British Home Office concerns over lesbianism, gallows and Great Train Robber

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Files declassified by the National Archives in London reveal the Home Office decided not to ban a book on female sexuality in the 1930s because it would create too much publicity. Officials in 1935 did not prevent the publication of The Single Woman and Her Emotional Problems as a ban on a similar book in the 1920s made it so popular. Home Office official E H Tindal-Atkinson stated in 1935 papers:"If the object of suppression is to prevent women getting to know that these practices exist and adopting them, then there is no doubt that the object would be defeated by prosecution and its attendant publicity."

Another book on abortion and seduction, We Have Been Warned by Naomi Mitchison, was a ‘pornographic concoction’ compared to the ‘innocent pastoral’ Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D H Lawrence. Other files show that ministers opposed allowing television cameras into the House of Commons in the 1960s as it might encourage MPs to become ‘TV performers’. Another batch of documents relates to Scotland Yard’s failure to arrest Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs in Brazil in 1974 and other released files relate to Home Office concerns over design flaws in Britain’s gallows.

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