Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Councillor Phillip Lewis

From the December 1948 quarterly issue of Y Gurnosydd came an article on Councillor Phillip Lewis, interviewed by third-former Gordon Jenkins.

In the year 1888 Lower Cwmtwrch was a small little hamlet sleeping quite soundly beside the bubbling waters of the noisy Twrch. Life was quiet and the facilities for self-advancement very few and into this uninspiring background Councillor P Lewis entered.

He went as a boy to Tro'glion School and what a school that was! The headmaster tells me that Tro'glion School has a better story than Rugby itself. He left school when he was 14 and like other boys went to the pit and he remained in the mine till 1939.

Mr Lewis's life in the pits has been quite adventurous. For many years he was Chairman of his Pit Committee, then Secretary and lastly Compensation Secretary. He held his offices in those days when Trade Unionism meant fighting and fighting hard too, in order to maintain its privileges.

In addition he had taken a great deal of interest in local affairs. He was appointed in 1935 a member of the Ystradgynlais Rural District Council and he still represents the Gurnos Ward on the official body. But Mr Lewis's greatest contribution to social progress has been in the field of Health. Many years he sat at the feet of a scholarly, venerable old man Mr T R Thomas, Headmaster of Tro'glion School, who inspired the young Mr Lewis to study Physiology, First Aid etc. For a man who has received no education, in the sense we know of it today, Mr Lewis's record is impressive. In 1918 he was appointed a member of The Swansea Hospital Board of Management and he is still a member. He has been Chairman of the Board of Management for two years and for four years Chairman of its House Committee and when the New Health Service came into being this year he was made a member of The Swansea Area Hospital Management Committee and he is the Chairman of The General Purposes Committee. He is also Chairman of The Amman Valley House Committee.

Mr Lewis is an ex-miner and he is well known for his work amongst the miners. He was Secretary of the Tirbach Lodge for many years and when the colliery closed he was then its Compensation Secretary. In 1935 he was elected a member of the Ystradgynlais Rural District Council and he is still a member of that body.

After such activity it was rather difficult to ask about his hobbies. He is fond of music and Rugby Football and though he is still working, we hope that he will continue to carry on for there is still plenty of work to do in the district.

Gordon Jenkins
Form 3A

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