See Jerry Osborne, Movie/TV Soundtracks and Original Cast Recordings Price and Reference Guide (Jerry Osborne: Jerry Osborne Enterprises, 2002), p. 1982; see Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, pp. 281-282 for Rice and other’s attempts to marginalise the importance of Doggett and Novello’s in this process). Jonathan Mantle points out that ‘Half the boys of Colet Court were bussed over to sit at the sides of the grand Victorian hall and make up the choruses’ (Mantle, Fanfare, p. 45), but it is not clear whether these amounted to the twelve singers he mentions, or constituted others as well. Whichever, a large percentage of boys at Colet Court in 1968 would have been involved in this performance. A further performance was given in St Paul’s Cathedral on November 9th, 1968, again with Doggett conducting, William Lloyd Webber on organ, and received a positive review by Ray Connolly in the Evening Standard (Mantle, Fanfare, p. 51; McKnight, Lloyd Webber, pp. 98-99).
But at some point in 1968, Doggett left Colet Court; the exact date is unclear but would have been soon after one of the performances of Joseph, if Gerald McKnight’s assertion that ‘Doggett’s remarkable vision was barely completed when he left the school’ (McKnight, Lloyd Webber, p. 86) is correct. Accounts differ as to the reasons of veracity thereof of his departure; Michael Walsh writes of his having ‘been let go at Colet Court, with rumors of his homosexual predilections swirling about him’ (Walsh, Lloyd Webber, p. 67), whilst Stephen Citron claims Doggett was ‘let go at Colet Court because he had sexually molested one of the choirboys’, causing his career to go into a tailspin (Citron, Sondheim and Lloyd Webber, p. 151 n. 5); whereas Mantle just says that Doggett ‘left his job at Colet Court’, though later that ‘he had left his post with the choir of Colet Court, but he had been unable to leave them alone’, leaving little doubt who ‘them’ were (Mantle, Fanfare, pp. 91, 130). Tim Rice writes in his biography, looking back at this incident from the vantage point of Doggett’s suicide in 1978, that:
The only previous time in ten years that Andrew and I had come across such rumours concerning Alan, the allegations were proven to be exactly that, as the time and place of the supposed transgression clashed precisely with a recording date at which all three of us were continually present. It has been known for young boys, and more commonly their parents, to manufacture or exaggerate incidents when they know and (understandably) disapprove of a teacher’s inclinations. (Rice, Oh, What a Circus, p. 401)
However, Rice, did not discount the possibility that the allegations which would surface ten years later were true, making clear that he was not claiming ‘that Alan was squeaky clean throughout his musical dealings with his singers’ (ibid). His successor in the position was his former assistant at the school, Ian Hunter (ibid), who would go on to present Joseph again various times at the school (McKnight, Lloyd Webber, pp. 99-100).
Doggett appears never to have had another permanent teaching position after leaving Colet Court; Michael Walsh and Michael Coveney both mention Doggett’s teaching at the City of London School at the time when Lloyd Webber and Rice wrote their short-lived musical Come Back Richard in November 1969 (from which just one title single was released by RCA that month), which Doggett conducted at the school (Walsh, Lloyd Webber, p. 59; Coveney, The Lloyd Webber Story, p. 58; see also John Snelson, Andrew Lloyd Webber, with foreword by Geoffrey Block (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004), p. 222 n. 9), but his only connection was through being invited to adjudicate the school’s Junior Music Competition in 1969 (Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 282, n. 4). Walsh also writes that Doggett ‘had caught on at another London school and then abruptly left to lead a choir called the London Boy Singers [see below]’ (Walsh, Lloyd Webber, p. 67), but without clarifying if he is again referring to the City of London School here. Doggett did however teach from August 26th to September 2nd 1969 at one of the Adult Summer Schools with concurrent Choirboys’ Courses for the Royal School of Church Music; this took place at Dean Close School, Cheltenham; fellow teachers included Geoffrey Barber, Michael English, Allen Ferns, Geoffrey Fletcher, W. J. Goodey, Richard Greening. (The Musical Times, Vol. 110, No. 1516 (June 1969), p. 561).
Doggett’s evangelism for popular music with religious themes was undiminished, however, and he published an article to that effect in 1969 (Doggett, ‘Pop here, my Lord?’, English Church Music 1969, pp. 37-40, cited in Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 278). Feeling a great pride in Joseph, Doggett advertised for ‘recruits’ in spring 1969 for a ‘mammoth school performance’ of the work, to be held in St. Paul’s, but it appears that this never took place (Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 284; this includes a reproduction of the advert).
