Fair Play amusement arcade, Islington – John Norman Foss and Leslie Loates

Several children were abducted from the Fair Play amusement arcade in Holloway (London Borough of Islington) in the mid-1980s. “Regular customer” John Norman Foss, was jailed after he abducted an 11 year old boy from Fair Play, and the arcade owner Leslie Loates was jailed after abducting two 12 year old girls.

Islington Gazette, 22nd February 1985


John Norman Foss was convicted in Greece in 2008 for similar offences against young boys. Although he was sentenced to a 15 years in jail, it has been reported here that he was released earlier this year.

Associated Press, 26th August 2008

A Greek court convicted a British man on Wednesday of molesting a boy and attempting to molest another, and sentenced him to 15 years in prison.
John Norman Hardy Foss, 66, was arrested in July 2006 in the northern town of Katerini after locals told police they had seen him repeatedly pick up children in his car. He spent 17 months in jail before being released on bail before his trial.
The court in the northern city of Thessaloniki convicted him of molesting an 11-year-old boy and of attempting to molest a 12-year-old boy.
The time he spent in pretrial detention will count toward his sentence.
Foss had been living in Katerini for several years, where he was teaching English in private lessons, Greek authorities said, adding that neither of the boys involved in the case were his students

Islington Gazette, 11th January 1985

IG110185Islington Gazette, 18th January 1985





  1. Troyhand said:


    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Hello. I am John Foss, and I live in Athens, in the shadow of the Akropolis.

    I was educated at Harrow School, The Royal College of Music (where I studied the organ with Ralph Downes, winning the Walford Davies prize for organ performance (Vierne’s 2nd Symphony) and singing with Hervey Alan), and the Universities of Grenoble and London(The Institute of Education). My interests include music, in particular the pipe organ, painting, photography, writing, food, travel in general and trains in particular, history, teaching and cats. I have contributed to Wiki articles on Greek Trains, The Battle of Pydna, Dion (the village, municipality and Archaeological site in Greece) Leon Heuzey and Harrow School. I have given concerts in venues ranging from the Royal Festival Hall in London (Poulenc’s Concerto)Neidaros Cathedral, Norway, The Kaiser Wilhelm Gedacktnis Kirche,Berlin (the Berlin Bach Festival) in a programme of English music, Melk Abbey,Austria, and tours of Australia, Europe and the U.K. A website, written by my Greek students in English, is The English Times of Katerini http ://www.musesnet.gr/etimes/ and a Blog http ://harfo32.blogspot.com / which combines poetry, art, photography and opinions, both mine and those of others.

    The Photo was taken at the organ of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne during a recital tour in 2004.

    This page was last modified on 7 December 2012 at 09:33.

  2. Troyhand said:


    John foss
    teacher at Self Employed
    Greece Higher Education

    teacher at Self Employed (Sole Proprietorship)

    Director at Grant,Degens and Bradbeer
    Assistant to Senior Partner at Deloitte

    Institut national polytechnique de Grenoble

    Self Employed (Sole Proprietorship)
    Sole Proprietorship; Myself Only; Higher Education industry
    January 1960 – Present (54 years 5 months)
    Motivator, thought provoker, steering students in the right direction, example and passing on inherited techniques

    Grant,Degens and Bradbeer
    September 1975 – October 1988 (13 years 2 months) Now retired
    Influential Organ Building Firm of the 60’s. Major instruments include New College, Oxford, Lyons Concert Hall, York University, Aldenham College, Cranleigh School, The Palace of Westminster, Fulham Priory, The Eton College mission church of St Mary, Hackney, London and others.

    Assistant to Senior Partner
    Privately Held; 10,001+ employees; Management Consulting industry
    January 1962 – September 1967 (5 years 9 months)
    ***Count the Gold Bars in the Bank of England***, check accuracy of clients’ accounts, prepare profit and loss accounts and balance sheets and other responsible but totally boring tasks.

  3. Troyhand said:


    John Foss subscribed to a channel

    John Foss replied to a comment from pax41
    Have you got any of Gerald Shaw at the 5 manual Compton in the Odeon Leicester Square? Two other organs I played at were the Swiss Cottage Odeon (Compton 3 manual + Melotone) some of which is in the beautifully rebuilt organ in Malvern Town Hall, Melbourne, Australia – I gave a concert there in 2004 – and the 4 manual Compton in the Gaumont Camden Town? The auditorium acoustics gave this magnificent instrument a truly fabulous sound!
    Terence Casey was house organist here!
    …Jesse Crawford— Blue Skies
    •by pax41
    •4 years ago

