Former St Albans finance chief dies aged 92

Clifford James

Clifford James - Credit: Archant

Long-serving St Albans council finance director Clifford James has died at the age of 92 after a short illness.

Tricycle pic mentioned in the copy

Tricycle pic mentioned in the copy - Credit: Archant

Although he was in that role for 14 years, his employment in local government started much earlier - at the age of 14 he left school and quickly found a job as a junior clerk in the engineering department of the then Harpenden Urban district council.

Clifford, who was born in Harpenden in 1923, worked in local government - apart from wartime service in the Royal Artillery - until his retirement from St Albans council in 1988.

After demobilisation Clifford returned to local government, switching to the finance department. He passed his accountancy exams in 1955 and after a series of promotions, he was appointed treasurer in 1965.

The next big career step came in 1974 when, following local government reorganisation, he was appointed director of finance at St Albans council where he remained until retirement in 1988.


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Clifford’s son David said his father loved the area and had first-hand knowledge of the many changes in Harpenden over the years. He remembered the village pond by the Cross Keys pub and the course of the River Harp, a small patchy stream that ran the length of the High Street.

David added: “While browsing through some old files at the council offices he found an official photograph taken in 1927 to record the result of a road improvement scheme.

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“In the background was a small boy on a tricycle accompanied by two women in cloche hats. The boy was Clifford aged four, accompanied by his mother and an aunt.”

Clifford married Muriel in 1954 and the couple lived in Harpenden throughout their 50 years of marriage. She died in 2008.

A keen gardener, music lover and amateur pianist, increasing frailty meant that Clifford moved to Westcliff-on-Sea for the last years of his life to live with his daughter and grandson but he was always eager for news about Harpenden.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be confirmed.

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