Brian's big find makes for fascinating reading at March Society talk
The extraordinary life story of Jeremiah Jackson was described by Wisbech Museum trustee Brian Payne at a fascinating talk given to the March Society.
Mr Payne told members how in 2007, he came across an unopened box in the basement of Wisbech Museum. Museum records showed that the box had been deposited there in 1945 but had not been opened. On opening the box, Brian found a collection of 59 beautifully written, meticulously detailed diaries produced by Jeremiah Jackson.
Born in 1775, Jackson was a scholar then Fellow at St Johns College Cambridge, a member of the Wisbech Corporation, the first headmaster of Wisbech Grammar School, vicar of Elm and a magistrate.
Jackson recorded that when work hadn’t finished in Wisbech, they adjourned to March. He created the first library at Wisbech and was involved in planning Wisbech’s drainage system. He fathered 16 children - seven of them dying early.
He started his diaries in 1812, which include descriptions of life in Wisbech and surrounding areas and include cases from the magistrate’s court, notes of Wisbech Corporation meetings, ice-skating on the canal, hot-air balloons, local circuses and visits to the Angles Theatre.
Mr. Payne’s research shows that Jackson was a somewhat quarrelsome man. He had many disagreements with museum officials, other magistrates, councillors as well as the Bishop. Brian estimates that Jackson’s diaries contain about a million and a half words. He has set himself the task of transcribing the entire collection on to CD.
The next March Society event is on Wednesday March 9 at 7pm in March Library. Gemma Wells Community Engagement Officer of RSPB Ouse Washes will talk on ‘Wildlife in the Landscape of the Fens’.
All are welcome and there will be tea, coffee and biscuits.
For more details, please visit www.themarchsociety.org.uk and on Facebook and Twitter.