James Crossland was born on 10 September 1876, at Sheffield the eldest son of James Henry Crossland, RA RCA (1852-1959) a landscape painter of some distinction, and was educated at Old College, Windermere.
He was articled to Thomas H Mawson, Hon. ARIBA. (Lecturer on Landscape Design at Liverpool University) and was Mawson’s first pupil in his business of Landscape Architecture (Town Planning, Civic Art, Design of Public and Private Parks, Gardens, etc.). Following his articles he remained with Mawson, assisting in the design or superintendence of many works including the Gardens for H.M. Queen Alexandra, at Villa Hvidore ; Palace of Peace, the Hague ; also work for H.M. The King of the Hellenes, and many others. Town Planning Schemes for Athens, Exeter, Dunfermline, Calgary, Alta, Regina, Sask., Borden Park, Ottawa, Bolton, Southport, Vancouver City, B.C., and many other places. Designs for Public Parks at Hanley, Staffs., Burslem, Newport, Mon., Cleethorpes, Preston, etc. as assistant. He travelled extensively in Canada, including Ottawa, Regina, Sask., Calgary, Alta, Vancouver, B.C., Edmonton, Alta, Saskatoon, Sask., in connection with Mawson’s Town Planning schemes. From 1901 Crossland ran Mawson’s London office.
He was married on 7 September 1909, to Gladys Maud, second daughter of the Rev. Cyril T. and Mrs. Crossland, of Gleadless Vicarage, near Sheffield.
In 1911 he was elected Licentiate of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and was also an Associate Royal Sanitary Institute, and Gold Medallist of the National Housing and Town Planning Council.