|Recognised by Sport England as the Governing Body for Pool in England|
James Albert Miles was born in Shere, trained as an engineer at the former Denis works in Guildford, spent some time working in what was then Persia, and ended up in Shalford where he lived from 1956 until he died.
Dad was a self-taught snooker player. He learned the game by watching and as soon as technology made it possible, he would record championships and watch them repeatedly to improve his game. At one stage he was asked to become a professional. He decided against this for two reasons. First, he wanted a stable income to support his wife and three young children. Second, he feared that his love for the game would be affected if he made it his job as well. And he did truly have a love first for snooker and then for pool.
He also loved his job as a design engineer and later as a trouble-shooter on oil rig flow systems. As a young man he set up the one-table Ward Street Snooker Club in Guildford. I remember as a young girl peering over the edge of the table and looking up into clouds of cigarette smoke around the central table lights. When the rents became impossible it was taken over by a national company and became, I think, Colours Snooker Club.
His old table came to live in our attic, minus the lead. He could never quite part from it. He was born on August 10, 1923, and died on November 7th, 2013. I was always told never to tell anyone associated with either snooker or pool his real age as, in his late eighties, he let everyone believe he was about 70 - and he clearly got away with it. When he was 90 he had his first birthday party.
He was not an openly affectionate man, but I remember, as they met, the obvious connection between Jim and Bob Taylor born of the passion they shared for pool and the memories they had of playing together. My dad was something of a pedant, but it came from a genuine desire to understand how things worked and how they could work better. And this he applied to his game, I am told, to great effect. He was always reluctant to mix home life with his game life as he would have been conflicted between concentrating on the play and looking after his family.
I know little about his competitive life other than that trophies filled every available space in our home, in boxes under beds and alongside the carefully stored table in the attic. He frequently appeared in the local papers but never really talked about it at home.
I remember fondly a match at the World Championships which Jim was Refereeing between two of the Junior players. When one youngster potted a difficult ball, Jim resounded, “What a jolly good shot!”, much to the amusement of the crowd.