Consett: The Resting Place of Baron Avro Manhattan

While on a visit to a cemetery one might be tempted to spend some time reading the inscriptions on the headstones of people laid to rest there and wondering what kind of lives these people had lived.

Some cemeteries house the graves of very famous people i.e. Highgate cemetery in North London houses the grave of Karl Marx while various cemeteries around the world, house the graves of many other influential people.

On a walk around Benfieldside cemetery near Consett, one may stop at the grave of a Baron Avro Manhattan who lies buried alongside his Shotley Bridge born wife Anne and not realise the colourful and eventful life that he led prior to his death in his South Shields home in November, 1990.

Yet Baron Avro Manhattan could count Pablo Picasso, George Bernard Shaw  and the scientist, Marie Stopes among his many friends and was author of more than twenty books, among them the best selling “The Vatican in World Politics” which was translated into most major languages including Chinese, Russian and Korean, “The Vatican Billions” and “The Dollar and the Vatican”.

Baron Avro Manhattan was born in Milan, Italy on April 6th, 1914 to American and Swiss/Dutch parents of Jewish extraction.

He was educated at the Sorbonne in Paris and the London School of Economics, London and was a  member of the Royal Society of Literature, Society of Authors, Ethical Union, P.E.N., British Interplanetary Society, etc.

In Italy he was jailed for refusing to serve in Mussolini’s army and during the war, he operated a radio station called Radio Freedom broadcasting to the partisans in occupied Europe and for this he was made a Knight of Malta.

His aristocratic roots also meant that he was a Knight of the house of Savoy, a Knight’s Tempar and a Knight of the Order of Mercedes.

In 1988 he wrote “The Dollar and the Vatican” which outlined how Pope John Paul 1st’s doctrine of “Populorum Progressio” (every man a fare share) was to grab the attention of left wing thought in Italy, Central America and other countries around the world and in 1990, on the heels of an avalanche of Italian court findings and other exposures that backed his hypothesis, a leak in the London Times disclosed that he was writing a book proving that the conspiracy that planned the “Great Vatican Bank Scandal was the same conspiracy that plotted the murder of Pope John Paul 1st and other marxist leaders in the western world.

Unfortunately, Baroness Manhattan returned from a trip to Paris to find him dead in their South Shields home before he was able to publish his book. 

Prior to Baron Avro’s death, he and the baroness chose to live most of their later lives after 1979 at their property in South Shields sharing their passion for the South Shield’s coastline and going for walks in the town’s South and North Marine Parks.

This was despite owning homes in high class Kensington and Spain. Their house in Henry Nelson Street, South Shields had been bequethed to them by Baroness Anne’s mother in 1963, two years after he had met the former nurse in London.

They were perceived in the borough as a very glamourous couple who were hugely entertaining and Baroness Anne was described as a very clourful character who loved staging dinner parties and being glamourous.

Baroness Anne passed away in January, 2008 and was laid to rest beside her late husband at Benfieldside Cemetery in Shotley Bridge. 

In 2013, Lucien Gregoire’s book “The Vatican Murders: The Life and death of John Paul 1st, employing a barage of testimony of the courts together with medical and criminology advancements not available to Avro Manhattan and others who had previously written on the subject of Pope John Paul’s death, claimed that the conspiracy that had planned the Great Vatican Scandel was the same conspiracy that had plotted the murder of Pope John Paul 1 (This book  had previously been published under the titles “White Light, Dark Night (2007), “Murder in the Vatican” (2010) and “Murder by the Grace of God: The CIA and Pope John Paul 1 (2012) ).

With the  election of Pope Francis, there has been a concerted move to address among other issues,  the issue of the Vatican Bank.

Among the other books written about the circumstances of pope John Paul 1st,s death are “They have murdered the Pope: Operation Pigeon” which is a novel published by Zottola & Pena which came remarkably close to the truth in it’s fictional creation of “Operation Pigeon”, a blend of curia cardinals and capitalistic powers and the disappearence of Vatican Bank money in Central America. (This book is out of print and available in Spanish only).

“In God’s Name: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul 1” by David A.Yallop which came out in 1984 and “A Thief in the Night” by John Cornwell which came out in 1990.


The first transaction in the Great Vatican Bank Scandal took place under the reign of John Paul II–a month after the death of the 33-day Pope when the first $383 million was transferred to Nicaragua to finance the rising of the Contras in order to crush the revolution of the poor in Central America. 

Also, the new pope toured Central America telling the people to stop supporting the revolutionaries and defrocked the priests who had led the revolution. 

Baron Avro Manhattan 1914-1990

Content submitted by Brian Harrison and originally published in Consett Magazine print edition Issue 22 May 2014

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