Reginald William James AMInstCE MIMechE FCIPA was born 10 July 1863, the son of William James of the Bank of England and his wife Louisa.
He left Merchant Taylors in 1879 and went to Birkbeck College to study engineering. He served his apprenticeship in the marine engine and boiler works of J Penn & Sons at Greenwich from 1879 to 1884, during which period he was also engaged on work in connection with the trial trips of various vessels. From 1885 to 1887 he was attached to the staff of Sir John Fowler Bt, consulting engineer to the New South Wales Government, and took charge of large railway contracts and other constructional works. He subsequently occupied a similar position under Sir A Rendel, consulting engineer to the Indian State Railways.
In 1888 he became a partner in the firm of Fell & James with J C Fell, a past-president or the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents, and practised in the City of London for fifty years as a consulting engineer and chartered patent agent.
James was for sixteen years the principal proprietor and editor of The Marine Engineer and Naval Architect, a periodical now known as The Marine Engineer and Motor Ship Builder.
He was the first Mayor of Bromley, Kent, to be a native of the borough, was elected to serve a second term and took an active interest in the provision of the municipal building.
The many positions he held included those of chairman of the Land Drainage Committee of the Thames Catchment Area, and commissioner of sewers for that river from Lombard’s Wharf to Greenhithe. He was chairman of the West Kent Main Sewerage Board, of which he was a member for nearly forty years, and was also vice-chairman of the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th Metropolitan Water Boards.
He was a member of both the Institutes of Civil Engineers and Mechanical Engineers and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents.
He was Master of the Lodge in 1906.
He died 14 November 1940.