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Robert Tressell

Robert Noonan (Robert Tressell)

Born 1870; Died 3 February 1911

Robert Tressell wrote "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" in Hastings between 1906 and 1910.  Much of the book is based on his experiences of working in the town as a signwriter and decorator.

Tressell was the pen name of Robert Noonan who was born in Dublin in 1870.  He was brought up in Ireland and England but left to make a new life in South Africa where his daughter, Kathleen was born in 1892.  He returned to England at the outbreak of the Boer War in 1901, and settled in Hastings with his widowed sister Adelaide.

Noonan worked for a number of local building firms, which provided background and characters for his book.  In August 1910 be left Hastings for Liverpool, leaving the manuscript of "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" with his daughter.  He planned to set sail for Canada but was admitted to hospital with advanced tuberculosis and died on 3 February 1911.

The first edited version of the booked was published by Grant Richards in 1914.

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