Thomas Mann (1816-1903)
An early occupant of Robertson Street, he built what is now known as No. 20, Robertson Street, moving his business to those premises, and continued there for many years, having for a neighbour Mr. E. Dobell. He also built property in Claremont, Robertson Terrace, and Priory Street. No. 4, Claremont, where for 21 years he carried on his business, and No. 2, Gainsborough Villas, where he resided for over twenty years, were built by him. At one time Mr. Mann was in partnership with Alderman Ross', father the late Mr. Thomas Ross.
He attended Parker's School in the old town, later becoming apprenticed to Mr Wooll, a carver, gilder and book-binder in the High Street. On Mr Wooll's emigration to America in 1836, Mr Mann started in business on his own in the High Street at the age of 20. 
He was married with two children, a son (FJ Mann) and a daughter (Wife's initial was H)
A move to lower premises in the High Street at number 70 followed, where Thomas put in the first plate glass shop window in the town. Upon the clearance of the and subsequent construction of Robertson Street, he constructed number 20 to which he moved his business. At one point Mr Mann struck up a partnership with Alderman Ross, father of Thomas Ross. Mr Mann was evidently successful in business, building a number of properties in the town, among them buildings in Claremont (1836; used as an art gallery and artist's supplies shop), Robertson Terrace and Priory Street. He became well known for his picture framing and gilding services, some of his work being in the Queens Hotel and various large properties in Eversfield Place. In addition to running his own business, he served on the boards of the Queens Hotel Company, the Public Hall Company and East Sussex Permanent Benefit Building Society.
In addition to framing pictures, Thomas built up an extensive collection of artworks, estimated to be the finest collection of artworks in the district valued at several thousands of pounds during the late 19th century and was rated as being a fine judge of art. There are several advertisements for exhibitions of his collection at his premises in Claremont and Priory Street, the advertisements often being combined with his antique furniture business based in the Old Town Hall in the High Street.
Funeral and Estate
Details of the estate sale give some idea as to Mr Mann's business acumen;
- Claremont (first-class shop premises).
- Mount Morrea, 11, Priory Avenue (with vacant possession).
- Havering, 2, Stanley Road.
- 103, Braybrooke Road (with vacant possession).
- 19, Devonshire Road.
- 9, 23, 24 and 25, Priory Street.
- 49, St Marys Terrace.
- 24, Quarry Road.
- St. Wilfrid's, 19, Baldslow Road
- Digswell 21, Baldslow Road.
- 30, Old London Road.
- 54, Vicarage Road.
- 20 Robertson Street.
- 8, Cambridge Mews.
- Roden House, 88, Church Road[a]
- 1, Gainsborough Villas (De Cham Road).
- 8, Gainsborough Villas
- 1, 2 and 3, Aldborough Road.
- 5 and 7. Vale Road.
- 58, Southwater Road.
- Two Freehold Cottages Magham Down. Hailsham
- Some images held in the local studies room at Hastings Library give the street number as being 28