James Croft. Violin maker and repairer, b Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, 10 Jun 1884, d Winnipeg 4 Sep 1968. Though he moved to Winnipeg in 1904 as an engineer, he had been taught violin making by an uncle at the Hill shop in London, and in 1915 he began building and repairing violins. After a partnership 1921-4 with Arthur Paulus, a violin repairer from New York, Croft devoted his time exclusively to instrument repair and restoration, establishing his name throughout North America. In 1926 he was joined by his son Henry James Croft, and in 1927 their company became the Winnipeg-area representative of the London firm W.E. Hill & Sons. After James Croft's retirement in 1965 the company, which had expanded its retail operation over the years to include pianos, organs, and band instruments, as well as violins, continued under H.J. Croft's direction under the name Croft Music.
In 2002, the shop renewed its focus on violin-making with Anton Domozhyrov as principal luthier. Among those who have trained or worked in Croft's shop include Harold Meyers (James Croft's long time assistant), Art Daher owner of a violin shop in BC, and instrument maker Dominik Zuchowicz.