Ask Alicia – John N. Jackson


I am have come across a number of books about St. Catharines written by John Jackson. I know he was a Brock professor but can you please tell me a little more about him?



Thanks for your question Darlene. John Jackson was definitely a very significant figure in the world of history and geography in the Niagara Region.

John N. Jackson was born in Nottingham, England in 1928. In 1942 he joined the British Navy and served in WWII, mainly working on a British aircraft carrier. His military service brought him to places such as; Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Australia. On the day of the Hiroshima bombing, Jackson was stationed in Sydney, Australia. Eight months after the bombing he visited the Japanese port city with his fellow sailors. Due to his exposure to residual radiation in Hiroshima, he lost all of his hair.

Once he returned from the war, Jackson studied Geography at Birmingham University where he achieved a BA. He continued his education at Manchester University, obtaining a PhD.  Jackson met his future wife Kathleen Nussey at Birmingham U. His wife passed away in 2004. Jackson had three children; Andrew (Karen), Susan (Robert Evans) and Paul.

John Jackson had worked as a visiting associate professor at the University of British Columbia in 1962-63 before accepting a position at Brock University. Jackson was appointed head of the Geography Department at Brock in 1965. He remained at Brock for 25 years, retiring in 1991. Jackson had been honoured with the title of Professor Emeritus. During his time working at Brock and living in the Niagara region, Jackson developed a strong interest in the geography and history of the area.

John Jackson book signing at St. Catharines Museum. Photo Attribution: St. Catharines Standard Collection, StCM, S1976.9.12

Jackson was a prolific writer and focused his research and publications on the history and evolution of St. Catharines and other canal-side communities. He was also interested in the impact of the Welland Canals on local and regional settlement and development patterns, the evolution of local government, the effect of railways and roads, issues of land use and abuse and various other aspects that have shaped and changed Niagara. Jackson wrote over 50 reports, studies, articles and books. (Some books were co-authored).

John Jackson was also very active in the community. He was co-organizer, speaker and tour guide of the Niagara Peninsula History Conference; was a member of the Bruce Trail Association and the Welland Canals Foundation. He was also an advocate for the creation of the Welland Canals Parkway trail.

Jackson passed away in 2010 and was survived by his 3 children and 3 grandchildren. A memorial service was held at the Pond Inlet room at Brock University.

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