Thomas Piball Payne was the son of Peter Henry Payne, a shipwright, and his second wife Hannah and was baptized in Bursledon church on 18 February 1821. His second forename is taken from his mother’s maiden name, but later in the century his name was more frequently rendered as Thomas Pibble Payne. It was under this name that he was married in November 1840 but he was described as Thomas Piball at probate in 1897/8. His father and uncle - Alfred Payne - became boat builders at Belvidere and Northam in the early 1840s, the family later in the century being pre-eminent in the design and building of racing yachts (Adrian B Rance, Shipbuilding in Victorian Southampton, 1981, p 49). Thomas was articled at the age of thirteen to Charles Bromley, dentist of Portland Street, and served for thirteen years as principal Assistant and Designer to Mr Bromley. He subsequently for many years carried on a most successful practice as a surgeon-dentist successively at Chapel Road (his address in the St Mary marriage registers), Northam Road, 8 Beckford Terrace, 9 Portland Street and 2 Sussex Place. He was admitted a member of the College of Dentists of England on 25 January 1861, and “pronounced highly competent to exercise the art and science of surgical and mechanical dentistry”. In the early 1860s he invented “a new description of artificial teeth which, as a Practical Dentist, he can guarantee to be superior to any yet made” (Southampton Post-Office directory 1865, p 42: advert). To Alderman Coles, Thomas Payne was “a self-made man” (Hampshire Advertiser, 12 November 1870). Payne was in politics a Liberal and for over 40 years was a member of the Town Council, as a councillor variously for the wards of All Saints, St Mary and St Lawrence and latterly as an alderman. He served the offices of junior and senior bailiff and in 1870/71 was mayor, in succession to Frederick Perkins. During a severe outbreak of smallpox in 1871 he went into the by-streets and alleys and courts of the town, accompanied by a conveyance carrying provisions and other necessaries, and ministered comfort to the sufferers. He also secured a house as an isolation hospital at West Quay on his own responsibility and thus paved the way for the permanent hospital which he established there. He was appointed a magistrate in 1881 and was a member of the Board of Guardians. He was a trustee of the Hartley Institution, a director of the Southampton Times (an obituary was printed in the issue for 10 April 1897) and honorary dentist to the Southampton Dispensary. He was a Past Master of Southampton Bowling Club and a ‘knight of the green’ for nearly 38 years. In his younger days he was keen on aquatic sports and was a past President of the Southampton Regatta Club. He held most of the high offices in Freemasonry – regarded by Payne “really as a religion” (Hampshire Independent, 10 April 1897: obituary): a Past Master of the Royal Gloucester and Southampton Lodges; holder of the principal offices in the Royal Arch and other Degrees; a founder of the Albert Edward Lodge; and Provincial Grand Registrar of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in 1860. He was also an honorary member of several friendly societies and was a regular guest of the Oddfellows and Foresters. Thomas Payne moved to 18 Cranbury Avenue in c. 1894 and died here on 6 April 1897, aged 76 years. The Hampshire Independent, 10 April 1897 mourned his passing as “almost the last survival of the old school of Southampton’s public men”. At probate (resworn in February 1898) he left £2,708 2s. He is buried in Southampton Cemetery.
Thomas Payne was twice married. His first marriage, on 4 November 1840 in St Mary’s Church, was to Martha Ingram, a 22-year old milliner of the High Street and daughter of George Ingram, an innkeeper. His numerous family with Martha (nine children between the ages of 2 and 19 are at home in the 1861 census) included a doctor who practised in the Cape of Good Hope and two dentists, one in Bournemouth and the other in Jersey.

T.P. Payne, Esq, JP: Town Councillor for St Michael's

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Further Reading: ‘The perils of portraiture: the case of Mrs Payne’, Southampton Occasional Paper, no. 16, May 2016


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