He left school at 13 to work as a pony boy at Bower’s Row colliery and later worked hi ay to become Manager at Fryston Colliery and president of the British Association of Colliery Management.
He was a strong Labour Party supporter and pit reformer and in his later year a writer, renowned public speaker at conference’s and on the after dinner circuit.
Despite passing a grammar school exam he followed his grandfather and his father down the pit shortly after the first world he became a professional Boxer using the monies to pay his way through night school.
About the age of 25 he became a deputy at Fryston pit and later a under manager the first man from his village to reach great height’s. Later he gained his first class colliery manager’s certificate and within 6 months became Pit Manager.
Under his management, Fryston was one of the first to get pit head baths in 1935 and he personally organised a sports arena and a Welfare Hall for the miners in Fryston.
As a keen unionist he was instrumental in formation of the British Association of Colliery Management later becoming its President.
He was twice offered a seat in the Lords but refused as it was against his principles. However he accepted an OBE for services to mining from which retired in 1969.
He died at the great age of 92.
Mine Leader Joe Hall once commented Jim’s the only socialist pit manager.
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