Arriving at Shirley Oaks in 1966, acclaimed author Alex Wheatle was one of the victims that suffered abuse in the care home. Alex was sexually abused by the children's home doctor which he believes was part of a targeted network of abusers who operated in the same south London children's homes. In The Mirror he wrote "I'm convinced there was a paedophile ring operating in both South Vale and Shirley Oaks and that the authorities knew about it at the time but did nothing".




15 year old Peter Davis, a young white boy with a timid but beautiful personality, was repeatedly raped along with his sibling. At the young tender age of 12, he was the chief witness in a court case where he gave evidence in regards to his sibling's rape. Three years later Peter was found dead in a toilet at Shirley Oaks.  The coroner's report states, 'death by misadventure whilst experimenting'. Over 30 years later we discover that one convicted and one suspected paedophile were operating in Shirley Oaks and were visiting Peter's home. This suggests his death was not accidental. The SOSA are determined to get justice for Peter and for the truth to be told about his death.




A 15 year old disabled girl who was in the short stay Ivy House in Shirley Oaks was sexually abused whilst in the care of Lambeth. She had previously told her mother about a man forcing her into sexual actions but the home took no action. When her parents asked for her file, Lambeth's social services director at the time said that it couldn't be shown as the files contained potentially defamatory statements about members of staff.




A young girl was found in a shed in one of the 52 houses situated on the Shirley Oaks site. She had been sexually abused by her house parents and had been left there on her own in the dark. What was Lambeths response? They simply moved the house parents on and we believe they then worked in other children's homes. 





William Hook was a swimming instructor who worked at Shirley Oaks from 1970 to 1979. He was a prolific paedophile that wormed his way into one of the houses and mainly targeted young boys. To date we have tracked down boys from 5 separate houses that were abused by Hook which means he must have had accomplices. We believe one of these victims was Peter Davis and there is growing evidence that he could have groomed over 50 boys in the time he was at Shirley Oaks.




Geoff Clark worked at Lambeth Council and he was invited down to Shirley Oaks by one of the house parents. Under the pretence of being a volunteer, he went on to abuse many children at Shirley Oaks. More disturbingly he also freelanced in South Vale and Chevington children's homes where he continued to abuse boys. We believe he may have abused more than 30 south London boys. Clark had forged relationships with other abusers and also interacted with William Hook. 




Operation Middleton was the Police investigation into sexual abuse in south London children's homes and  identified 20 children's homes where paedophiles were said to be operating. 5 years later, after spending millions  of tax payers' money,  they made 3 convictions. 2 of these were due to evidence from other Police forces. Their final report stated that 16 paedophiles died before or during their operation, in 11 cases the CPS took no further action and in 19 cases they couldn't find the alledged paedophiles.




Urban Concepts have been given many more accounts of sexual, physical and mental abuse in children's homes with many people waiting to give their testimonies. By the time we've documented the remaining names we hope Lambeth Council will not only publicly appologise and accept the part they played in destroying peoples lives, but also hope they will finally open the 100 year order on the Shirley Oaks files so we can discover the true extent of their culpability.









Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA) | +44 (0)207 701 9950