The largest Steel Stockholders and Steel Suppliers in the UK

In Memory of James Barrett

01 February 2023

It’s with deepest sadness we announce that our Group Managing Director James Barrett passed away last week after a long and brave battle with cancer, whilst surrounded by his family.
Apart from his family, James’s greatest passion in life was this business. James dedicated his whole working life to Barrett Steel, and it brought him so much pride.
When asked what sets Barrett Steel apart from other stockholders, without hesitation, James always replied, “we have the best people”. James was so excited about the future of Barrett Steel, and we are heartbroken he won’t be alongside us to be a part of it. 
James began his career at Barrett Steel in 1974, starting the 6th generation of a family business that has been central to the UK steel industry for over 150 years. Over the years, James’s passion for the steel industry and the people within it never waned. One of James’s proudest achievements was guiding the growth of Barrett Steel from a single site stockholder to its current position as the largest steel stockholder and processor in the UK.
From its headquarters in Bradford, Barrett Steel grew under James’s leadership to have over 30 operational sites in the UK, employing over 1000 people. Central to James’s philosophy of growth was to maintain and support local stockholding businesses, whilst providing employment opportunities and supporting communities. Our colleagues across the UK continue this work today by offering sponsorship to local clubs, as well as volunteering time or fundraising at local charities or community projects.
In the last 10 years alone, Barrett Steel Limited has raised over £50k for charities such as Mind UK, Air Ambulances UK, and Macmillan Cancer Support amongst many others. This is in addition to local community fundraising regularly undertaken across our depots.
James was highly respected within the wider business community, often being called upon by representatives from the UK Government and Banking organisations to advise on the position of the steel industry in the market.  
Aside from his passion for his work he enjoyed nothing more than spending time with loved ones. A true family man, James was happily married to Francine for 42 years and together they raised four children Tom, Giles, Lucy, and Guy. James took great pleasure in travel, particularly for family holidays and was affectionately referred to as Bop-Bop by his many grandchildren. James was also an avid sports fan, regularly frequenting Twickenham along with Elland Road to cheer on England and Leeds United beside family, suppliers, and customers.  

We are sure you all have your own memories of James, but the characters and personalities he worked with within our business and industry brought him such joy, fun and friendship. These relationships played a huge part in his life and reflected in the man he was. 
Although we are desperately sad now, Barrett Steel has a bright future and his legacy will live on through us all, of that we have no doubt. 
Funeral arrangements to celebrate the life of James will be announced in due course.

Please take time to share your memories of James or leave a message to the family below.

In Memory of James Barrett

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