Doggett continued to make recordings with Lloyd Webber and Rice following that of Joseph; dates here are unclear, so that it is also unclear whether what Rice refers to as ‘Alan Doggett’s boy choir’, which he dubbed ‘the Wonderschool’, was the Colet Court choir or the London Boy Singers. Recordings were made of ‘Bike’, a Syd Barrett number which had appeared on the first Pink Floyd album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967), and also of the Everly Brothers’ ‘Problems’, as well as some songs with the Mixed Bag and David Daltrey, but none of these were ever released by Decca. One which was a single featuring a solo choirboy who worked with Doggett; at present I am unclear as to the title of this song, but the B-side was a version of ‘Any Dream Will Do’, with changed lyrics, recorded in 1969 (Rice, Oh, What a Circus, p. 166).
Around Christmas of 1969, Doggett had heard what would become the theme tune for Jesus Christ Superstar, and suggested to Lloyd Webber and Rice that they might use this for a musical based upon the Daily Mail Air Race; the composers decided instead upon the theme of Christ on the cross (McKnight, Lloyd Webber, p. 109). The recording of the new work (an album which preceded stage performances) was made in 1970. Doggett once again conducted the orchestra and a children’s choir (who are unidentified on the recording), together with singers Murray Head, Ian Gillan, Yvonne Elliman, Victor Brox, Brian Keith, Johnny Gustafson, Barry Dennen and Mike D’Abo, some of whom recorded their contributions after the orchestra and choir had finished in the studio. The part of the priest was played by Paul Raven, then the name of Gary Glitter, who of course was later convicted of multiple child sexual abuse and pornography charges. The orchestra featured strings from Malcolm Henderson’s City of London Ensemble, with Alan O’Duffy as engineer (Walsh, Lloyd Webber, p. 67; Rice, Oh, What a Circus, pp. 198-199). Doggett also conducted Lloyd Webber’s first film score in 1971, for Stephen Frears’ film Gumshoe (Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 283).
But Lloyd Webber and Rice noticed that Doggett’s conducting was not really up to professional standards, and he seemed out of his depth with the more hard-rock sections of the Superstar recording, and so he was replaced first by Ian Hunter, then for the 1973 film version by André Previn (Walsh, Lloyd Webber, p. 67; Citron, Sondheim and Lloyd Webber, p. 151 n. 5; Mantle, Fanfare, p. 91).
This would not however signify the end of Doggett’s collaborations with Lloyd Webber and Rice; there was a new surge of interest in Joseph at late 1972, for which Doggett was brought back to act as musical director for a production at the Edinburgh Festival, directed by Frank Dunlop, together with some medieval mystery plays. With some changes to the lyrics, the performance of Joseph was nonetheless relatively faithful to the original Doggett production (Rice, Oh, What a Circus, p. 286). This production was then taken to the Roundhouse in London and to the Albery Theatre in the West End, and also televised and broadcast on the ITV network on December 24th, 1972, then again on December 23rd, 1973. The Albery performance was paired with a new Lloyd-Webber and Rice work, Jacob’s Journey, thus yet another premiere for Doggett (Mantle, Fanfare, pp. 95-96; Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 285).
In 1970, Doggett became Director of the St Barnabas Singers, who met on the first Sunday of each month. An advert for the choir indicated that the term’s programme would begin on October 4, including new setting of canticles written for the choir by Betty Roe. The address given was 23 Addison Road, W14. (The Musical Times, Vol. 111, No. 1532 (October 1970), p. 1050). Then, by December 1971 at the latest, Doggett was working for the London Boy Singers (LBS). This was a group founded first in 1961 in order to supply a concert boys’ choir in England, and through the enthusiasm of Benjamin Britten, who served as President. It was initially known as the Finchley Boys’ Choir, formed from the Finchley Children’s Music Group. At first the LBS was run by a Board of Governors, with Eric Walter White as chairman; during this time they performed the premieres of Britten’s King Herod and the Cock and the Twelve Apostles, both dedicated to the choir, in June 1962 in Aldeburgh. The first artistic director was John Andrewes, followed by Jonathan Steele, who was conductor from the outset. However, Steele, broke with Britten and the Governors in 1966. The choir would continue through into the 1970s, and an archive is maintained by the London Boy Singers Association (see ‘London Boy Singers Association’ for more details).
