The NCROPA Virtual Archive - Dramatis Personæ (1976-2014)

The following listing includes organisations and literary references as well as people. I have linked to it throughout as appropriate to assist the casual reader (and dare I say later generations?) with their researches.

Adult Industry Trade Association. According to Companies House, the AITA was incorporated January 31, 2002 and dissolved November 5, 2013. This screengrab is from the Companies House website. Here is a blog entry relating to its demise.

BARRIE, ALEXANDER: A member of the NCROPA Committee. Most definitely not to be confused with Alexander Baron, he served with the RAF becoming a professional author writing among other things a standard work on this history of the First World War: War Underground: The Tunnellers Of The Great War.

Blasphemous libel trial - see Gay News

Bogdanov, Michael: Director of The Romans In Britain.

Brick, Bernard: An early NCROPA Committee member. This information is taken from the Appendix to the NCROPA Evidence To The Committee On Obscenity And Film Censorship, (April 1978).

Campaign Against Censorship: The sister organisation of NCROPA with which it had an overlapping membership.

Defence of Literature and the Arts Society: The forerunner of CAC.

Feminists Against Censorship was founded in 1989. There is correspondence between FAC and NCROPA in this archive. Some of their publications can be found on this dedicated page.

Forum: A sex magazine, but a very different kind. This is a semi-academic journal that deals with sexual issues thoughtfully.

FOWLER, PROFESSOR GERALD (1935-93): NCROPA Committee member Gerald Teasdale (Gerry) Fowler served two terms as a Labour MP during which time he served as a Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Technology, and - from 1969-70 - as Minister of State for Education. From 1974-6 he was Minister of State for the Privy Council Office in addition to his academic career. This information is taken from the Appendix to the NCROPA Evidence To The Committee On Obscenity And Film Censorship, (April 1978). A founder member of the NCROPA Committee, he remarried in 1982, and was among other things Rector of the Polytechnic of East London from 1982 to 1992.

FREUD, CLEMENT (1924-2009): The grandson of Sigmund Freud, celebrity chef turned MP, Sir Clement Raphael Freud was at one time best known as the lugubrious owner of Henry, a dog that partnered him in dog food commercials. He was an early member of NCROPA but resigned because David Webb opposed the Protection Of Children Bill which outlawed the mere possession of indecent (as opposed to obscene) photographs of minors. The ludicrous Julia Somerville affair of 1995 indicates that Webb had a point.

GABB, SEAN: Conservative Gabb was invited to join the NCROPA Committee by David Webb in March 1993 and accepted two days later. NCROPA webmaster since December 1998, he has been Britain’s leading Libertarian since 2006 on the death of his close friend Chris Tame.

Gay News (1972-83): This thankfully defunct fortnightly homosexual newspaper was founded in London, and in 1976 became embroiled in a controversy over its publication of the blasphemous poem The Love That Dares To Speak Its Name. This resulted in the conviction of the newspaper and its Editor, Denis Lemon (who died of AIDS in 1994). This prosecution, the last such ever in the UK, was initiated by Mrs Mary Whitehouse.

Gay’s The Word - see under NONCYP LTD.

GOODFELLOW, ELIZABETH: NCROPA Committee member.

GOODMAN, E.A.C: As well as Legal Adviser to NCROPA, Edward Anthony Charles (Ted) Goodman was a Reigate Labour Councillor for twelve years, and a failed Labour Party General Election Candidate. He is Chairman of the Campaign Against Censorship, and became Acting Director of NCROPA on the death of its founder in June 2012. He is co-author - with Terence Duquesne - of Britain: An Unfree Country.

This information is taken from the Appendix to the NCROPA Evidence To The Committee On Obscenity And Film Censorship, (April 1978). Ted Goodman was appointed by David Webb as his Executor, and has carried out his last wishes faithfully. He was the inspiration for this website, and a lot more information about him can be found all over it.

HANLEY, CLIFFORD: This information about NCROPA Committee member Clifford Hanley is taken from the Appendix to the NCROPA Evidence To The Committee On Obscenity And Film Censorship, (April 1978).

