Jackson had entered Scott’s office as a pupil the year before Scott’s climb down over the Foreign Office design in 1858. He was already a graduate of Wadham College, Oxford, where he had been a scholar, but his father had decided that he should become an architect. As they lived near the Scotts at Hampstead, he arranged for his son to meet Scott, who took him to the Brompton Boilers to see the casts. Young Jackson wanted to be a painter and sent his sketches to Burne-Jones, but the response was not encouraging, so he acceeded to his father’s wishes and entered Scott’s office, with his father producing the necessary 300 guinea premium. He was involved in the restoration of Chichester Cathedral in February 1861.
Jackson completed his pupilage in 1862 and set up in practice on his own, but still carried out various jobs for Scott, including some spectacular perspective drawings of the Midland Grand Hotel and the Government Offices. It was Richard Coad who taught Jackson how to set-up perspective drawings and Jackson produced some excellent perspective drawings for Scott’s major projects including an amazing interior view of the curved Coffee Room of the Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras Station. He was a close friend of John Oldrid Scott and developed a large architectural practice based, particularly, on his Oxford connections. He was showered with honours in his later career, notably a Baronetcy in 1913, and the Royal Gold Medal in 1910, but his numerous rather dull buildings are somewhat outshone by his scholarly writings, particularly Modern Gothic Architecture of 1873, which is a much clearer statement of the theories of the Gothic Revival than Scott ever produced. He was certainly the most publically acclaimed of the Spring Gardens alumni, and had joined the Spring Gardens Sketch Club in 1866, but his architecture, which was often Elizabethan in style, lacks the flair of others, such as George Gilbert Scott junior and Bodley.