According to one account written after Doggett’s death by a writer who appeared to know Doggett and his work well, Doggett became director of the LBS as early as 1964 (Colin Ward, ‘The saving grace of worldliness’, New Society, July 9th, 1981, p. 72). This is certainly not the account given by the official pages listed above, nor does it concur with the page of archived concert programme of the Finchley Children’s Music Group, which does not mention Doggett once (but mentions Steele twice). A major concert in March 1970 was conducted by Steele (Ronald Crichton, ‘London Boys Singers. St Anne’s and St. Agnes’, Financial Times, March 23rd, 1970, p. 3).I have found no evidence of an earlier involvement of Doggett’s with the choir, so conclude that his work with them probably post-dated Britten’s involvement with them. In December 1971, he was working together with David Rose, and both of their names were given for audition forms (see The Musical Times, Vol. 112, No. 1546 (December 1971), p. 1226). Tim Rice inaccurately refers to the LBS as having been ‘the choir he [Doggett] had formed since leaving regular school employment’ (Rice, Oh, What a Circus, pp. 351-352), but it had a longer history than that. In 1973, Doggett who had at some point earlier become Associate Director, was appointed Director of the LBS in succession to Steele (Musical Opinion, Vol. 97 (1973), p. 428). In this capacity, one commentator argues that he brought the choir to international fame (Citron, Sondheim and Lloyd Webber, p. 151 n. 5). By 1975, a Paul Terry was writing to the Daily Mirror in gushing terms about the LBS, pointing out that they ‘have sung more than 210 part-songs in their concerts over the past six years – all from memory and in nine languages, including Russian, Hebrew and Welsh!’, their average age was 13½, and they were ‘just ordinary lads from schools all over London who love singing’, who had performed in as different locations as the West Country and Rome (where they had been the previous Easter) (Letter from Paul Terry, Caithness Road, London, ‘Songsters’, Daily Mirror, August 26th, 1975, p. 16).
Amongst the concerts of which there is documentary record of his conducting with the choir are one with Timothy Bond on the organ, at St. Vedast, Foster Lane, EC2, on July 11th, 1974 (The Times, June 6th, 1974, p. 7), one at the Exmouth Pavilion on August 3rd, 1975 (The Musical Times, Vol. 116, No. 1590 (Aug., 1975), p. 732), and one at St. Edmundsbury Cathedral on July 30th 1976 (The Musical Times, Vol. 117, No. 1598 (April 1976), p. 295).
Doggett also conducted a recording of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, with the City of London Ensemble, and Frankie Howerd as narrator, Polydor Carnival 2928 201 (1-25), which was reviewed in an issue of Gramophone from 1972 (p. 110). This version had been prepared by Rice, and Rice and Lloyd Webber were credited as producers on the recording (Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 283). This was not the only art music he conducted during these years; he would also conduct the UK premiere of Schoenberg’s Sonata Fragment (1941) in 1974 (Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 276, n. 1).
Doggett turned to trying to create a cantata/musical of his own along the lines of those of Lloyd Webber and Rice (perhaps, as Chandler suggests (‘Alan Doggett’, p. 284) as a way of realising his vision of a ‘mammoth school performance’ of Joseph); this would be Jason and the Golden Fleece, for which he wrote the music, and co-wrote the lyrics with the Hampstead poet Rita Ford (1931-1985); it was described as ‘A New Musical for Schools’ (Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, pp. 285-286). The work received its first concert performance at St Barnabas Church, Addison Road, London W14 (where he worked with the St Barnabas Singers mentioned above) on Wednesday June 27th, 1973, hosted by City of London Productions (Advert in The Musical Times, Vol. 114, No. 1564 (June 1973), p. 589). A choir of 250 children were involved, a combination of the LBS, the Islington Green school choir, and also a selection of ‘largely untrained children’ from St. Barnabas and St Philip’s schools, and St Peter’s school in Hammersmith (Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 286). The familial resemblances of this work to Joseph, not least in terms of both works’ use of a narrator, have been commented upon by various people, though also its weaknesses compared to the work of Lloyd Webber and Rice, both by critics at the time and later writers (see Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, pp. 285-287; Chandler is concerned to defend this work against the idea it might simply be a poor man’s Joseph). At the outset it received positive reviews from Hilary Finch and Barbara Denny, reviewing for the South Kensington News and Chelsea Post and Kensington News and Post (cited in Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 285).
The work would receive a further performance in a revised version on March 9th, 1977 at Westminster Central Hall, with large forces drawn from many London schools (Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 287). This performance, however, received a markedly downbeat review from Merion Bowen, who wrote that the work ‘was not at all edifying’ and that Doggett’s music displays little of the flair shown by Andrew Lloyd Webber and others in the same vein, and Ford’s lyrics aren’t exactly inspired’ (Merion Bowen, ‘Jason and the Golden Fleece’, The Guardian, March 10th, 1977).
