Alfred Jackson

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Date published: 24/06/2013
© Newbury Weekly News

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Mayor of Newbury 1891 and 1892
©from “Regalia of the Town of Newbury, Berkshire” Compiled by Roderick Thomason, and reproduced with his kind permission.
Mayor of Newbury 1891 and 1892

ALFRED JACKSON

 

DEATH OF ALDERMAN JACKSON

OVER HALF-A-CENTURY'S PUBLIC WORK

 

A WORTHY CITIZEN

 

The death of Alderman Alfred Jackson has removed one of the worthy citizens of Newbury. He was not a native of the borough, but had been identified with its public and religious life for over half-a-century. He died in Newbury Hospital on Sunday evening at seven o'clock, following a serious operation a fortnight before. It was a stern ordeal for a man in his eightieth year to undergo, but the patient was cheerful and showed satisfactory signs of recovery, but bronchitis supervening, he succumbed.

 

A CIVIC FAMILY

 

Alfred Jackson was a member of a family which achieved a remarkable – even unique- record in the civic history of the country. There were ten children of the late Mr Henry Jackson of Sherfield-on-Loddon, the proprietor of a thriving village business; six sons and four daughters. The sons went into the world to seek their fortunes, and by diligence and great public spirit attained to the highest positions in the towns of their adoption. Henry, the eldest,  was two years Mayor of Basingstoke; Thomas was two years Mayor of Marlborough; Alfred was twice Mayor of Newbury; Edward filled the office for a similar period in the country town of Reading; Howard served in a similar capacity at Rochester; Frank was vice-chairman of Sherfield parish council. The youngest daughter, Lucy, was among the first women to be appointed magistrate; she also acted two years as Mayoress to her brother Howard, and performed the duties so efficiently that she was requested to assist the succeeding Mayor, and did so for five years. Another daughter was married to a well known Newbury tradesman, the late Mr T.M. Nias. Of this large family, but two now remain; Alderman Edward Jackson, J.P. Of Reading, and Miss Lucy Jackson, J.P. of Reading.

 

FIFTY FOUR YEARS IN NEWBURY.

 

Alfred Jackson came to Newbury in 1874 as a young man of 25, and took over the business of Harding Brothers, in the Market-place, which had been running for over a century. He brought to the business the assets of uprightness, dignity and courtesy, as well as those of a material kind. Prosperity attended his efforts, the business increased. He retired in 1921 when he was 75; and from that time gave himself yet more work of an unselfish character.

 

CIVIC CAREER

 

Mr Jackson was not content to confine the whole of his energies to business, but shared them with the town and Church. He entered the Council in 1882 and devoted himself to administration with conscientious zeal and capacity. He was elected Mayor in 1891, and so well did he carry out the duties that the Council unanimously invited him to serve a second year, thus maintaining a family record. In this side of his public life he showed great interest in all matters concerned with  health and education. To the question of drainage he gave much serious thought, and to his efforts the town is today a debtor. He advocated and did much to secure the establishment of the Isolation Hospital on Wash Common. He was a borough magistrate, a governor of the District Hospital, a trustee of the Municipal Charities, a member of the Newbury Dispensary Committee, and a governor of the Grammar School. He had an unbroken record of forty-three years' useful service for the town.

 

DEVOTED TO HIS CHURCH

 

Alderman Jackson was a devoted member of the Baptist Church, always willing to render personal service and generous financial assistance. He was Superintendent of the Sunday School for many years, and senior deacon. He was elected President of the Berks. Baptist Association in 1906, and was very helpful in support of the work in the village churches, being a liberal donor in the erection of the new church at Headley.

 

QUIET AND UNASSUMING

 

Alderman was a man of quiet, unassuming disposition. He was a worker rather than a talker. He had a sense of humour and enjoyed a joke, although he apparently took a serious view of life and things in general. He enjoyed  driving a good horse, and had not taken to motor car, but did not disdain the taxi-cab for convenience. Not long since his horse slipped on the smooth-surfaced road and he and his wife had been  pitched out. It was a narrow escape, and Mrs Jackson had been severely injured, having only just recovered. In his garden he was very happy, and loved to see others enjoying its charms. A severely honest man, he served Newbury well, and Newbury people respected him as one who, having prospered in the town, desired to render some return by personal service in its affairs.

