Jonathan is a railwayman by profession. He has managed a freight marshalling yard, developed a mathematical model to forecast passenger traffic and taught at Birmingham University and continues to work as an independent-minded consultant. In recent years his passionate belief in public transport has led him to specialise in strategic timetable planning and as a result to become a well-known champion of the Swiss approach to integrated train and bus services. With his wife Brenda he moved to York in 1987, living in Fishergate and running his business from an office above a shop in Stonegate.
Like many people in Britain he has multiple links. His grandparents were a Welsh shop-assistant with a Scottish surname, a grocer and sub-postmaster in Bristol, a Yorkshire miner and a shoddy-picker from the West Riding. His father graduated from Leeds University, but just as his skills as a fast bowler in the Heavy Woollen League were being noticed by Yorkshire Cricket Club his first job took him to Cirencester where he was snapped up to play for Gloucestershire. Yet without that move he would not have met a Bristolian teacher. A further move, triggered by the outbreak of war, meant that Jonathan was born and grew up in Reading, Berkshire where his father became a University Professor.
Jonathan was educated at Reading School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took a first-class degree in History. He joined British Rail as a Traffic Apprentice (a training scheme conceived in York) in 1962. His interest in environmental issues had already begun, and in 1975 he was one of the founders of what is now the Green Party. He played a leading role in its development but left during internal troubles in the 1990s, returning when the Greens won the two seats in Fishergate Ward in 2003. From 2004 to 2010 he chaired the York Environment Forum which helped put sustainability on the City’s agenda. He was the Green Party candidate for York Central in the 2015 General Election.
Jonathan cannot claim his father’s athletic prowess, but he can often be seen in York walking briskly, a trait inherited from his mother. The move to York, after a decade in London and a decade in Birmingham was partly a coming-home to Yorkshire roots, partly pragmatic to take advantage of York’s outstanding connectivity by rail, partly a wish to enjoy what life in a medium-sized historic city can offer and partly the opportunity to explore the countryside. And then as a bonus where our children settled gives us the opportunity to appreciate London’s culture, Edinburgh’s magnificence and the mountains and lochs of Scotland.
The privilege of serving as Sheriff of York in support of the City’s first Green Party Lord Mayor brings these many strands together. We look forward to serving and representing the citizens of York. And there is one more strand: Jonathan’s grandfather was Mayor of the old West Riding Borough of Ossett in 1950/51 and in that capacity was a guest of the then Lord Mayor of York.
Jonathan will be supported in his role as Sheriff of the City of York by his wife and Sheriff’s Lady for the year, Brenda.