Despite having been replaced for the film version of Superstar, Doggett was involved in part in the conducting duties for Lloyd Webber’s score for the 1974 film of The Odessa File (Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 283). Also, at some time in the mid-1970s, whilst Lloyd Webber and Rice were working on Evita, Rice also wrote some lyrics for a children’s album, Barbapapa, which was a spin-off from a Dutch TV series, and included Ed Stewart on the recording; Rice brought in Doggett and the LBS for the sessions (Rice, Oh, What a Circus, p. 325).
When it came to the recording of Evita in 1976 (the first production would not come until two years later, after Doggett’s death), Doggett was credited as ‘Children’s Choirmaster, Musical Coordinator (names of all the main performers can be found here); the main conductor and choir director was Anthony Bowles. Rice would later write that Doggett ‘was gently relegated to directing the London Boy Singers’ (Rice, Oh, What a Circus, pp. 351-352), though he appears to have been quite happy in his allotted role (Mantle, Fanfare, p. 116).
The end came for Doggett in early 1978. As with his leaving Colet Court, accounts differ of the actual events. Michael Walsh writes that ‘When one of the boys [of the LBS] accused Doggett of molestation – apparently the accusation was false – the conductor was arrested and, as a condition of his bail, was forbidden to have any contact with his chorus’ (Walsh, Lloyd Webber, p. 67). Stephen Citron, who as mentioned earlier reports the molestation at Colet Court as an established fact, says that on this occasion Doggett was again ‘accused of molestation – this time presumably falsely – he was forbidden to have any contact with his chorus’ (Citron, Sondheim and Lloyd Webber, p. 151 n. 5). Michael Coveney writes that Doggett ‘was still teaching and running his boys’ choirs but he was threatened with allegations about his private life and preferred not to risk public disgrace’ and that:
The tragedy is that it later emerged there was nothing on the files that was ever going to make any kind of case against him in court. Lloyd Webber remains convinced that Doggett would never have been guilty of taking advantage of any young person in his charge: ‘His main talent was in helping children to make music. He was convinced that every young person had music in him or her, and that it was never too late to stop learning. (Coveney, The Lloyd Webber Story, p. 112).
All three such writers assume either that Doggett was innocent or that the case against him would not stand up in court; Mantle on the other hand writes about ‘forbidden love’ which ‘took other, sadder forms’ and reports the ‘allegation of indecency’ right after arguing that ‘he [Doggett] had been unable to leave them alone [after leaving his post at Colet Court]’, presumably a reference to a proclivity for boys (Mantle, Fanfare, pp. 130-131). McKnight does not even seem to have registered the event, claiming that Doggett died in 1973 (McKnight, Lloyd Webber, p. 99), whereas Rice hedges from committing himself to a view of Doggett’s guilt or innocence in 1978 (unlike in 1968) (see below). Another book on Lloyd Webber by John Snelson (Snelson, Lloyd Webber) only mentions Doggett once in passing in the main text, and briefly in two endnotes, so does not consider his death at all. But in most cases the defence or denial seems beset by doubt on the parts of the authors, suggesting their verdicts may reflect what they wish to have been the case rather than necessarily what did transpire.
Doggett was due to conduct a further performance of Jason and the Golden Fleece at the Royal Albert Hall on February 23rd, with a choir of a thousand singers, entitled ‘The London Boy Singers And a Massed Choir of 1000’ who he had selected and coached, as well as many other children playing recorders and percussion, all from around 34 different schools; the performance was to be on behalf of Help the Aged. A few adult celebrities were also involved, including Ed Stewart, Ian Lavender, and Barney the Clown (‘Concert’s lost conductor’, The Guardian, 24/2/78; Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 287). An article from three years after his death (to which I will return below) mentioned that according to some press reports, police had intended to interview every one of these thousand boys (Ward, ‘The saving grace of worldliness’, p. 72).
What is clear is that after Doggett was charged on February 8th, 1978 in West London and remanded on bail of £1000, hours after which, in a depressed state, he travelled back to his birthplace of Iver, and lay down on a railroad track so as to be run over by a train (Walsh, Lloyd Webber, p. 67; Citron, Sondheim and Lloyd Webber, p. 151 n. 5; ‘Sex-case death’, Daily Mirror, February 9th, 1978, p. 3; ‘Sex case man killed’, Daily Mail, February 9th, 1978, p. 9; ‘Concert’s lost conductor’, The Guardian, February 24th, 1978). Doggett had sent handwritten suicide notes to a few friends, which were delivered a few days later (Walsh, Lloyd Webber, p. 67). One of these was to Rice, who received two envelopes, dated a week apart, upon returning from a trip to Australia, both from Doggett. The first was a plea for an opportunity to earn some royalties from work he continued to do with his boys’ choirs on Joseph; the second was the suicide note. Rice quotes part of it in his autobiography:
We all have to sail our own ship through life and this ship has capsized. No one could have helped, it was my destiny. Pray for me, my parents, family and friends. The way I have chosen, the way of the Greeks, though hard, is best. I am sorry I have not completely lived up to it. (Rice, Oh, What a Circus, p. 400).
