Thomas Mann (1816-1903)

From Historical Hastings

Thomas Mann
Born7 February 1816
Died24 March 1903 2, Gainsborough Villas

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[1].

Early Life

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. [1]

Personal Life

He was married with two children, a son (FJ Mann) and a daughter[1] (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)[2], 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.[1]

Art Collection

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.[1] 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

His funeral was held at St Peters Church on the 30th of March 1903, with him being laid to rest at Hastings Cemetery[3]

Details of the estate sale give some idea as to Mr Mann's business acumen[4];




  1. Some images held in the local studies room at Hastings Library give the street number as being 28

References & Notes

  1. a b c d e Hastings & St Leonards Observer 28 March 1903 pg. 5
  2. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 17 October 1936 pg. 3
  3. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 04 April 1903 pg. 2
  4. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 23 October 1926 pg. 8