Councillor J A Hart, M.B.E.

Councillor John Albert ("Jack") Hart (1913 - 2010) was one of the longest-serving Council members.  He was first elected to the County Borough of East Ham on the 27th November 1935 - the eve of his 23rd birthday - and was then the youngest member of the Council. His working life was spent with the Post Office, in which he began as a boy of 15, and for which he received the award of the M.BE. following his retirement in 1972.

Almost 10 years before the Education Act 1944, he saw as his first objective the need for an education system geared to provide every youngster with the opportunity of receiving further education.

A man of idealism and acutely conscious of the grave danger threatening the residents of East Ham from the ever increasing competition in air armaments between the Great Powers, he was instrumental in 1938 in the action taken by East Ham Council unanimously to pass a resolution urging the Government to prepare plans for the disarmament.  At the time he was secretary of the East Ham branch of the League of Nations Union. From 1940 to the end of the war Councillor Hart served in the Royal Air Force, returning to Council service whenever this was possible.

Councillor Hart had held every major elective office in his local government career: a former Mayor of the old County Borough of East Ham; Chairman of the Joint Co-ordinating Authority which brought together the County Boroughs of East and West Ham prior to the creation of the London Borough of Newham in 1965, and successively Deputy Leader and Leader of the Council for a total of 17 years.

As Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee for nine years, Councillor Hart was responsible for the direction of the Council's financial policies and led deputations to Government Ministers in the Council's campaigns for greater assistance from central Government to meet Newham's needs as an outer London Borough with Inner City problems. He also argued the Council's case for the creation of a separate Health District for the Borough and this was successfully achieved in 1982.

Recognising the need for good community relations in the Borough, Councillor Hart as Leader readily accepted the invitation to chair the meetings of the Newham Race Relations Association.

He was also closely involved in the redevelopment of the Docklands area.

In 1985 Councillor Hart was awarded the Honorary Freedom of the Borough in recognition of 50 years' distinguished public service to the former East Ham Council and the London Borough of Newham.  

A member of the Labour Party since 1928, Councillor Hart had dedicated the whole of his adult life to service in the community and achieved a hitherto unparalleled period of public service to the Borough.

Councillor J A Hart, M.B.E.