Rice, writing about the ‘Allegations of impropriety with young boys’ which ‘had apparently surfaced (not for the first time)’, whereupon ‘Alan had been arrested and charged’, leading to his suicide (ibid), wrote the following in his autobiography:
I say ‘not for the first time’ but I cannot believe that Alan was truly a danger, or even a minor menace, to the many boys he had worked with over the years. The only previous time in ten years that Andrew and I had come across such rumours concerning Alan, the allegations were proven to be exactly that, as the time and place of the supposed transgression clashed precisely with a recording date at which all three of us were continually present. It has been known for young boys, and more commonly their parents, to manufacture or exaggerate incidents when they know and (understandably) disapprove of a teacher’s inclinations. I am certainly not saying that this was the case with the circumstances that led to Alan’s awful end, or that Alan was squeaky clean throughout his musical dealings with his singers. However I suspect that there was a lot less to the cause of his tragedy than met the eye – just enough to render him incapable of facing the humiliation and shame that he knew he had brought upon himself. It was hard for me to believe that Alan, working with boys so closely for so many years, could have got away with any such behaviour for so long without being caught and hard to speak about him at his funeral, which I readily agreed to do. He played a crucial part in Andrew’s and my success, was an excellent choirmaster, and was never less than a highly amusing and generous companion. (Rice, Oh, What a Circus, p. 401)
Lloyd Webber and Rice themselves published a ‘Tribute’ in the Evening Standard a week after Doggett’s death (February 15th, 1978, p. 25), saying that ‘[w]e ourselves owe him a great deal’ (cited in Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 277).
In the next issue of Magpie, the following text appeared:
‘Letters’ is a most acceptable way for members to express their opinions. Usually I don’t, but this time I am so shocked and distressed as a paedophile, and lover of music, that I will sound off.
On February 9th the Director of the ‘London Boys Singers’ was a troubled man. He attended the Magistrate’s Court, accused of ‘Indecency’ with a 10 year old boy.
I know none of the facts of his story, but can well imagine the innocence with which this act of love and affection had taken place.
No doubt Mr. Doggett, considering his social position, found his contact with the law enforcement people to be unacceptable to him. He was bailed, pending trial. He went to a pub and talked a while, wrote some letters to friends and relatives and then threw himself under a train.
If this man chose death as a means of protecting his beliefs towards Paedophilia, I wonder how many of those, who consider the bloody futile laws of this land to be correct and proper, would be willing to support their theories with their life?
It is of the utmost importance that Paedophiles be permitted to express themselves without oppression. It is the ONLY way to be sure that tragedies of this nature will be averted in the future.
My most sincere condolences to the members of the London Boy Singers.
Your loss is total.
Paul Andrews. (Letters, Magpie, Issue No. 10 (no date), p. 4)
Andrews was a treasurer of the Paedophile Information Exchange, at least in September 1978, when his house was raided, together with those of chairman Tom O’Carroll, secretary David Grove, and a Mr Ralph Alden (Gerard Kemp, ‘Child sex leaders raided’, Sunday Express, June 18th, 1978); Andrews had retired from this position by November 1979. He appeared in court with O’Carroll and Grove on July 26th, 1979 at Bow Street Magistrate’s Court on a charge of ‘Conspiracy to Corrupt Public Morals’ (at least as reported in Pan: A Magazine of Boy Love, Vol. 1, No. 3 (November 1979), p. 6). It is not clear from the letter whether Andrews knew Doggett personally, but the tone of the letter suggests some familiarity with the case.
The February 23rd performance of Jason and the Golden Fleece at the Royal Albert Hall became a memorial concert for Doggett. Michael Stuckey, who had worked alongside Doggett for the 1972 productions of Joseph, took over the conducting (Walsh, Lloyd Webber, p. 67; Citron, Sondheim and Lloyd Webber, p. 151 n. 5; ‘Concert’s lost conductor’, The Guardian, February 24th, 1978; Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 285). The work would also receive a further performance in 1979 at the Connaught Theatre, Worthing, with an adult cast of around 25, and with Hugh Janes, who would later obtain the rights to the work, as narrator (Chandler, ‘Alan Doggett’, p. 285).
