James worked for four years at English Heritage managing a conservation grants programme for textiles, ceramics, metalwork and stained glass. He returned to conservation in 1994, when he gained his Masters in Architecture from the University of York. He focused on the built heritage of Arabia, with a particular emphasis on Oman, and his dissertation on that country’s vernacular architecture, historic landscapes and falaj system was the first of its kind at Masters level. He subsequently worked as a consultant on heritage conservation projects in Yemen, where he ran workshops at the universities in Sana’a and Aden, and in Jeddah, where he worked with the city’s Historic Area Preservation Department to produce a heritage trail around the old quarter. James also contributed the chapter on aflaj in Salma Samar Damluji’s 1998 book on the architecture of Oman.

Since returning to the UK, James has written extensively on aspects of art, architecture and history, both at home and abroad. He worked on several major book projects for the London Centre of Arab Studies and also managed the National Trust’s academic publishing programme. He has a particular interest in vernacular buildings and was instrumental in The Breckland Society’s 2004–7 survey of traditional architecture in the Brecks; click here to download the project report. He has also been interviewed on various radio and TV programmes, including BBC One’s Countryfile and BBC Two’s Great British Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo.

Click below to see examples of James’s work.

Apollo, July 1995
Review of Blair & Bloom’s “The Art & Architecture of Islam”

S S Damluji’s “The Architecture of Oman”, 1998
Chapter on Aflaj

Saudi Aramco World, Jan/Feb 1999
A Man for his Century

Saudi Aramco World, Jan/Feb 2004
Mapping Arabia

Bulletin of the Society of Arabian Studies 2008
Review of The Architecture of Yemen by S S Damluji (go to page 46)

Daily Express, 3 Sept 2009
The Town That Grew Rich on Rabbits

Daily Express, 22 February 2010
Diamonds, Spies and Betrayal: Maharajah Duleep Singh

Daily Express, 19 July 2010
Richard Meinertzhagen: A Life Built on Lies

Daily Express, 12 August 2010
Memoirs of An Arabian Princess

Daily Express, 31 January 2011
Incredible Life of an Aristocratic Lady Adventurer

The Daily Telegraph, 17 December 2011
Calcutta Architecture

Daily Express, 22 December 2011
The ‘Other’ Sandringham

Bulletin of the British Foundation for the Study of Arabia 2012 (page 47)
Review of Dubai High by Michael Schindhelm

Daily Express, 28 May 2012
Museums Hit By Major Crime Wave

Gulf Life, June 2012 (page 52)
Atlantis of the Sands

Wizz magazine, June 2012
Skopje and Lake Ohrid

Wizz magazine, October 2012
Faces of Skopje

Daily Express, 5 November 2012
The Vicar of Stiffkey

Daily Express, 9 October 2014
The Forgotten War

Daily Express, 14 November 2014
Animals in War

Daily Express, 8 December 2014
Gifts of Magi

PrivatAir, April 2015
“He was killed right here”: storytelling in Zululand