Michael Pitt-Rivers

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Daily Mirror, March 25 1954 “The Montagu Case”

Major Michael Augustus Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers (27 May 1917 – December 1999) was the cousin of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and great grandson of Lt-Gen A H Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers whose ethnographic collection formed the basis of the Pitt-Rivers collection at the museum in Oxford. He was convicted of 'conspiracy to incite certain male persons to commit serious offences with male persons' or buggery in the 1954 trial with Beaulieu and Peter Wildeblood. Pitt-Rivers and Wildeblood were sentenced to 18 months in prison, Beaulieu for 12 months.

The prosecution provoked a wave of sympathy from the Press and the public, many of whom felt it amounted to little more than an unedifying witch-hunt. It was the first time since Oscar Wilde in 1895 that this law had led to a conviction[1]. The case led eventually to the Wolfenden Report, which in 1957 recommended the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the United Kingdom.

Modern references

Lord Beaulieu’s story is told in the Channel 4 documentary A Very British Sex Scandal.


  1. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-468385/Lord-Montagu-court-case-ended-legal-persecution-homosexuals.html