Another article appeared in Magpie in the following issue, this time from an anonymous contributor:
A letter in Magpie 10 reported and commented on the recent suicide of Alan Doggett three weeks before he was to conduct the London Boys Choir, together with massed choirs of other children at the Albert Hall. On the night of that concert the programme contained an insert describing Alan Doggett’s years of dedicated service and paying tribute to his friendliness, integrity and loyalty.
Shortly after this date a requiem mass was said for him at the Holy Cross Priory in Leicester by the Reverend Father Michael Ingram.
On Saturday 20th May a memorial service will be held to commemorate Alan’s life and work. It will start at 3 p.m. and will be held at St. Barnabas Church, Addison Road, London, W14, taking the form of a choral evensong, performed by the London Boys Choir.
These religious functions, one Roman, the other Anglican must be seen not only as ceremonies of intercession and remembrance, but also as containing an element of protest. It would seem to be true that in today’s society religious organisations provide almost the only vehicle whereby such a protest can be made. (‘Alan Doggett – Memorial Service’, Magpie, Issue No. 11, May 1978).
Father Michael Ingram, a Dominican priest, was himself a contributor to multiple issues of Magpie (see my other blogs for some examples of this), writing amongst other things about his supposed counselling of young boys over their sexual hang-ups and difficulties with their parents. He was found guilty in August 2000 of sexual offences, including one serious sexual offence, one offence of gross indecency, and four of indecent assault, against six boys committed between 1971 and 1978 (‘Former priest guilty of sex abuse’, The Tablet, August 19th, 2000, p. 26). A series of reports from the trial in the Leicester Mercury (from July 31st to August 15th, 2000, covering the course of the trial) detailed the awful events and traumatic experiences of Ingram’s victims as revealed in court, and how Ingram preyed upon those from under-privileged families and broken homes, some of them referred to him by social services. Ingram would also encourage boys to compete for his attentions and affection, especially on holiday trips. A letter to The Tablet in 2012 (Ingram had died in 2000) spoke of Ingram’s involvement with PIE, and also contribution to the book The Betrayal of Youth; Radical perspectives on childhood sexuality, intergenerational sex, and the social oppression of children and young people, edited Warren Middleton (London: CL Publications, 1986) (Middleton was a PIE Executive Committee member and former editor of Understanding Paedophilia – see my blog post here for samples from this publication), which featured many essays from individuals connected to PIE (and by feminist writer Beatrice Faust and gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell – see here for a list of contents and quotes). Nurse was surprised that despite the openness with which Ingram expressed his views on the desirability of sexual relationships between adults and children, he was still ‘remained in active ministry and was permitted to work with vulnerable and disadvantaged children’ (Richard Scorer, ‘Turning a blind eye’, The Tablet, November 10th, 2012, pp. 18-19).
Over three years after Doggett’s death, an article in New Society looking back at his plight also bears consideration, and suggests the author knew Doggett and more about the situation than he is revealing. This author was Colin Ward (1924-2010), a writer for anarchist publications, noted for an important book The Child in the City (London: The Architectural Place, 1977) (for more details on Ward, see Ken Worpole, ‘Colin Ward obituary’, The Guardian, February 22nd, 2010). Ward’s article is worth quoting from in detail, and is quite shocking by contemporary standards:
Chaps in pubs and clubs nod sagely at the mention of schoolmasters, scoutmaster and choirmasters. We all know what motivates them. It’s a bit embarrassing, to say the least, for all those people in these occupations whose devoted service is untinged by sexual attraction, but the stereotype exists and is quite often true.
Every now and then someone breaks ranks and points out (as the therapist Dr Richard Hauser did, to the accompaniment of a chorus of parliamentary questions) that if there were some machine for screening out those with a sexual attraction towards children, the caring professions would lose their most valuable people).
But publicly we brush aside ordinary wordly truths taken for granted by the chaps in pubs and clubs, or, worse, treat them as sudden terrible revelations. The recent moral crusade against paedophiles in the United States has led to all sorts of worthy people abandoning their voluntary activities in the boy scouts or in the Big Brother organisation (of adult males befriending boys from fatherless families) for fear of being identified with them.
It is interesting to see that the homosexual lobby there is sufficiently self-assured to fight back and to defend in the courts the right of its own paedophile minority to be scout leaders or Big Brothers, just as it is encouraging to read that the city authorities in Amsterdam have allowed a known paedophile – with a prison sentence behind him – to adopt a troublesome 13 year old boy from a children’s home. To harness people’s wayward and personal predilections to a socially desirable end is a mark, not of irresponsibility, but of civilisation. (Paeophilia, it is worth repeating, means the attraction of men towards boys. It’s pederasty when it turns into sexual activity.)
