Eric A Jackson JP

Location: Pontefract, West Yorkshire
About me...

I’ve a life-long interest in history, especially local and social history, the kind that relates to real people and I love sharing my passion with others. I’ve been actively engaged in family and local history for over thirty years and have written many articles for various publications on some of the subjects of my talks. I am a former trustee of the Federation of Family History Societies; a trustee of the Pontefract & Ackworth Almshouse Charity and secretary of the Pontefract & District Family History Society. Until 2016 I had been a magistrate for twenty four years and I have a keen interest in the history of the office of Justice of the Peace. I enjoy travel, meeting new people, helping them in their research and talking to them about subjects that interest me, and which hopefully they will also find interesting.

About my Talks...

All my talks are accompanied by PowerPoint presentations, I have my own screen, projector extension lead and computer, all I will need from you is a power outlet and a table. Talks last for between 35 and 50 minutes and I’m always happy to take questions afterwards.

Because of the restrictions of covid19 I am now happy to present my talks as virtual presentations (zoom etc).


Fee: £35 + travel expenses @25p/mile for over 15 mile radius of Pontefract in West Yorkshire.
I’m based in Pontefract, West Yorkshire and I am happy to travel throughout the north of England including Yorkshire, Derbyshire, County Durham, Manchester, Lancashire, and Nottinghamshire – and can occasionally be available at short notice, just give me a ring or email me.

My Contact Details:

01977 791087

Votes for Women

The story of the Suffragettes and Suffragists and their struggle for emancipation from 1865 to 1928.

Includes an account of Emily Wilding Davison’s death in the 1913 Epsom Derby and a pen-picture of some of the leading protagonists.

Very well illustrated with over 30 PowerPoint slides.

Model Villages

From Saltaire to Bournville how model villages developed during the 19th century.
The story of how forward thinking industrialists like Sir Titus Salt and the Cadbury and Lever families set about transforming the lives of their workers by providing decent housing at a fair rent, together with a host of other social facilities which today we take for granted.


“Remember remember the 5th of November, gunpowder treason and plot” – but what do we really know about the events of 1605 that created our modern bonfire night celebrations?

This talk details the background as to why dissident factions sought to assassinate King James I and the entire British establishment by blowing up Parliament during the State Opening. It tells who the conspirators were and why the plot failed; how the plotters were caught and what their ultimate fate was.

Could the plot have succeeded? The talk examines a modern-day re-construction of the planned explosion and what the result would have been.

A talk especially relevant in November but interesting at any time of year.

The Story of a Court House

A history of the English legal system from Saxon times up to the present day. The first courts and the establishment of Magistrates  as the bedrock of the judicial system and how that affected the provision of court buildings.

Taking a single court house as an example we travel through time to see how the system we now have in England and Wales evolved.

Crime and Punishment

What crimes were prevalent from the time of the Anglo Saxons and through the Middle Ages, and how they were dealt with? The changes that came in the Victorian era, the rise of imprisonment as a means of punishment, the abolition of the death penalty and how crime and its consequences are dealt with today.

Stay Safe on Line

A beginners guide to computer security.

Common computer problems and how to guard against them including details of the most common ‘scams’ you are likely to encounter, how to spot them and thus avoid being tricked, or worse!

What happens if your computer is infected with a virus and how to both cure it, and avoid it in the first place.

Told in a non-technical way with a hand-out to take away with you.

Wonderful Things

The discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt in 1922.

This is the full story of this fascinating discovery and tells of how it was found and the treasures it contained. It includes who was Howard Carter, the discoverer of the tomb, and who was the boy king Tutankhamun and his bizarre and fascinating parentage.

After You’re Dead

The history of dissection, its use as a punishment and how grave robbing fed the need for bodies to be used for anatomical dissection. The measures people took to prevent their corpse being stolen, the stories of Burke and Hare and of  Margorie McCall, the “Lady with the Ring”, who reputedly died once and was buried twice, and some more recent cases of body-snatching – not as gruesome as it sounds, it is presented in a light-hearted tone.

The Pontefract Murder

In the closing days of World War One two soldiers, deserters from the Army Service Corps, robbed and brutally murdered the elderly widowed owner of a jeweller’s shop.
Fleeing with their ill-gotten gains it was only a matter of days before they were apprehended 200 miles away from the scene of their crime, partly because one of them proudly carried 6 wound stripes on his uniform sleeve, signifying his bravery whilst fighting in France, but which marked him out and led to his arrest.
At their subsequent trial each blamed the other for the crime, but to no avail for the law was clear – “a person who commits a felony involving personal violence, does so at his own risk, & is guilty of murder if the other person, in the course of carrying out that common design, does an act which causes the death”.
Both men were hanged together just 20 weeks after their crime, justice was indeed swift back then.


The failure of British artillery in the early part of WWI, the ‘shell crisis’ of 1915 and the subsequent development of Munitions Works such as that at Barnbow to the east of Leeds, and the tragic accident there in 1916


The establishment of War Memorials, why and how they were built and the various forms remembrance took in the aftermath of World War One. The building of the Cenotaph in Whitehall and the selection and home-coming of the Unknown Warrior to mark the first Remembrance Day on 11 November 1920.


The Kingdom of Alms

Almshouses had their origins as medieval hospitals, which were run as part of the monastic system. Later, landed gentry built them on their large estates for their infirm workers as did wealthy merchants in towns and cities as an act of Christian virtue. In Victorian times the tradition was revived, in part due to the influence of the philanthropic movement but also again as an act of Christian virtue.
Many monasteries had both an Infirmary and a hospital, one for the sick and one for travellers. Almshouses were originally solely monastic institutions and  by the middle of the 1500s there were about 800 mediaeval hospitals spread across the country but following the dissolution of the monasteries, only a handful remained.
This is the story of how a small West Riding town became famous as ‘The Kingdom of Alms’ due to the number of hospitals, or almshouses, erected in the town during the post- dissolution period and continues in the present day.


The last battle fought on British soil, covering the succession to the British Crown and the reasons behind the Stuart cause, the conflicts of 1745 and their aftermath.



How the First World War ended. The factors both political and military which brought about the end of the conflict; the allied victory; the Treaty of Versailles and the consequences. Especially relevant in the 100th anniversary year.

The History of the English Canals - From 1759 to the present day.

Why and how they were built and who by. Their ‘golden age’ and subsequent replacement first by railways and later by roads, and their renascence as a major leisure facility.

Eric A Jackson JP Contact Details:

01977 791087

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