Jack Straw was a name I was familiar with from my teens when I went to Bristol University. The late 60’s were a time of lively student activities and Jack Straw seemed to be a firebrand at the fore of the action (just like the rebel Jack Straw of the 16th century Peasant’s Revolt after whom the castle in Hampstead Heath is named). So it was exciting after moving to Loughton to discover that the same Jack Straw of my student days was a local.
Not only that but his elder sister Susie worked with Sheila and Jack went to Staples Road School where Danae, Louisa and Thom went (later, Danae and Louisa also went to Leeds University which was Jack’s alma mater too). Then I found out that Jack’s mother, Joan Ormstron, was a head teacher in Newham and I got to know her quite well. I even met Jack at a social function to celebrate the centenary (?) of Staples Road.
It was a bit of a disappointment therefore to discover that the straw man had feet of clay and instead of becoming the heroic prime minister of Britain he became the lickspittle of Tony Blair. Sad. But then who does live up to promise?
Nevertheless, because of all the connections, I have bought his auto-biography and when out cycling I passed 101, Pyrles Lane where he was brought up. No blue plaque, though!