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Sir Thomas Austin

(1887-1976), Prime Minister of Kolhapur State

Sitter in 1 portrait

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Sir Thomas Austin, by Walter Stoneman - NPG x163791

Sir Thomas Austin

by Walter Stoneman
bromide print, 1953
NPG x163791

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Peter Macann

19 November 2018, 21:23

Sir Thomas Austin was my step father. He married my mother Rosemary Macann (nee Stallard) in 1961. Sir Thomas's first wife Christina (known as Nena) had died some years before. She was a remarkable woman in her own right because as an early 20th century woman she was both a Doctor and a Missionary - though I do not know where she practiced either profession. I remember Home Park House very well as we often came to spend school holidays there with my mother and brother Christopher. We found it an extraordinarily exciting place to explore with all those memoirs of their existence in India, together with grotesque shadow puppets from Thailand. My mother (who's husband died back in 1944) and Tom lived happily together in a flat on Wimbledon Parkside till his death in 1976 aged 89.
I remember him so well as a a calm, quiet and scholarly presence with huge humanity and integrity. There is an area of Bangalore named after him (Austin Town) which he ordered to be built to house the poor of the city.

kathy myers

16 August 2018, 11:33

When Sir Thomas Austin came back to the UK he moved into Home Park House Hampton Wick KT14AE. It was originally a grace and favour house to Hampton court palace but no longer so when he bought it. He came back to the UK with servants from his time in India who looked after him and a mass of Indian furniture and hunting exhibits - he had a whole 60ft room stuffed with elephant tusks and taxidermied tigers and photos of his time in India. The house gradually fell into disrepair and by the time it was sold in 1960 featured 'untouched' regency wall paper and wisteria trees growing through the roof and living rooms. My parents bought the house in 1960 and tried to find 'homes' for all the exhibits left in the house - including miniatures of Clive of India. Some of these items were retained by them. The house was an extraordinary time capsule of the end of the Raj pre Independence.

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