    John Foss and 253 others liked
    THE FOOL KILLER (1965) Anthony Perkins hears the tale of the Killer * Folktale
    by TaylorHamKid
    •3 years ago

    John Foss commented
    Sitting here in my living room by the sea in Athens listening to this “historic” recording with some Greek friends and their children, they were fascinated that one of their “:Laiki” – literally Folk Song – had made the journey to London! I loved the original London production and insisted on being taken twice,…
    …Flanders & Swann – Kokoraki.wmv
    •by agapanthos3
    •3 years ago

  4. Troyhand said:

    Keep Talking Greece

    10,000 Fake Pensioners Exploit Greek Social Insurance Funds

    One may pose right away the question:: only 10,000 fraudsters have been exploiting the money of debt-ridden, Greek social insurance funds? According to Greek media, the 7,500 fake pensioners have been illegally receiving money from the country’s biggest insurance fund IKA. Further 1,014 fraud case have been revealed at the Farmers’ Fund, OGA. And some 5,000 foreigners had been also illegally getting money summed up from other people’s pension contributions.

    john foss says:
    August 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm
    I am now over 70, have had a heart attack and a stroke but as a result of this excrement defrauding the pension funds there is not enough money to pay for a carer, to which I would be entitled, having paid my pension contributions throughout my life. Yes 1,2,3,4 is too good for this sh*t. ***The firing squad would be more appropriate.*** [Agreed]

    john foss says:
    August 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm
    I agree. Public hanging might be a bit extreme and ***name and shame*** would be appropriate. [Done.]

  5. Troyhand said:

    [Did he even go to jail in Greece or was he out in 2 or 3 years?]



    John Foss
    Lives in Thessaloniki, Greece

    John Foss

    Organ Recitals for 2004
    St Andrew’s Cathedral
    George Street, Sydney – next to Town Hall

    September recital programs
    Sept 03 John Foss (Mount Olympus, Greece)

  6. Troyhand said:


    Subject: Re: St John’s Holland Road and other things
    From: “John Foss”
    Date: Sat, 18 Dec 2004 22:30:11 +0200

    Dear List,
    It’s nice to have time at the weekend to read the posts in more detail and there certainly are plenty of them! St John’s Holland Road is a wonderful building – and I had a feeling it was Henry Willis III – but in view of Colin Mitchell’s hardly complimentary remarks on poor old HW the Third I thought I’d wait. It was the venue of one of the three most magical
    recitals. I have ever been to – Bob Griffiths playing the Three Franck Chorals and Messiaen’s “La Nativite”.

    The trouble about being on this list for so long is that I have mentioned this before – it’s a bit like vicar’s sermons – they tend to come round every two years (sometimes even, every one!) The condition of the organ was not that outstanding in 1976 or so when the “Concert from Altenberg Abbey” was made – there are one or two electrical faults – but it still sounded
    great. I remember Ross’s original comments on the service he went to there! I wonder what the organ’s like today.

    I got to thinking about the G D & B organs – St Paul’s Girl’s School, Hammersmith, has a beautiful one, as does the Servite Priory in Fulham-designed, like the Walker organ Alan Taylor mentioned at St John’s, Duncan Terrace, Islington, by Alan Harverson.

    Colin mentioned the poor quality of organ building in the UK after the war this is true materials were in short supply, new ideas had not yet filtered through, and although the Germans may not have seen it in this light, they were lucky in having had many of their Churches destroyed, and were able to build anew from scratch! They paid a Church Tax, and so there
    was no shortage of money. German organ building went through a boom period. The allies won the war, but not the peace! Not much money around. Do you remember sweets being rationed? However things began to improve in the 60’s and Walkers built some very good organs then, apart from the Oratory and Duncan Terrace, such as The Italian Church in Clerkenwell, a very good little tracker action organ in St Joseph’s Church in the Balls Pond Road, Islington, another one in an RC Church in Docklands whose name escapes me and others.

    Just a final thought – I am told that in Russia, Santa Claus carries a pink pig under his arm. Can this be true? What’s it got to do with organs? Absolutely nothing!
    John Foss
    http ://www.organsandorganistsonline.com/

  7. Troyhand said:


    Subject: Re: Grant Degens & Bradbeer
    From: “John Foss”
    Date: Tue, 01 Jul 2003 12:02:15 +0000

    Maurice Forsyth Grant was a friend of my father’s in the RAF during the war – both of them were involved in communications technology, mainly radar.

    I have a letter written during WW2 from Churchill’s secretary specifically asking for my father, C in C signals command, to explain how the developments affected aircraft construction. M F-G’s fortune was founded on the whisky firm, though he tended to play this connection down – he made his real money by being one of the 4 founding shareholders in what was to
    become RACAL electronics and is now Vodafone/Panafon.

