Frank Jackson (1910-2004, Wales)
Born in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales in 1910, Frank Jackson’s paternal grandfather, Abraham Zarchin, had emigrated from Georgia, then part of Russia, to escape the pogroms of the 1880s, anglicising his name in the process. Frank's first commercial experience was mending windows in the neighbourhood during school holidays. The family moved to London where his father, a tailor, switched to being a tobacconist in Tottenham Court Road. Jackson took an honours degree in Chemistry at University College London.
During the 1930/31 depression, he started a student newspaper, with natural leanings towards Communism. This experience took him to Moscow, where he learnt Russian and for three years from 1933 was deputy editor of the English-language Moscow Daily News. He had problems with Kremlin censorship: "Every story had to be sent upwards for approval and there were frustrating delays before anything came down again."
Jackson and his wife Janet, whom he had married in 1932, returned to Britain just before the 1936 purges.
Later in life, Frank Jackson founded and built up a national civil engineering and construction group in Britain. At one stage, he directly employed 600 people. He later used his millions to fund environmental research, founding the Jackson Environment Institute in 1993 at University College London.
Sources: The Independent August 12th 2004;