[……..]If Lewis Carroll had been born 100 years later, he, with his delight in taking nude photographs of his little girl friends, would find himself in the dock at the Old Bailey, charged under the Protection of Children Act, 1978.
Consider the cases of two choirmasters. Years ago, a celebrated college director of music (now dead) appeared before a private university court following charges that he had molested a choirboy. He was reprimanded and went back to his honoured place at High Table and to his work with the choir he had made world-famous. Contrast his experience with that of Alan Doggett. If you know Doggett’s name it is because you saw it on the record sleeve of Evita, where he is described as musical coordinator, though he did not live to see the stage production. He was found dead on a railway line three years ago.
On the very day that the coroner pronounced a verdict of suicide, he was to have conducted at the Albert Hall, a charity performance of his “pop extravaganza,” Jason and the Golden Fleece, with a thousand schoolboy singers and instrumentalists. He was a music teacher who had commissioned from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, then in their teens, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as a school opera. Later he was their musical director for Jesus Christ, Superstar. In 1964 [probably an erroneous date] he had become the director of the London Boy Singers, an ensemble founded at the instigation of Benjamin Britten in 1961. Everyone in the musical world paid tribute to his immense energy and his inspired teaching.
The day after his death, friends received through the post a note from him which said, “We all have to sail our own ship through life, and this ship has now capsized. No one could have helped. It was my destiny.” On the day of his death, he had been committed for trial on a charge of committing an act of indecency with a minor. According to the press, the police had intended to interview each of the thousand boys in the Albert Hall production.
I know young men who were members of that choir and who remember Alan Doggett with immense gratitude and respect. I have myself a family of young musicians, who, if any unexpected extra-musical experiences came their way, were sensible enough to handle them in their own way and keep quiet about them.
What is absolutely appalling is the degree of retribution exacted by the community for minor indiscretions which have been going on, as we all know, since the days of the ancient Greeks. In common, I imagine, with many readers of this journal (though only Tailgunner Parkinson, who is always ready to stick his neck out, spoke up for him), I reacted with horror and unbelief at the two-year sentence passed on Tom O’Carroll, after a re-trial.
He was found guilty, you will recall, under one of those obsolete statues which have to be dug up on these occasions, of “corrupting public morals” by publishing the information bulletin of the Paedophile Information Exchange. There was no evidence that he had committed any offence against any child. (The only charge of this nature against him was withdrawn last month and he was awarded costs).
[….More on O’Carroll and Paedophilia: the radical case…. – this awful publication can be found complete online here]
Another court case, involving incest, followed by the murder of a father by his daughter, which was reported on the same day as the result of the PIE trial, presents the other side of the argument. Statistically, the commonest known form of child-adult sexual activity is father-daughter incest. The enormous publicity given to cases of the sexual murder of children shouldn’t blind us to the fact that such instances are no more typical of the paedophiliac scene than rape-and-murder is characteristic of ordinary sex.
Of the millions of grams of sexual fluids ejaculated every night, most are expended in socially harmless ways, and, in spite of Roman Catholic teaching, not many of them are involved in the reproduction of our race: something for which we should all be thankful. But are we really so worried if some boy in the summer camp is masturbating with the youth club leader, instead of by himself? Don’t we all know that the investigation of the offence is ten times as traumatic as the actual experience itself?
[….More on O’Carroll….]
What really touched me about his [O’Carroll’s] book was the way he quoted his glowing testimonials as a teacher. I am sure that he is a marvellous teacher and that this is a by-product of his sexual inclinations. But this has not saved him, or hundreds of other men like him, from the horrors of a jail sentence on this kind of charge. The Department of Education has a blacklist, which we aren’t entitled to see, on which his name must be underlined.
Yet if we delve into personal memories, we find that innumerable experiences with people like him, far from involving any kind of violence or painful physical penetration, have simply been an aspect of growing up. I can remember the fumbling fondlings of a PE teacher as flattering, rather than terrifying. My wife remembers the attentions of a beloved teacher as yet another initiation into the joys of sex.
Here, as in so many other aspects of social life, there is a fantastic gap between what we all know to be true and our accepted public attitudes. Something we can learn from those old gents in pubs and clubs is the saving grace of worldliness.
This is common of the type of language, rhetoric and ideological assumptions which permeate pro-paedophile discourse. It portrays paedophilia as natural amongst those in the teaching or caring professions, makes any other view out as being akin to a witch-hunt, advocates ‘keeping quiet’ as the only ‘sensible’ response on the part of children, attempts to legitimise the practice by reference to historical figures (and the ancient Greeks), appropriates gay liberation towards its own ends, evokes the cultured (in this case musical) aspects of paedophiles, justifies masturbation of minors, claims that to investigate such offences is worse than the offences themselves, and betrays a type of Stockholm syndrome when speaking of one’s own experiences of sexual abuse. And it is most telling that the only two names who Ward discusses in detail are Doggett and O’Carroll.