Houghton, Lord Douglas: According to E.A.C. Goodman, Lord Houghton of Sowerby was an ardent supporter of both NCROPA and the Campaign Against Censorship. Correspondence to and from him can be found herein. This is his obituary from the New Humanist magazine.

Also according to Goodman, the Campaign Against Censorship latter organised a 90th birthday reception in his honour. He was a vehement opponent of increased censorship, opposing the Video Recordings Act, 1986 in the House of Lords, stating that the terms meant that if he loaned a video recording to his neighbour in exchange for using the latter’s lawn mower, he would be committing a criminal offence if the video had not been passed by the British Board of Film Censors (as it then was) because any commercial advantage was caught by the wording of the Act!

Imbert, Sir Peter: The Police Commissioner 1987-92 was one of many of the great and the good who earned the ire of David Webb over the years. In addition to the case David Webb fought against HM Customs was a complaint he brought against the Metropolitan Police. Although far less voluminous than the customs case files and papers, the separate file allotted to it contains a fair number of documents. This file has not been scanned, although there are some documents in the regular files which allude to the complaint. I have excluded said file because in my humble opinion the documents therein were not and are not relevant to the struggle against censorship. The same can be said of the correspondence Mr Webb entered into with certain senior police officers relating to boxing matches and consensual assaults over the Spanner Case. These latter though have a certain humour as well as novelty value. His beef with the police, one police officer in particular, does not.

Itzin, Catherine: Catherine Lenore Itzin (1944-2010) was a loony feminist who managed to insinuate herself onto the board of the NCCL. This did not wear well with David Webb.

KENNINGTON, DAVID: A member of the NCROPA Committee, he was a former theatrical manager.

Kirkup poem - see Gay News.

KOPROWSKI, ISABEL: Editor of the sex magazine Forum and a member of the NCROPA Committee.

MANSON, PAMELA: The television actress Pamela Manson (1928–1988) was a member of the NCROPA Committee. This is her obituary from Equity Journal, AGM Special, 1988. This information is taken from the Appendix to the NCROPA Evidence To The Committee On Obscenity And Film Censorship, (April 1978).

MILLER, ERIC: This affable fellow was a founder member of the NCROPA Committee, on which he served until his death; he was also Membership Secretary. In the early days had a number of letters published under its aegis. This information is taken from the Appendix to the NCROPA Evidence To The Committee On Obscenity And Film Censorship, (April 1978). He was an admitted user of pornography. He died in 1998.

During the Second World War he served in the Territorial Army, later becoming an insurance broker.

N.C.R.O.P.A. - see NCROPA.

National Viewers And Listeners Association: An organisation founded by Mary Whitehouse.

NCCL: Founded in 1934, the National Council for Civil Liberties is nowadays usually known simply as Liberty.

NCROPA: Launched by the actor David Webb on April 29, 1976 as the National Campaign for the Repeal of the Obscene Publications Acts, its title was amended shortly to the National Campaign for the Reform of the Obscene Publications Acts, a small but significant change.

NCROPA Committee: Membership of this was by invitation but was restricted to people who did not have a financial interest in the reform of Britain's Draconian censorship laws, including publishers, thus while David Sullivan was a generous contributor to the organisation, he could not influence its policy.

The membership of the Committee fluctuated over the years, but it included David Webb and E.A.C. Goodman (the bedrock) and the following:

Alexander Barrie; Bernard Brick; Gerald Fowler; Sean Gabb; Elizabeth Goodfellow; Clifford Hanley; David Kennington; Isabel Koprowski; Pamela Manson; Eric Miller; Viscount Norwich; Tuppy Owens; Christine Pickard; Brian Richards; Philip Stokes; William J. Wright.

Much of the information relating to Committee members came from E.A.C. Goodman, so caveat emptor.

More information can be found under the entries for individual members.

