Estate pays a final farewell to Claude James
Horse-drawn hearse makes final lap of 'red road'
25 February, 2021 — By Tom Foot
The hearse on the Alexandra and Ainsworth estate
ROWLEY Way fell silent yesterday morning (Wednesday) as a horse-drawn hearse carrying popular tenant champion Claude James made its way through the Alexandra and Ainsworth estate.
Long-standing residents on the historic estate said it was the first time they had seen a horse-drawn carriage come down the “red road” – as the estate’s path is known.
Mr James, who was fondly remembered as a “pillar of the community” in a full obituary a fortnight ago, died in hospital aged 90 last month.
A funeral was held in Quex Road after the hearse had completed a lap of the estate he had lived in since 1978. Born in Guyana, he was still serving as chairman of the Alexandra and Ainsworth Tenants’ and Residents’ Association right up until his death.
Mr James had worked as a Health and Safety manager for British Rail and spent decades as an activist for the Transport and Salaried Staff Association (TSSA) union of which he was a member for 51 years.
A chair of the regional TUC race relations board for 25 years, he was the first black person to be elected to a railway trade union executive committee and the first to become a train station manager at Euston.
He was a member of The Kilburn Older Voices Exchange (Kove), which attended the farewell along with housing tenant reps, and Cllr Thomas Gardiner.