Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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JACKSON, Sir CHARLES JAMES (1849-1923), businessman and collector. Born in Monmouth on 2 May 1849, the son of James Edwin Jackson (sometimes referred to as Edwin James Jackson) and Mary Ann Bass. The son of a leading builder in Monmouth, James Jackson had joined his father's firm at a young age. Around 1860, Jackson moved to Cardiff and his son, Charles, became a builder with his father. Both father and son designed and constructed buildings, which allowed Charles Jackson to describe himself as an architect. The Jacksons established a flourishing business in Cardiff and invested heavily in property, particularly commercial property.

In 1879, Charles Jackson stood as an independent candidate in the Roath Ward on Cardiff Council but he came bottom of the poll. He was more successful on 1 November 1882 when he was elected the Conservative member for the East Ward of the council. Presenting himself as the largest ratepayer in the ward, Jackson promised in his campaign speeches that he would save money for the ratepayers. He kept his word when he persuaded the council to issue Cardiff Corporation bonds at 3% interest, which produced sufficient funds to redeem loans on which the council paid 5% interest. Jackson decided in 1885 that he would pursue a new career as a barrister and he stood down from the council in 1887. Despite his lack of an university education, Jackson proved himself to be an able student and he won prizes in both his second and third years. He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in January 1888 and built up a practice on the South Wales circuit and as a parliamentary barrister on private bill work. With his background in the building trade, Jackson appeared frequently in building cases.

The proprietor of the Western Mail, Henry Lascelles Carr, had married Helen Sarah, the elder sister of Charles Jackson. Carr purchased the News of the World in 1891 and sent his nephew, Emsley Carr, to London as the editor of the paper. Helen Carr died in 1900 and Lascelles Carr in 1902. Charles Jackson had invested in the News of the World and he had been made a director of the paper in 1893. He was living in London by 1901 and succeeded Carr as chairman of the paper. He attended the paper on the night of the weekly printing and gave tips of half-a-crown to the production and delivery staff to ensure that they caught the newspaper train. Charles Jackson remained chairman of the paper until his death. Emsley Carr proved to be a very successful editor and Jackson's investment in the News of the World, added to his property holdings in South Wales, made him a wealthy man.

Jackson's great passion was silver. He was assiduous in studying silver held by museums and in ecclesiastical and municipal collections. Gradually, he built up his own collection, especially of spoons, and became a recognised expert in the field. On 13 February 1890, he read a paper to the Society of Antiquaries on the spoon and its history. Queen Victoria allowed the silver-gilt Coronation spoon to be displayed at that meeting of the Society. A year later, Jackson was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. Around 1886, Jackson began to produce a history of English plate but he noticed that there was no accurate account of gold and silver marks available so he laid the history aside and began to compile an account of marks. English goldsmiths and their marks was published in 1905, followed by An illustrated history of English plate ecclesiastical and secular in 1911. Both books were influential in the development of silver studies. A second edition of the guide to marks was published in 1921. Jackson assumed that a further edition would appear after his death and he had specified that Llewelyn Davies, the agent for his Welsh properties, should assist in the preparation of future editions, because he had helped Jackson with the earlier books. In the event, a third edition of the guide to marks did not appear until 1989 when, edited by Ian Pickford, it was published under the title Jackson's silver and gold marks of England, Scotland and Ireland. A pocket edition was published in 1994.

Charles Jackson was married twice. His first wife was Agnes Catherine Martin, described in the 1881 census returns for Cardiff as a British subject born in Boulougne. His second wife was Ada Elizabeth Williams, born at Cardiff in 1877, the daughter of Samuel Owen Williams, a railway weigher and later a hotel proprietor. When Jackson moved to London, he lived with his second wife in Hampstead and later at 6 Ennismore Gardens, Knightsbridge.

Jackson was knighted in 1919 for services to the Red Cross during the war. He died at his home in Ennismore Gardens on 23 April 1923 and was buried in Putney Vale Cemetery. Ada Elizabeth Jackson, a shadowy figure, died a year later, on 10 June 1924 and, following a funeral service at Brompton Place Church on 12 June, she was also buried in Putney Vale Cemetery. She bequeathed £5000 to Cardiff Royal Infirmary in memory of her husband, with the request that a children's ward should be known as ‘Sir Charles and Lady Jackson Ward’.

The Jacksons had three children: Diana Daphne Beatrix, born in 1901, and the identical twins, Charles Vivian and Derek Ainslie, born on 23 June 1906. None of the children were christened because Jackson believed that they should take the decision themselves. Lord Riddell, who succeeded Charles Jackson as chairman of the News of the World, had been named as guardian to the children if their mother died while they were still young. Riddell had been the London solicitor to the Western Mail and had a long-standing friendship with the Carrs and the Jacksons.