    I frequently visited his house when he had the 3 manual organ, now in Aldenham School, in his living room. We toured Europe together in – I think – 1973. We obtained access to virtually every organ we visited, from Notre Dame in Paris to cathedrals and churches in France, Germany and Austria. ***He gave me 20% of the shares in Grant, Degens and Bradbeer, and I acted with Frank Bradbeer as consultant on several installations.*** I had a house in Aldenham and was a ***friend of the Director of Music there, so when Maurice moved to Wales his organ was put into store. Aldenham*** had a Compton Electrone in the school chapel, but when Alan Venning heard that the house organ was for sale the school bought it.

    I played the Poulenc Concerto in the opening concert in 1976. Maurice did not really play himself, but he enjoyed hearing other organists play. He also had a player mechanism. His great enthusiasms were organs, computer technology and his cats. He had the most exquisitely expensive armchairs which the cats had reduced to ribbons by use as claw sharpeners!

    A shrewd businessman, he didn’t actually give GD&B organs away, but in attempt to influence British organ Building, prices were usually competitive. I think the firm did have an influence on British organs – they were, I believe, the first to install a tracker instrument with electric stop and piston action at St Mary’s Priory, Fulham, where Alan Harverson was the consultant.
    John Foss

  8. Troyhand said:

    harfo32 on November 8, 2011 at 2:08 am

    As a teenager in the 1950’s I used to play the organ in the Odeon Wealdstone, regularly. I think it was a 2 manual 4 rank Compton : Tibia, Tuba, Flute and Diapason. However was was over 50 years ago – I was a school boy at Harrow and I earned my first “professional” fees – 10 shillings a show there, and at the Odeon Swiss Cottage (a 3 manual Compton with Melotone) and the Gaumont, Camden Town (a 4 manual Compton – the top manual was a coupler manual with the Tuba available.) This was an unusual installation with the console at the left side of the proscenium, coming out from behind a curtain at the press of a button. There were 2 chambers under the stage. The auditorium had fine, rich acoustics, which enhanced the magnificent organ sound. I recently (2004) gave some concerts in Australia including Melbourne, where the magnificent organ in Malvern Town Hall – which resembles town halls in the UK, such as Southampton in the 20’s, has been built with parts from several British organs, including the Odeon Swiss Cottage. If I’m wrong I’m sure someone will correct me!

    John Foss, GRSM, ARCM, one time director of Grant, Degens and Bradbeer, arguably successors to the John Compton organ co

  9. Troyhand said:

    Catholic Herald – 7th March 1975
    Charterhouse Chronicle

    ***Retreat for handicapped***
    Physically handicapped people from all over the country. including 15 confined to wheelchairs, attended a retreat at the weekend, specially organised for them at ***Westminster Diocesan Pastoral Centre*** at London Colney, Hertfordshire.

    Sister Elizabeth, of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God, one of the staff at the centre, said the weekend combined a retreat with social activities. including a film “Crooks in the Cloister” lent to them free by EMI and an organ recital by *****Mr John Foss*****.

    On Saturday night the handicapped. who with their helpers totalled 60, were visited by friends and enjoyed a buffet supper. also being entertained by the centre’s director, Canon Peter Bourne, playing his guitar.

    Sister Elizabeth said it ovas the second retreat they had held for the physically handicapped, but by far the biggest. She added: “There was a simply wonderfully happy atmosphere. We at the centre benefited as much if not more than the handicapped, many of whom are such wonderful personalities.”

  10. Troyhand said:

    Mander Organs Forum

    Guest_Barry Williams_
    Posted 16 February 2008 – 04:46 PM
    I have just noticed that St Martin’s Farnham is referred to in Mr Forsyth-Grant’s book as being in Hampshire.

    Farnham is in Surrey. The entry (on page 136) refers to ***Mr John Foss as being organist of Farnham Parish Church*** which I have always thought of as being St Andrew’s, St Martin’s being the daughter church.

    Have we all been thinking of the wrong place?
    Barry Williams

    Jonathan Lane
    Posted 16 February 2008 – 05:27 PM

    St. Martin’s, is strictly in Lower Bourne and is the daughter church of St. Thomas-on-The Bourne (hence my interest). St. Thomas is not the parish church of Farnham, St. Andrew’s is. St. Thomas is the parish church of The Bourne, a suburb of Farnham, although I suspect they wouldn’t like being called a suburb! In my understanding Farnham is and always has been in Surrey (just – the boundary with Hampshire is about half a mile outside the town boundary.) GD&B did build an organ at ‘our’ St. Martin’s Lower Bourne, and ***John Foss was organist of St. Thomas-on-The Bourne***. Methinks Mr Forsyth-Grant got his boundary wrong.

