Famous Sons of Leeds

Off-topic discussions, musings and chat
Caron
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Postby Caron » Sat 21 Sep, 2013 12:33 am

Kaiser Chiefs
Johnny39
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Postby Johnny39 » Sun 15 Dec, 2013 7:26 pm

Just been announced on TV Peter O'Toole has died aged 81.
Daft I call it - What's for tea Ma?
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buffaloskinner
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Postby buffaloskinner » Tue 17 Dec, 2013 12:59 pm

Another famous son of Leeds

Tom Jackson
Moderate postal workers' leader whose authority never recovered from a damaging national strike




In 1971, the extrovert Yorkshireman Tom Jackson, who has died aged 78, led the first national post office workers' strike. In the days when trade union leaders were household names, Jackson, general secretary of what became the Union of Communications Workers (from 1967 to 1982) was a huge figure.
He was instantly identifiable by his flamboyant handlebar moustache and, unafraid of attacking fellow union leaders, robustly expressed support for pay restraint. He predicted that the break-up of the old GPO would lead to the privatisation of telecommunications.

Jackson was born in Leeds, one of four children brought up by his widowed mother in such a tough part of the city that when he applied to become a post office telegraph boy at 14, they sent someone round to check if his family was respectable.

He had wanted to become a baker, but his family was determined he would have a job with a pension. When the GPO took him on, he was called up at the Jack Lane elementary school assembly, and everybody clapped.

He returned from wartime service in the Royal Navy (1943-46) to become a postman and, 18 months later, a sorter, but he was already involved in the affairs of what was then the Union of Post Office Workers (UPW). He was first elected to its executive council in 1955, seen then as a radical in a union with a long anti-Communist party tradition.

Other ambitious union colleagues - like Charles Morris, father of Estelle - became MPs, but Jackson claimed to disdain the public-school atmosphere of the Commons. In 1964, he became the UPW's national officer, and in 1967 its general secretary - not as radical a choice as Hugh Scanlon at the engineering union and Jack Jones at the transport and general, who came to power at about the same time, but still expected to shake up a largely invisible union at a time when Harold Wilson's Labour government was rapidly sinking in the esteem of its members.

Thus it was in 1971 that Jackson became the first UPW leader to call out all 230,000 members on national strike. It was the time of the attempt by Edward Heath's Conservative government to introduce anti-union legislation, but Jackson, then and later, was insistent that his quarrel - he wanted a 16% pay increase - was with the Post Office, not the politicians.

Later, he was widely criticised for his decision to risk an all-out strike at a time when the government had staked its future on holding down pay, and put in a tough new boss at the Post Office. At the time, Jackson insisted it was the only option. His members wanted it - except the telephonists, who gave only partial support - and at a time of bitter hostility between public and unions, he felt it was invidious to leave some to bare the brunt of occasionally violent attacks. After seven weeks, the union was defeated and nearly bankrupt.

Although always celebrated for his noisy good humour, Jackson never quite recovered from the blow to his authority and - as union activists drifted leftwards - he came to be regarded as a rightwinger in an increasingly polarised labour movement. He became embroiled in some bitter internal disputes, including, after criticising the miners for politicising their industrial relations, a threat to depose him. He survived with an emotional speech in which he declared: "The whole of my life since I left the navy has been devoted to the interests of the postal workers."

As the era of Margaret Thatcher's premiership dawned in 1979, Jackson found himself defending not only the integrity of the GPO, but also the Post Office's monopoly against the industry secretary Sir Keith Joseph. He won that battle, but his attempt to prevent the privatisation of British Telecom was doomed.

Jackson had to have an eye removed in 1979 and, in 1983, after nearly 16 years in the top job, he decided to take early retirement. Quoting Dorothy Parker in his valedictory conference address, he said, "Don't think it hasn't been fun, because it hasn't been."

But, despite the internal wrangling, the man who always described himself as "just a postman in a suit" was held in great affection by the great majority of his membership. They saw him as their first leader to raise their standing in public esteem.

