Jack Lawrence Earnshaw



Jack was born in Twickenham, Middlesex in 1947. He attended Trafalgar Infant and Junior Schools and later Thames Valley Grammar School. After he left school he studied mathematics at Brunel University gaining a B. Tech. Hons. 2-1 degree in 1969. He was enrolled in a sandwich course and therefore needed an employer during the summer months. He worked at the Ministry of Defence Admiralty Research Laboratory in Teddington for three enjoyable summers discovering computers. Computer Aided Design (CAD) became his obsession and he learned a lot about the fledgling industry of designing ships by computer. During his final year he was determined to earn his living in the field of CAD. but rather than work for the M.o.D. he applied to work for the company that originated the ideas, namely British Aircraft Corporation at Weybridge.
For the next two years he worked on a new generation of CAD software to improve the design of Concorde, Tornado and other aircraft. He recalled that B.A.C. Weybridge was a great place to work at the end of the 1960s. It was the home of motor racing, and where some wonderful aircraft were being designed and built including the V.C.10, Concorde, B.A.C. 1-11, and B.A.C. 3-11. Sir Barnes Wallis was still working there on futuristic designs. He watched the last V.C.10 take off and hoped to see test pilot, Brian Trubshaw, fly past in a Concorde. But he didn’t turn up as he considered it too much of a risk, with thousands of people lining the runway.
Whilst at B.A.C. Jack met Sue Howell and they married in Trevone, near Padstow, Cornwall in 1971. They have three sons:- Paul (b.1977), Nicholas (b. 1978) and Michael b. (1981). They also have one granddaughter who was born in 2009. Before moving to Wokingham in 1975, the Earnshaw family lived in Walton-on-Thames for four years. In Wokingham they lived in the same house in Copse Drive for 32 years.
Eventually he decided to return to the M.o.D. to take his experience and ideas back into ship design. Jack worked at Teddington for three years before taking up a position as computer manager at Sperry Gyroscope in Bracknell, Berkshire. Soon after he commenced work at Sperry, he realised that he didn’t like driving 30 miles each way so the family moved from Walton-on-Thames to Wokingham. The Sperry Corporation eventually sold out  to British Aerospace, and after a few years, decided to close the factory in Bracknell. Jack’s job then went full circle as he was transferred back to Weybridge to manage the development of CAD software. In 1993 redundancy came and he then spent a year without an income, but used the recently acquired skills of Outplacement to work in the local job support centre to help others to look for work. During the next few years he worked for the NHS in Exeter and for Berkshire County Council during its last year before it was disbanded in favour of Unitary Authorities. For the next five years he worked for Dun & Bradstreet as a project manager.
Unhappy with the poor condition of local roads and park Jack decided to attend meetings of the local residents’ association and the town council. Soon afterwards he decided to stand for election himself and after two attempts was elected to Wokingham Town Council.
He was a member of Wokingham Town Council for sixteen years and loved every minute of them, despite occasional rows. During this period he chaired most of the committees and had the honour of being elected mayor during which he had to attend many events, quite often three or four a day.
Having been bitten by politics, he stood for election to Wokingham District Council in which he was a member for eleven years. In 1998 the county council was abolished and W.D.C. took over their powers which dramatically increased the workload. After a year in the new cabinet system Jack decided that he had had enough and didn’t stand again for election preferring to concentrate on Wokingham Town Council. That also gave him more time to spend on genealogy.
In addition to civic life Jack was a trustee of several charities over the years including Wokingham United Charities, Emmbrook Village Hall and Wokingham District Cancer Care Trust and was active with Holt Copse Conservation Volunteers and Friends of the Emmbrook. He was also governor of Emmbrook Junior School and a committee member of Joel Park Residents Association before being elected to the Town Council.
Following retirement Jack and Sue now live in the village of Burrington in North Devon. There are only 500 people in the whole parish and only about 200 of those are in the village proper. In addition to continuing with research into his family tree, Jack is now spending much of his time doing DIY repairs to their 400 year old cottage. As one would expect, Jack is now a Parish Councillor and is running a committee to create a Community Shop in the village, amongst several other committees he has joined.


Former Town Mayors of Wokingham from 1980 - 2015, by J Bell.




“Jack Lawrence Earnshaw,” Wokingham's Virtual Museum, accessed September 22, 2020, https://wokingham-tc.gov.uk/museum/document/WTH0171.



Mayor 1997

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