Daphne Jackson married Alan Holmes-Watson, an officer with the Royal Dragoons, in 1925. They had one daughter before Holmes-Watson died of heatstroke on 1 August 1931 while serving at Campbellpore in India. His widow married Jack Mason and, like her mother, she died young.

The twins, Vivian and Derek, were gifted children and their father encouraged them by providing the expensive equipment they needed for their scientific interests. Vivian Jackson graduated from Oriel College, Oxford, and found a position as an astrophysicist at Imperial College, London. In the autumn of 1927, he married Mary, the daughter of Bertram Roberts of Saltaire, but the marriage was brief. His second wife, whom he married on 10 June 1932, was Maria Stella Wynn, only child of the 5th Baron Newborough, and they had one son. Vivian Jackson was killed at St. Moritz on 30 December 1936; he was in the company of Peggy Hopkins Joyce, an American actress, when he insisted on taking the reins of a horse drawn sleigh but the horses bolted and Vivian Jackson was thrown out and struck his head against a kilometre stone. He was cremated at Golders Green crematorium on 19 January 1937. The mourners included family, a few fashionable friends and Llewelyn Davies.

Derek Jackson graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, but moved to Oxford University where he worked as a lecturer from 1934 to 1937 and as Professor of Spectroscopy from 1947 to 1957. For his considerable scientific achievements, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1947. He married Poppet, the daughter of Augustus John in 1931. His second wife, whom he married in 1936, was Pamela Freeman-Mitford, one of the famous Mitford sisters; they were divorced in 1951. His third wife was Janetta, formerly the wife of Robert Kee, the writer, and this marriage was dissolved in 1956. His fourth wife was Consuelo Regina Maria, former wife of Prince Ernest Ratibor Hohenloe Schillenfurst, and this marriage lasted from 1957 to 1959. His fifth wife, from 1966 to 1968, was Barbara Skelton, once married to the writer, Cyril Connolly. He married again, for the sixth and last time, in 1968, Marie-Christine, daughter of Baron George Reille. Derek Jackson had a daughter from his third marriage. After a distinguished career as a scientist and a successful career as an owner of racehorses, Derek Jackson died at Lausanne on 20 February 1982. During his last years, he greatly enjoyed watching Wales playing rugby on television.

Sir Charles Jackson left two important legacies on trust for his children: the shares in the News of the World and the silver collection. While guardian to the Jackson children, Lord Riddell persuaded a judge to allow the sale of a portion of the Jackson shares in the News of the World, presumably on the grounds that it was unwise for the trust to hold all its shares in one company. Lord Riddell himself purchased these shares and he bequeathed them to the Carr family. Derek Jackson resented this transaction by Riddell. He decided to sell his shares in 1969 and, when the Carr family declined to offer more than the market price, Jackson was happy to consider a higher price from Robert Maxwell. The Carr family asked Rupert Murdoch to assist them in defeating Maxwell's attempt to take over the paper; Murdoch purchased Jackson's shares at a satisfactory price.

Sir Charles Jackson wished to keep his silver collection intact. He lent items to the Victoria and Albert Museum and he may have intended, at one time, that the museum should hold the entire collection. When the National Museum of Wales opened its new building in Cardiff, Jackson agreed in 1922 to lend about one hundred items, a quarter of the collection, to the museum. Gradually, more of the collection came to Cardiff and, when the important collection of spoons was transferred to the National Museum in 1947, the entire collection was reunited. For the next sixty years, the collection was held by the National Museum, but owned by the Jackson family trust. In 2001, with the assistance of various grants, the museum purchased half of the collection, while the other half, still owned by the family trust, remains in the custody of the museum.

Bibliography:

  • Who was who? 1916-28;
  • Contemporary portraits men and women of South Wales and Monmouthshire , Cardiff, 1897;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (D. A. Jackson);
  • Western Mail 25 June 1892 (obituary of J. E. Jackson);
  • The Times 24 Aug. 1923, 11 June, 13 Oct. 1924, 31 Dec. 1936, 12 Jan. 1937;
  • Census returns for 1881 and 1901;
  • Simon Courtauld, As I was going to St. Ives a life of Derek Jackson , 2007;
  • Diana Mosley, Loved ones pen portraits , London, 1985;
  • Cyril Bainbridge & Roy Stockdill, The News of the World story 150 years of the World's bestselling newspaperArchaeologia , London, 1993 ;
  • Charles James Jackson, “The spoon and its history its form, material, and development, more particularly in England ”, The News of the World story 150 years of the World's bestselling newspaperArchaeologia , London, 1993 53 (1893); 107-46;
  • Andrew Renton, “Sir Charles James Jackson (1849-1923) ”, Silver Studies - the Journal of the Silver Society 19 (2005): 144-46.

Author:

David Lewis Jones, London