The flag was hoisted  half-mast on the Municipal Buildings.

 

THE FUNERAL

 

The funeral service took place yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon at the Baptist church, to which the body had been previously brought. Enclosed in a plain oaken coffin, on which rested a wreath of palm leaves, it was placed in front of the draped rostrum, and on either side stood, like sentinels, the borough mace-bearers, the civic insignia veiled with crepe. The service was conducted by the Rev. C.V. Pike, and was simply impressive. Two favourite hymns were sung, “All hail the power of Jesus' name” and “Jesus, lover of my soul”. After the benediction, the congregation stood reverently during the playing of the “Dead March” in “Saul”, and, during the removal of the body, Chopin's Funeral March. The organist, Mr P.J. Scruton, had previously played “O rest in the Lord,” “Oh for the wings of a dove,” “The Lord is mindful” and “I know that my Redeemer liveth.”

 

THE PASTOR'S APPRECIATION

 

The Rev. C.V. Pike said God's choicest gift to man is that of a noble life. Alfred Jackson was a man of simplicity and sincerity, plain and unadorned in speech, upright in his dealings, his word was his bond. He was a man of thought, with breadth of outlook, and a wealth of sympathy. The figure they knew so well was not an inapt representation of the man himself, solid and sturdy, unbending even in the eightieth year; in his movements, unhurried, because time had been allowed for all that had to be done., the face not deeply chased, though the marks of Time's chisel were not absent; the expression generally serious, but the smile could quickly spread over the features, and hearty laughter was not infrequent; his speech careful, measured and direct. In Alfred Jackson was solidity and strength, uprightness and truth, sobriety and steadiness. His ways were far removed from the “hustler” whether British or American. He set himself up to fulfil his duty in business, in social and municipal life, and wherever he felt that his own work lay. Duty was the watchword of his life. Some impelling motive saved him from selfishness and led to a larger spending of himself to the service of others.

 

He entered the Council in his “thirties.” How many business men at that age would plead, with some appearance of reason, that the growing demands of business and opportunity of business life must have their undivided energies, lest success be missed. But Alfred Jackson gave himself to this form of work for others, and he never turned his back upon it. He counted it as a privilege to serve his fellows in municipal affairs; he wanted to see the conditions of life, especially among the poor, ever changing for the better, and for that he gladly laboured.

 

Nor was the Town Council the only field in which he gave his service. The Grammar School, the Hospital, the Dispensary, the town charities. These and others he served with his best powers. Every single effort for the public good enlisted his sympathy and assistance.

 

Yet he was a home-lover, and among the flowers and fruit and all that the garden gives, among cattle and stock of all kinds, Alfred Jackson found his relaxation and recreation. By his own fireside he was most himself, genial and generous host, considerate and kind friend. To know him at home was a privilege and a pleasure. He carried into his business and municipal life, the spirit of the humble disciple of Jesus Christ.

 

As an employer, he was concerned in the way Sunday was spent as well as Saturday, and he cared for the souls of those in his service. In this church he was beloved and trusted. The Sunday School was his special field, for over 45 years he was a deacon and its treasurer. In all matters his wide experience, his sane judgment, his warm sympathies were ever at the service of his fellow members. His was a long life well lived, and they thanked God and treasured the memory of a good man whose removal left the town immeasurably poorer, praying that others of like spirit might be forthcoming to fill the gap his death created. To the one who shared his life for 54 years they tendered respectful sympathy, with the prayer that she may continually experience the consolation and restfulness of that faith which was her husband's strength and sufficiency.

 

There follows a very long list of mourners.

 

 

Newbury Weekly News 21 May 1925.

Sources:Newbury Weekly News 21 May 1925

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