NONCYP LIMITED: The holding company of Gay’s The Word, a major retailer of queer porn. In 1984 it was targeted by HM Customs which led to the Defend Gay’s The Word campaign.

NORWICH, LORD: This information about Viscount Norwich is taken from the Appendix to the NCROPA Evidence To The Committee On Obscenity And Film Censorship, (April 1978).

OWENS, TUPPY: Miss Owens joined the NCROPA Committee in December 1990; her main work has been been with the disabled and socially excluded, with a focus on their sex lives.

PICKARD, CHRISTINE: Dr Pickard is a medical doctor and was a founder member of the NCROPA Committee. She was also at one point Medical Adviser to Thames Television.

RICHARDS, DR BRIAN: Also known as Dick Richards, he was a member of the NCROPA Committee, and as a rejuvenation therapist he had a professional interest in sex. However, in 1984 he was convicted by a Los Angeles court of soliciting the murder of colleague for which he received a remarkably light sentence. He resigned from the Committee in December the following year.

Rushdie, Salman: The apostate Moslem whose book The Satanic Verses caused an international furore.

Siddiqui, Kalim: Islamic activist Dr Kalim Siddiqui, Ph.D. (1931-96) was the founder of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain. He supported the February 1989 fatwa issued against the apostate Salman Rushdie by the Ayatollah Khomeini, which is where David Webb came in!

Spanner case: This was a high profile and somewhat controversial prosecution which resulted in the conviction of 16 homosexuals for engaging in consensual sado-masochistic activity. There is a website dedicated solely to it. David Webb was sufficiently outraged to contact a number of police forces to lay informations against men engaged in another type of consenting sado-masochistic activity: boxing!

Here is a 1993 leaflet issued by the Spanner campaigners, one of many documents related to this case I found in the NCROPA files.

Stein, Basil (circa 1928-2012): An ordinary member of NCROPA, he was also a member of CAC, of which eventually he became a committee member. This short obituary appeared in a local Labour Party newsletter.

See also the entry for David Webb below and the CAC obituary for both men.

Sullivan, David: Publisher of the Sport newspaper.

Taha, Mark: The one and only. Several published letters by Mark were found in NCROPA files, including this one.

The Romans In Britain: A notorious play that attracted a great deal of attention from the anti-censorship lobby.

The Viewer And Listener: The quarterly magazine of the National Viewers and Listeners Association. A few copies of the magazine were found in NCROPA files and have been scanned for this site.

WATERFIELD, DAVID: According to E.A.C. Goodman: “David Waterfield was a pornographer (cinema club proprietor) and ordinary member of NCROPA. He could not serve on its Committee because no-one with a financial interest in obscenity law reform was eligible. His present status can be investigated by you better than by me ! I believe he is still in the porn business.” Regarding his present status, here is an article from January 2007.

WEBB, DAVID ALEC: David Webb (1931-2012) was the founder of NCROPA and until his death the man who ran it.

The December 2013 issue of the Campaign Against Censorship Newsletter, News Series No. 6 came through by door on November 26, 2013. On page 3 are belated obituaries for David Webb and Basil Stein (see above).

Whitehouse, Constance Mary (née Hutcheson): Known as Mrs Mary Whitehouse, Mary Whitehouse or simply Mrs Whitehouse, this campaigning housewife was a major figure in what might be called the UK Christian censorship movement from the mid-1960s until her death in 2001 at the age of 91. It is no exaggeration to say that David Webb regarded her as the embodiment of evil on Earth. She was one of the people responsible for the moral panic in the 1980s/90s over snuff films. One of her none too subtle and totally dishonest semantic tricks was to associate child pornography with the sort of pornography that can now be found on the top shelf of every newsagent shop. She did though succeed in mounting a successful prosecution for blasphemous libel, the last one ever in the UK.

Williams Report: A 1979 White Paper on obscenity and film censorship. NCROPA testified to the Williams Committee.

WRIGHT, WILLIAM J: A founder member of the NCROPA Committee, Mr Wright resigned when he moved to The Netherlands where he worked in films.

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