Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Picture Puzzle 34 – answer

Robert Noonan.

Robert Noonan.

Yes, of course it was The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists author Robert Noonan, better known as ‘Robert Tressell’, whose famous novel was published in 1914. Robert wrote the story in Bohemia – at 241, London Road, where a blue plaque marks the house. Much of the book is based on his experiences of working in the town as a signwriter and decorator.
Robert Noonan 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. In 1901 at the outbreak of the Boer War Noonan returned to England and settled with his widowed sister, Adelaide in Hastings. Another sister, Mary Jane was already living in St. Leonards where she ran a school. Noonan worked for a number of local building firms between 1901 and 1911, including Bruce & Co of York Buildings, Adams & Jarrett of Alfred St, St. Leonards and Burton & Co of Upper Queens Road.
In August 1910 Noonan left Hastings for Liverpool leaving the manuscript of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists in the care of his daughter, Kathleen.  He had intended to set sail for Canada but was admitted to hospital with advanced tuberculosis and died on February 3rd 1911. The first, edited, version of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists was published by Grant Richards in 1914.

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