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Ragged Trousered Philanthopists

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1924 RTP
Held at: Trades Union Congress (TUC) Library Collections and University Archives at London Metropolitan University
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Full title: Ragged Trousered Philanthopists
Date(s): 1901-1910
Level of description: Collection (Fonds)
Extent: 3 boxes (c 1700 pp)
Name of creator(s): Tressell | Robert | 1870-1911 | author
Ball | Fred C | fl 1946-1973 | author


Administrative/Biographical history:

Robert Tressell: born 18 Apr 1870, Dublin; son of Mary Noonan and Samuel Croker; emigrated to South Africa, 1890; married Elizabeth Hartel, Cape Town, South Africa, 1891; daughter Kathleen, born 1892; his wife died c 1895, and he and his daughter moved to Johannesbug, where he worked as a signwriter, and was also involved in pro-Irish groups; moved to Hastings, Sussex, 1901, where he worked as a house painter and interior decorator; he wrote The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, a novel about the destitute and poor of 'Mugsborough', in his spare time.

After completing the manuscript, in about 1910, he gave it to his daughter, Kathleen, and left Hastings for Liverpool, possibly in an attempt to emigrate to Canada. Tressell died of tuberculosis in Liverpool on 3 February 1911, aged 40.


Scope and content/abstract:

Manuscript of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell [Robert Noonan], c 1910, with a short history of the original manuscript, and its publication history by Fred Ball

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As described in scope and content above.

Conditions governing access:

Open to bona fide researchers at the discretion of the TUC Librarian.

Conditions governing reproduction:

At the discretion of the TUC Librarian and subject to copyright conditions.

Finding aids:

Box list

Archival Information

Archival history:

Robert Tressell gave the manuscript of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists to his daughter, Kathleen before his move to Liverpool in 1910. After her father's death, Kathleen Tressell sold the manuscript to the publisher Grant Richards, who published it in drastically attered and cut down form in April 1914. Richards presented the manuscript to his secretary, Pauline Hemmerde, on her retirement. In 1946 Miss Hemmerde sold the manuscript to a syndicate of six people, mainly ex-servicemen, including Tressell's biographer, Fred Ball. A full text of the book was published by Lawrence and Wishart in 1955. In 1958 the manuscript was purchased by the National Federation of Building Trade Operatives, and presented to the Trades Union Congress the following year.

Immediate source of acquisition:

The manuscript was transferred to the TUC Library Collections in the University of North London by the TUC in January 1998.

Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

F C Ball: Tressell of Mugsborough London: Lawrence and Wishart, (1951); One of the Damned: The Life and Times of Robert Tressell London: Lawrence and Wishart, (1973)

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997

Date(s) of descriptions:
May 2002

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