Born in Methley at St Margarets Road, the family later moving to the ‘newer’ houses on Savile Road. Ron attended Mickletown School from 1931 to 1937 and then on to Normanton Grammar School until 1943.
I wonder if he ever thought when he was kicking his heels as a youngster near the old bus shelter built into the Landsale at Savile Pit (as he must have done at some time) that one day he would get to be Colliery Manager there.
He joined the St Oswald’s church choir by pursuasion when, after being caught trespassing with his mate Ken Smith near Shann House. The tenant, Bob Farrer who was the choirmaster said ‘Now then what are you two up to?’ To which the feeble reply was ‘We’re only looking for wild flowers’. ‘Wild flowers! Wild flowers!’ exclaimed Farrer ‘If you come to choir practice on Friday I’ll not take the matter any further’. This was to be the start of a long association for the pair of them as choristers and later bellringers at the church.
After leaving school, an unsuccessful spell at County Hall, Wakefield prepared the way for him to go for a proper job as an electricians apprentice at Peckfield Colliery, Micklefield.
I’m not sure how he managed, biking it 8 miles there but the return journey which included the downhill Mary Pannel hill would have been a tad quicker. Luckily for him, Lewis Snr. was appointed to the job of Enginewright at the same pit where they secured a house virtually in the pit yard, ending his 3 year (4,000 miles /year) trek. That additional travelling must have provided an incentive to ambition, because after getting his electricians papers he went on to qualifying as a Mining Engineer in 1953.
This enabled him to get on the ladder – as a shotfirer at Methley Junction Pit, which brought him back to Little Church Lane Methley (No more biking) with subsequent stints at Whitwood and Primrose Hill as Undermanager and Fox Pit, Altofts as Colliery Manager.
So there he was, 1966 and driving in past that old bus shelter at Savile Landsale no doubt looking forward to a warm welcome from some of his old schoolmates. He got one from Ted Portman, Fred Howson, Jimmy Gee and the colliers of No.3 Panel Beeston seam.
Ron was also President of the Miners Welfare (Stute), inheriting a not uncomplicated responsibility there that went with the job. His term at Savile was clearly successful, productivity had increased greatly during his stay and he left to become manager at superpit Kellingley. Now treading the retirement boards, he tells me among other things he likes to look at this web site.