University’s Tressell research symposium uncovers new information

The University of Brighton held a research symposium at the Hastings campus to celebrate of the 100th anniversary of the publication of  'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists', written by former local resident, Robert Tressell.

Speakers included academics from the University of Brighton and beyond, as well as curators and archivists whose work is connected with Tressell. The event was organised by the university’s Dr Trevor Hopper, an expert in social history, and speakers revealed several previously unknown facts about the author’s past.

Research presented by Dr Stuart Borthwick of Liverpool John Moores University concluded that Tressell was a convicted thief, who served time briefly in a Liverpool jail. Speaker Bryan Macmahon uncovered more of Tressell’s curious family background; his father was revealed as been over 60 years older than his mother. He also examined the secrecy surrounding his early life.

Attendees included a variety of local and international guests, including the Mayor of Hastings, Cllr. Alan Roberts, members of the late Robert Tressell’s family, and current and former students from the university. The event was the latest in a series of research events concerning local figures; similar events have previously discussed the legacy of television inventor, John Logie Baird.

The campus has recently been gifted the ‘Tressell family papers’ a unique primary research resource, some of which were on display at the event, and is set to become the first dedicated Robert Tressell research centre in the world.