Born: Ralph Ward Jackson was born on 7th June 1806 at Normanby Hall. He was the son of William Ward Jackson and Susanna Atkins from Berkshire. He had two older brothers, five younger brothers and a sister.


Educated: He was sent to the prestigious Rugby School.


Married: In 1829 Ralph Ward Jackson married Susanna Swainson, daughter of Charles Swainson of Cooper Hill, Lancashire.


Family: Ralph and Susanna had one surviving son. Their other children died in infancy.


Home: Ralph and Susanna lived at Greatham Hall


Known for: Ralph Ward Jackson was a solicitor in Stockton. He founded the Stockton and Hartlepool Railway Company in 1836 and built West Hartlepool harbour and docks between 1844 and 1856. He is regarded as the founder of the town of West Hartlepool. He was chairman of the Board of Improvement Commissioners for West Hospital from 1854 to 1870. His company invested in railways, docks and collieries, but he overstepped the mark when he bought a fleet of steamships. This was deemed irregular and he had to resign from the board and the company was taken over by the North Eastern Railway. 1868 he became the first M.P. for the new parliamentary constituency of Hartlepool and West Hartlepool combined. Three years after his death, a park was laid out and named after him: Ward Jackson Park. A statue of him was placed on Church Street in 1897.


Died: Ralph Ward Jackson died on 6th August 1880 in London.


Further Information: “Jackson’s Town” Eric Waggott (1980): “Durham Biographies” volume 1” (ed. Gordon R. Batho (2000)