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James, who was born on October 1st 1867, was the second of the brothers, but the first to play for Hunslet, making a guest appearance in the 1885-86 season. Whilst at college he had a soccer trial with Preston North End and played in the local league for Hunslet Welsleyans and as well as playing rugby for Leeds Parish Church and Hunslet. He is best remembered as an authority on the game of rugby league and as one of the quickest members of the Hunslet threequarters in the early days of the club.
In the 1892 Yorkshire Cup Final when Hunslet defeated Leeds by 21 points to 0, at Huddersfield, James or Jimmy as he was known scored two tries. One a memorable length of the field effort after having collected the ball under his own posts.
James scored a drop goal whilst playing for the Yorkshire Probables in the 1889 - 90 season and was selected as travelling reserve although he never played for the county.
After having made over 150 appearances for Hunslet his playing career came to a premature close because of an injury sustained in a match at Heckmondwike, following a tackle from Dicky Lockwood.
James was appointed secretary of Hunslet in 1905. The minutes of a committe meeting held on July 21st 1905 state "Four gentlemen's names were brought before the committee as candidates for the position as Secretary and after some discussion it was proposed by Mr T Hart and seconded by Mr W Taylor that Mr Jas Goldthorpe be appointed secretary. (Carried)".He was due to begin on 1st August and the appointment was subject to three months notice on either side. Albert Goldthorpe then proposed "that we appoint a sub committee of eight to draw up a list of duties of said secretary."
In February 1907 that James was appointed company secretary of the Leeds Cricket, Football and Athletic club. Here he played a leading part in negotiations to bring many famous players to the club, notably ' Dinny' Campbell the Australian, Willie Davies the Welsh International centre, Jim Bacon from Cross Keys and W E Bowen another Welsh international. One of the tasks he set himself was to compile the records of the club from its formation in 1890. These were published in booklet form in 1911.
During the war James served as an Inspector with the Leeds Auxiliary Fire Brigade which he combined with his duties as club secretary and his profession of teaching. In the autumn of 1922 James resigned from both the club and his profession to enable him to work for a business in the city.
For many years James wrote a weekly article in the Sports Echo and he was a regular spectator at Headingley where he was usually seen with his notebook, in which he kept a record of all events. All his notes were carefully and neatly written up in books he kept at his home. James lived with his wife Harriet, son Cyril and daughter May firstly at 19 Stanmore Street then later at 21 Buckingham Road, both near the Headingley ground. Cyril was later to marry Lilian who according to family recollections became a member of the Ivy Benson all girl band, one of the top groups of that era, however facts do not appear to support these memories.
James and Harriet were the 4th and 5th people made honorary life members of the Leeds Cricket, Football and Athletic Club.
James's death, on the 8th of January 1942, removed one of the keenest enthusiasts from the game and left an empty seat just to the left of the press box at Headingley.
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