  11. Troyhand said:


    The Musical Times – Volume 111, Issues 1523-1534

    [Page 1271]
    HOLY TRINITY SLOANE STREET, SW1. Applications are invited for the post of assistant organist. Modern four manual organ Choir in process of rebuilding. Terms of appointment available from ***John Foss***, 69 Pont Street, SW1

  12. wrongisland said:

    Re: the children abducted and taken to Ireland from Holloway Road, having done a bit of research on this you can view an interview with one of the mothers on news archives, and the girl with the more ‘unusual’ name is still around in North London. I believe she works at a bookies and is a Spurs fan. May be available to give more information.

  13. Troyhand said:

    Click to access five.pdf

    The use of Video in the teaching of English.
    John Foss, December 1999.

    I once asked the owner of a Frontistiria I was working for why he didn’t make use of the Video equipment he had in his school. He told me that when he had used it one of the parents had come into the school saying that he was “not paying for his children to watch TV”, so he had stopped.

    To be quite honest, the Video material available 10 years ago, apart from the excellent BBC “Big Muzzy” series, was pretty
    dire. Another school I worked at did encourage me to use the Video, and had some English Videos, such as Alice in
    Wonderland. These were quite successful at keeping the children quiet, though I don’t actually think they did much for their
    learning. They were bored by a video series specifically produced for teaching, but as the material was tedious in the extreme this was not very surprising. I have looked at some of the material produced since then, but have still to find anything worthwhile. If you know of any good series please let me know !

    As the idea of using video seemed to be a good one in theory – children do sit and watch it and something must stick – I didn’t abandon the idea completely. I sat down in front of my video and transcribed Alice in Wonderland word for word. This
    was extremely time consuming, but as I was lucky enough to have a highly gifted student at that time, I thought it worthwhile. It was successful. She loved it. We watched it in instalments, having first read the text and talked about it, and
    followed it up with questions and work sheets I still use this material today, and though there are other videos of a similar
    nature to which this process could be applied, but it is hard work. Maybe an enterprising publisher could come to an
    agreement with the producers of some films – The Lion King, for example – to use them as teaching material, producing a
    professional text and workbook.

    A second possible use of video is to make your own programme. Having started “The English Times of Katerini” with a view to encouraging children’s writing, firstly in print and then on the Internet, we have now embarked on a project to make a video based on people, places and activities in our area. We have a wealth of material available to draw on – after all, Mount Olympus is the home of the Gods. There are traditional villages, Alexander the Great, the liberation of the town in 1912 as well as present day culture and much else. I am sure anyone sitting down to plan a similar project could find material in their neck of the woods. Even the planning stages engender enthusiasm. I involve students of all ages in these activities, from 6 year old absolute beginners through to university level and adults. This planning should be carried out in English – though I admit that this is easier for the native English speaker than for those for whom English is not their mother tongue. We then write the text – it may be a description of a place such as Dion, which was Alexander the Great’s training camp, or an event such as the battle of Svoronos in 1912, marking the end of Ottoman rule.

    This project is in progress at the moment and will take some time, but when it is completed we propose to have it professionally edited and offer it to one of the local TV stations. ***The English Times of Katerini has been featured on NET (national TV) as well as in MAKEDONIA and other newspapers***, so we hope they will take an interest in it – anyway, they have said that they will! Of course, what is important is the process of making the film.

    So these two methods of using video – taking a popular film with material based on the text for use both before and after
    watching the film, and creating your own video, are two suggestions which you might care to use for both private and class lessons.

    JOHN FOSS has lived and worked in Greece for the past twelve years as artist, musician and teacher. His paintings are to be found in many places throughout Greece.

    He started “The English Times of Katerini” three years ago, which can be seen on the Internet at http://www.spark.net.gr/pieria/etimes.This came first in the GoGreece search engine education category in 1998.

  14. yiannis piperidis said:

    October 17th 2014 on Foss’ facebook page
    I have friends in Pallini with a large house and 2 children, 7 year old Gianni and 5 year old Maria. Gianni treats the world as a vast nudist camp – he doesn’t believe in wearing clothes in the summer and only when the temperature drops as an absolute necessity. I have a walking cane called Stanley which I lose regularly, but Maria has appointed herself Stanley’s guardian and whenever it mislays itself-which is far too often, I only have to utter the magic word and Maria appears as if by magic by my side, Stanley in hand! Thank Heaven for little girls !!!!

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