Dominic Sandbrook

Streets of Shame

Capital Affairs: London and the Making of the Permissive Society


Yale University Press 508pp £25 order from our bookshop

In August 1953, the social column of The Times announced the engagement of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu to Anne Gage, a major’s daughter from Bridgnorth. The self-consciously suave and sophisticated Montagu was the quintessential man-about-town, educated at Eton and Oxford, a former Grenadier Guardsman who was no stranger to the gossip columns. But when his name reappeared in the newspaper just three months later, it was in a very different context. Arrested and charged with ‘serious offences’ against two Boy Scouts on his Hampshire estate, Montagu escaped when the trial returned no clear verdict. In January 1954, however, he was in the dock again, charged alongside two upper-class friends, Peter Wildeblood and Michael Pitt-Rivers, with indecency against two RAF servicemen. This time he was found guilty, and was sent down for twelve months.

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