Dietary reformer and author
Born 1915 Died 1993

Stanley Green, otherwise known as the Protein Man, was an example of what we in Britain like to call a complete nutter, who spent twenty-five years of his life parading up and down Oxford Street in London, attempting to convince the capital's inhabitants of the evils of excess protein and sexual intercourse.

Born Stanley Owen Green on the 22nd February 1915 at Harringay in North London, he was the youngest of four sons born to Richard Green, a bottle-stopper maker's clerk, and his wife, May. Educated at Wood Green School, he may have briefly been employed as a clerk or draughtsman before joining the Royal Navy in August 1938. He saw service throughout World War II until he was demobilized in September 1945. His war experiences appear to have had a profound affect upon him as he was later to express his shock at discovering his fellow sailors preoccupation with sex.

After the war he returned to living with his parents and having failed the entrance examination for London University was employed by the Fine Art Society and Selfridges, following which he briefly worked in the civil service. Between 1956 and 1961 he was employed as a storeman by Ealing Borough Council, before earning his living as a self-employed gardener.

Apparently around the year 1958 he began to develop his philosophy of 'protein wisdom', which was based on the simple premise that, whilst children required protein to fuel their growth into maturity, adults did not and that the consumption of this excess protein were diverted into fuelling sexual activity. Hence the slogan "less lust from less protein". It must be said that Stanley practised what he preached and restricted himself to a single egg each day, and otherwise subsisted on a diet of vegetables, chopped dates, porridge, bread and his own particular concoction of milk powder and barley water.

He first embarked on his one-man campaign to save the country in June 1968, his target being the Saturday shoppers of south Harrow. Six months later he decided to transfer his operations to Central London and take up the cause full time. Every day he would cycle the twelve miles from his council flat in Northolt to Central London, a journey that sometimes took as long as two hours; a habit that he continued until the age of sixty-five, when he abandoned his bicycle in favour of public transport. This was not due to the infirmity of age, but simply because he now qualified for a free bus pass.

Between the years 1969 and 1993 he became an almost daily fixture on Oxford Street, always wearing the same cap, overalls, and wire-rimmed glasses as he donned his sandwich board which warned of the dangers of meat, eggs, bird, fish, cheese, peas, beans and nuts, or the eight 'passion proteins' as Stanley liked to call them. On Saturday evenings he moved his base of operations to Leicester Square, where he sought to being his message home to the crowds that gathered to attend the local cinemas. However it must be said that the overwhelming reaction to his activities was one of utter indifference. As Peter Ackroyd, writing in London: The Biography put it; "He was commonly ignored by the great tide of people who washed around him, and thus became a poignant symbol of the city's incuriosity and forgetfulness."

In 1973 Stanley acquired his own printing press which was installed in his council flat, and on which he printed the many editions of his 'protein wisdom' pamphlet, Eight Passion Proteins with Care which sold over 93,000 copies over the course of twenty years. This booklet was particularly notable for Stanley's idiosyncratic views on graphic design, as it was typeset without any particular regard to the normal conventions applying to font and type size, which he would change at random intervals in the text, sometimes half-way through a word. Sadly his attempts to find a publisher for his 392 page magnum opus on the subject of the passion proteins and their pernicious effect on society never bore fruit, and a similar fate befell his novel, Behind the Veil: More than Just a Tale, which remains unpublished to this day.

Stanley Owen Green died in his home at 34 Haydock Green, Northolt, Middlesex, on the 4th December 1993. He never married. After his death his original message board, together with copies of his booklets, and his other papers were acquired by the Museum of London. He is a notable addition to that great pantheon of English Eccentrics.


SOURCES

  • Philip Carter, Green, Stanley Owen Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  • Brewer's Rogues, Villians and Eccentrics by William Donaldson (Phoenix, 2004)
  • Another Green World, Dedicated to the memory of the late Stanley Green, the Protein Man at http://www.flaneur.org.uk/html/green/green.html

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