Jackson of Coley

Towards the end of the nineteenth century Harry Percy Jackson was apprenticed to a Brighouse joiner named Booth. In the early years of the following century he started his own business.  In 1906 he moved to Coley, naming his house ‘Morriscot’ in recognition of the influence on his work and life of William Morris, the Victorian poet, artist, craftsman, decorator and social reformer.  During the First World War Jackson lost two of his three sons.  The survivor, Harry Percy junior, spent some years travelling the world after the war before returning to Coley where he joined his father in business.  Harry Percy, senior, was hurt in an accident near the Stone Chair, Shelf, in 1930 and, although he recovered from his injuries, he never carved again.

Jackson used only traditional tools in his carving, eschewing modern machinery, and his Gothic style can give his work the appearance of dating from an earlier period. However, what is most clear is the intricacy and artistry of his creations; without a doubt he deserves to be known more widely.  Most of his work was for churches – screens, pulpits, reredoses, stalls. St. Matthew’s, Lightcliffe, and St. Matthew’s, Northowram, contain examples of his wonderful craftmanship.  However, the most accessible example of his fine work is in the Jackson Room of Brighouse Central Library.

The four-poster bed in the photograph, and the carving in the room in which it is situated, were commissioned by millowner Arthur Davy of Blankney Grange, Lower Wyke, who sponsored Jackson in the early years of the woodcarver’s career.  Two prominent members of the Independent Labour Party, Keir Hardie, their first M.P. and Ramsay MacDonald, the party’s first prime minister, are reputed to have slept in the bed (on separate occasions!) when it was at Jackson's home in Brighouse.  The bed was auctioned in 1946 and its whereabouts are unknown.

                                                                                                                                                             RMH

1 Comment

  1. Arthur Davy would be rolling in his grave to find that you've mispelt his name. For clarity: DAVY Check St Mary's churchyard for his wife's grave: Edith Alice Davy 28 Dec 1876 - 6 July 1924

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