Mr James Bolam, F.E.I.S., ex-Principal of Leith Nautical College, died yesterday at St Helen's, Drumchapel, near Glasgow, the residence of his son, at the age of 91. Mr Bolam retired from the Principalship in 1923, and for the past five years had been living in Glasgow. Although in failing health, he was able to go about until a few days ago.
Born in Newcastle, the son of a farmer, Mr Bolam received his early education in his native town, and began his teaching career in the Trinity Navigation School there. He was transferred to Leith to the old Government Navigation School, and at once identified himself with technical education. He organised evening classes, which proved very successful. He lectured in engineering subjects and mathematics, and while teaching he attended classes at Edinburgh University. Subsequently he was appointed Principal of the Navigation School, which in 1902 was considerably extended and renamed Leith Nautical College. The College was then opened by the late Lord Balfour of Burleigh, who was at the time Secretary for Scotland. During his occupancy of the Chair, technical education in Leith rapidly developed, and it was found necessary to extend the College.
Mr Bolam was honorary secretary of the Forth Defence Committee. A keen cyclist, he was president of the Forth Cycling Club, and he was also a Freemason, being connected with Lodge Trafalgar. Mr Bolam was one of the earliest members of the Educational Institute of Scotland, and was a Justice of the Peace for the county of Midlothian