Kenneth Place

KENNETH Walter Place, a retired West Yorkshire shoe retailer who followed his father and grandfather into the footwear industry although he originally trained as an engineer, has died aged 88.

He was a talented man who turned his hand to many skills and hobbies, including building the family home and being an accomplished wood carver. He was born in Hunslet, Leeds, and after the family moved to Horsforth when he was a small boy was educated at Featherbank Primary School, Horsforth and West Leeds High School.

On leaving school, he worked at Kirstall Forge as an engineer and later as a draughtsman, having studied at night school for his Higher National Certificate in mechanical engineering.

But in the 1950s he opened his own business as a shoe retailer on New Road Side, Horsforth, which he ran until he retired 20 years ago. The footwear business was in the family, his grandfather having been a clog manufacturer in and his father a retailer, both in Hunslet.

Mr Place was a keen sportsman who in his time had played cricket, rugby and tennis, and been a keen dinghy sailor at Leeds Sailing Club. He played rugby for Headingley Old Boys and, briefly, for Hunslet where his great uncle had also been a player.

He and his wife Joan were members of Horsforth Tennis Club where Mr Place played for more than 70 years, and he was still playing as recently as last summer. He also played with Guiseley Brass Band and Horsforth Leeds City Brass Band.

The couple met at Broadway Hall dances and were married in 1949. About 20 years ago when Mr Place had retired from his business, and his wife retired as a teacher, they took up sequence dancing as, by then, ballroom dancing had lost its popularity.

In 1962 Mr Place built the family's four-bedroomed detached house in Horsforth himself, with the help of a bricklayer, joiner and a friend who was an architect.

Mr Place is survived by his wife of 61 years, his son, two daughters and four grandchildren.