Mr James Hart was born in Didsbury, Manchester, Lancashire, England in the latter half of 1858.
He was the son of James Hart (b. 1823), a beer retailer, and his wife Maria, née Windus (b. 1829). His father hailed from Kent and his mother from Hampshire and they had married in St Thomas' Church, Winchester on 22 December 1851. He had three known siblings: Maria (b. 1853), Mary Ann (b. 1854) and George (b. 1857).
James and his family appear on the 1861 census living at an unidentifiable address in Rusholme, Lancashire. His movements over the next years are unknown, but when he shows up on the 1911 census he was lodging at 51 College Street, St Mary, Southampton and was described as an unmarried ship's fireman.
When he signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, James gave his address as 51 College Street, (Southampton) and his previous ship as the Olympic. As a fireman he could expect to earn monthly wages of £6.
James Hart died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
A few weeks after the disaster the press reported that a man named Thomas Hart who had been missing for some time turned up on his mother's doorstep claiming to have had his discharge book stolen and that another man, identity unknown, had boarded the Titanic under his name and been lost.
Read the full story in Senan Molony's article The Hart of the Matter.