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Arnold James – 1926-2015

It was recently reported that Arnold James, founder of Arnold JD James (St Albans) and known by many in the building services sector, had passed away at his home in Colney Heath, St Albans.

Arnold was born on 9 April, 1926 in Flaxman Road, Camberwell, south London.

He began an apprenticeship with a local building company when he was just 14 years old.

He attended evening classes at Tottenham Technology College, where he gained his plumbing qualifications, before going on to become a plumber in Welham Green.

In 1958, Mr James started his own company: Arnold JD James (St Albans). While trying to establish the firm, Arnold visited one or two builders and secured work for Miskins, a well-known local building firm that built the County Hall in Hertford. This was followed by gaining contracts for blocks of flats in Luton and St Albans, and factories in Welwyn Garden City. 

It was suggested to Mr James that he join the Hertfordshire County Council’s approved heating and plumbing list. Upon achieving this, the volume of work for his company increased considerably and it was eventually employing 25 fitters and plumbers. 

Nick, his son, joined the company in 1983. Over the years, the firm grew and the premises at Colney Heath Lane became too small.  In 1987, a storage and office facility was purchased at the Metro Centre in St Albans, where the company is still located to this day.

Arnold retired from full-time employment in 1994 but remained as company chairman.

He always worked hard and, up until retiring, only took one week’s holiday a year.

He will be sadly missed by friends and family.

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