Various accounts of Doggett’s character help to complete the picture. Jonathan Mantle shows the awkwardness of ‘the prematurely balding Doggett with his thick black spectacles and his vulnerability to mockery’ which contrasted strongly with the ‘mop-haired, feminine looking youth whose facial hair seemed to be concentrated in a pair of thick, black eyebrows which rose and fell incessantly’ of Lloyd Webber (Mantle, Fanfare, p. 42). Mantle also writes:
Doggett was a split personality: outwardly a charming, witty man, a competent keyboard player and arranger and a highly successful architect of the Colet Court choir, but inwardly a nervy, intense homosexual of unhappy inclinations which would eventually destroy him. He had taken a shine to Andrew at an early age and became his self-appointed musical minder, making sure the young composer’s phenomenal aptitude for tunes was translated into music whose time signature always worked and bars added up correctly. (Mantle, Fanfare, pp. 30-31)
He further suggests that Ian Hunter, whilst appreciating deeply what Doggett was able to do for the Colet Court choir, had ‘few illusions about the more volatile aspects of his personality’ (Mantle, Fanfare, pp. 42-43); McKnight quotes Hunter as saying that Doggett ‘was not very brilliant musically’, but had a great ‘ability to communicate with kids’ (McKnight, Lloyd Webber, p. 86).
Gerald McKnight refers to Doggett as ‘a sad, pathetically mixed-up man in private life’, though ‘his passion for music endeared him to Dr and Mrs Lloyd Webber’, who the composers regularly ragged, using instructions such as ‘With un-Doggett-like expression!’ and ‘Doggett Mobbed!’ (McKnight, Lloyd Webber, pp. 85, 99).
Mantle points out however how central a part of Lloyd Webber’s social circle was Doggett (together with David Crewe-Read, Gray Watson, Bridget (Biddy) Hayward and Jamie Muir), whilst implying that Doggett’s place in this circle depended upon ‘past glories’; in his later work with Lloyd Webber, according to Mantle, he came to ‘ look more and more like a man who had been left behind’ (Mantle, Fanfare, pp. 117-118, 131).
The second Magpie article, with its reference to the two religious services ‘containing an element of protest’ and how ‘religious organisations provide almost the only vehicle whereby such a protest can be made’, is ominous, and suggests a deeper knowledge of Doggett and his activities. The inquest found that Doggett had only written two letters, which he had posted from Paddington Station on the evening he died – one to his sitter and the other to a clergyman (‘Concert’s lost conductor’, The Guardian, February 24th, 1978; this article dates the inquest as taking place three weeks previously, but this is impossible because of the date of Doggett’s death) (there was no mention of the letter to Rice). Who was the clergyman in question?
Otherwise, the article by Colin Ward, the fact of their having been two different pieces on Doggett in Magpie, and the fact that in all of these cases the language is quite typical of paedophile parlance (especially in PIE publications), combined with the varying accounts of Doggett’s having been caught or at least accused of molestation in both 1968 and 1978, certainly indicate that more information is needed to establish the truth. It is possible that these writers simply wish to appropriate Doggett for their own ideological purposes, without implying that he had any direct connection with their activities, and possible that the accusations against Doggett were indeed unfounded – I would be wholly opposed to ruling out this option on principle. However, one must also consider the fact that Doggett was indeed a fully paid-up member of PIE. As many members of PIE have been implicated in international child abuse and pornography networks, as well as rings of abusers, the implications are extremely disturbing for one who worked with such a range of children. It is time to find out the truth about this.
Doggett’s story is tragic, and he undoubtedly needed help and support such as might have avoided involvement with the dark world of PIE instead. But the potential tragedy for many who worked with him, and how this all might supply further important information about the workings of PIE and its involvement with abuse networks, remains the important question today. At the time of David Chandler’s article in 2012, Ian Hunter was certainly still alive; others interviewed included Roger Ford (husband of the late Rita), and Julian Lloyd Webber. There were literally thousands of boys who worked with Doggett (who would be in their 50s and 60s at the time of writing), so many who could shed further light onto what exactly went on, not to mention the many other musicians who worked with him, and others mentioned in this article. I appeal to those who knew Doggett to help to establish the truth about his activities (which may be wholly or mostly innocent) once and for all.
Anyone wishing to speak under conditions of complete confidentiality is welcome to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org , and I can give advice regarding what to do with any information.