which started life in 1920 as the John Ruskin Boys' Central School. The original
school was founded as a Central school
in Scarbrook Road, Croydon, named after John Ruskin.
With the economy in depression and from a working class background, aspirations to a middle class lifestyle were not easily realised. Jack however went on
to become a building engineer and worked on the Sydney Harbour
The bridge is one of Australia's
most well known and photographed landmarks. It is the world's largest (but not
the longest) steel arch bridge with the top of the bridge standing 134 metres
above the harbour. Fondly known by the locals as the 'Coathanger', the Sydney
Harbour Bridge had its official opening in March 1932. In 1922 the New South
Wales Government had invited worldwide tenders for the construction of the
Bridge and the contract went to English firm Dorman Long and Co of
Middlesbrough. Construction started in 1924 and took 1400 men eight years to
build at a cost of 4.2 million pounds UK. A large picture of the nearly completed bridge at Tower House dated February 1932, endorses Jack's
involvement. For many years it hung at the home of his parents in Addiscombe. Jack also got involved in the development of concrete reinforcing techniques. By adding exposed bolted ends to reinforcing rods in concrete, the compression thus afforded meant that the concrete was substantially strengthened enabling longer bridge spans to be developed. Other projects designed by Jack included the Piermont? Tower, Jersey. In the 1920s Jack's father and brother Fred both went to work on this major project which took a year to build.
Jack's wife was
Vera Smith (Viv) who came from near Ely, Norfolk. They met when he was an engineer working on a local river bridge. Marrying Jack gave her the opportunity to escape the confines of her land owning family. They had a single child Simon, born in 1939. During the War the family lived in Teevan Road, Addiscombe, just around the corner from his parents, however the house was bombed. They then went to live in Bromley moving to Suffolk in 1947 for the health of their son after the great fog of that year. Jack became the proprietor of a building firm based in Leiston. He also became an elected local councilor. When the family moved to Park Farm, Saxmundham, it was anticpated that Simon would manage the agricultural enterprise. Simon however had his own ideas.
During his life
Jack was diabetic. He died of a heart attack just before his father in June 1967 and there was a monumental inscription to him at St Margarets Saxmundham and another on a stone
at Tower House, formerly at Mitcham Road Cemetery, Croydon. Viv went to live in Aldringham, Suffolk after Jack's death.
The twenty first century Sydney Harbour Bridge - Corinna, Iain and Bruce do the bridge climb. Jack would probably never have envisaged such an outcome from his endeavours.... or would he?
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