Jackson had learned to cook as a child, and became a passionate enthusiast. He was an ardent fan of the woman who introduced real food to postwar Britain, Elizabeth David, and as a young man would eat out one night in a good restaurant - the Gay Hussar in London's Soho was his favourite - and go to bed on a sandwich the next.

A member of the TUC general council from 1967 to 1982, he was its chairman from 1978 to 1979, and chaired its international committee from 1978 to 1982.

He served on the Press Council from 1973 to 1976, became one of the first government directors of BP (1975-83), was a governor of the BBC (1968-73) and - showing a continuing relish for controversy - became a non-executive director of the newly-privatised Yorkshire Water (1989-94). He also chaired the Ilkley literary festival from 1984 to 1987.

He and Norma Burrow, his wife of 33 years, divorced in 1982. When he retired, still only 57, he and his second wife, Kate Tognarelli - an English teacher - set up a mail-order, antiquarian and second-hand book business at a terraced house in Ilkley, near his birthplace. Kate survives him, as do two daughters, one from each of his marriages.

· Thomas Jackson, trade unionist, born April 9 1925; died June 6 2003


Is this the end of the story ...
or the beginning of a legend?
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cnosni
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Postby cnosni » Tue 17 Dec, 2013 7:47 pm

^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Now thats what i call a proper 'tache
Don't get me started!!
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Geordie-exile
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Postby Geordie-exile » Sun 22 Dec, 2013 1:25 pm

Brendan Sheerin, host of Coach Trip and other similar shows was born in Hunslet with Irish connections. I'm not a fan of the show but he seems a lovely chap in himself and has fond memories of Leeds.

I've just read his book:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Life-Coach-Trip-Adventure/dp/1843176998

Lots of mentions of Hunslet, Beeston, town centre, churches and schools, although he seems to think Lewis's was John Lewis!

There is enough sadness in life without having fellows like Gussie Fink-Nottle going about in sea boots.
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Steve Jones
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Postby Steve Jones » Mon 23 Dec, 2013 1:59 pm

The famous photographer Frank Meadow Sutcliffe was born in Headingley. His family later moved to Whitby where his most famous photos were taken.
Steve Jones
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Steve Jones
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Postby Steve Jones » Sun 02 Feb, 2014 11:53 pm

This person deserves to be more well known:
http://www.nhcra-online.org/20c/cockroft.html
I wonder when James Cockcroft died?
Steve Jones
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Steve266
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Postby Steve266 » Mon 03 Feb, 2014 4:32 pm

Have just read through all the famous from Leeds to make sure that Im not repeating
Missed so far The Grumbleweeds, Alan Hawkshaw.

Alan Hawkshaw I here you call who the F.... is he? Well he is the man who wrote the theme tunes to Grange Hill and wait for it Count Down amoungst others played with the Shadows as their keyboard player and is an exponent of the hammond Organ and still going strong today

Michael Sweeney of the Cherokees played Bass and worked as a glazer for a firm in Hunslet also played in the same band as me in the 70's Calendar great fella lived in Garforth
life is not a dress rehearsal

Geordie-exile
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Postby Geordie-exile » Sun 09 Mar, 2014 11:49 pm

Possibly taking a bit of a liberty here but I've just discovered the marvellously crazy and still touring with a blazing helmet on his head Arthur Brown is an old boy of Roundhay Grammar School.

http://youtu.be/en1uwIzI3SE

That's all pop-pickers!

There is enough sadness in life without having fellows like Gussie Fink-Nottle going about in sea boots.
stutterdog
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Postby stutterdog » Mon 10 Mar, 2014 9:44 am

Steve Jones wrote:
This person deserves to be more well known:
http://www.nhcra-online.org/20c/cockroft.html
I wonder when James Cockcroft died?

I've often wondered why my late mother, who was born in 1908, called firemen, " fire bobbies". After reading James Cockrofts record I found the answer! Thanks for this Steve. He certainly had life full of pain and injury and was an example to all of us.
ex-Armley lad

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