21st December 1927 – 26th June 2017
Jim Marsden was admitted a Durham Freeman to the Curriers Company on 3rd November 2008.
Born in Whinney Hill, Jim moved to Misletoe Street and attended St Margaret’s School then the Durham Johnston School. He spent much of his youth pursuing country pastimes around the family’s brickyard ponds at Tursdale, and in WW2 at age 16 he volunteered for the Royal Observer Corps. Called up in 1945 he served in the UK and Germany as an ordnance disposal expert with the Royal Engineers, then as a Battery Surveyor with the Royal Artillery. At his demob he became an articled pupil in civil engineering with Durham County Council, and on his 25th birthday, having already passed all his professional exams, he became the youngest person in the UK to have ever qualified as a Chartered Engineer.
One of Jim’s first positions with DCC was as Rights of Way Officer for the County, then Resident Engineer for the Felling By-Pass and the construction of the current Baths Bridge, before becoming Head of the DCC Highways Lab. Married in 1957, Jim designed and built a bungalow behind Claypath, which he lived in for the remainder of his life. In 1967 he was appointed Chief Materials Engineer for the NE Road Construction Unit, working on all the motorways and trunk roads from the Borders to the Humber. He ended his career aged 65 as Chief Materials Engineer for Bullen and Partners and Lead Assessor for the National Physics Laboratories.
Jim served on many national and local bodies, including the Rescue Section of the NE Civil Defence Corps, Secretary to the Durham University Geological Society, on the NE Sports Council, and as Chairman then Vice-President of the Durham City Angling Club … he was a passionate trout and salmon fisherman, and also a keen boating enthusiast.
He was immensely proud of his City and County, and especially proud to be admitted as a Freeman and to see his son Robert and granddaughter Nicola follow him into the Curriers.