Hayes (Kent) History

Hayes (Kent) History

MORLEY. Thomas William
10 October 1883 – 3 March 1931

Thomas Morley, born at 34 Pope Road, Bromley, lived in Hayes at 9 St Mary Cottages (14 Baston Road) after his marriage in 1909 to Alice Arnold.  He met her whilst studying at the School of Science and Art in Bromley.  She was the daughter of a police constable who moved with his family into the cottage in 1886 and who died there in 1916.

Thomas and Alice had three daughters and a son.  Joan was the eldest, Margaret was born in 1912, Thomas Jeffery in 1914 (he died in the Second World War) and Kathleen was born in 1916.  

Thomas became well known as a landscape painter, working in both watercolours and oil.  His most successful period was before the First World War. Three of his paintings were shown at the Royal Academy before he was 27 years old and subsequently another three were accepted.  He also had exhibitions at the Institutes of Watercolours and Oil Painters.

He found a great deal to inspire him in his immediate surroundings as is revealed by some of the titles of his paintings: – Sunset over Hayes Common, Hayes Common, Over the Common Hayes, Snowy Road Hayes Common. He also travelled widely through Kent and also to northern France and Belgium. 

First World War
After the declaration of war in 1914 he joined the army and served in Italy and France. While he was serving n Italy he was given special dispensation to travel & paint.  He produced some fine paintings but faced struggles after the war.  

Exhibition 1922
His works were still exhibited but he made fewer sales. At an exhibition in Beckenham in 1922 the reporter remarked that the bold moving sky in his ‘Coming of Spring, Hayes Common’ conveyed ‘ a wonderful sense of life and motion.  One can almost breathe the fresh air in this picture.’
He was only 47 years old when he died from a chill caught when sketching at Eynsford . He was buried in Hayes Churchyard.  

Reference:  Guide to an Exhibition of Works by Thomas William Morley held at Bromley Central Library 5 – 30th June 1979  (Bromley Historic Collections  L52)