|Living in King Street, Great Yarmouth in 1851 census.|
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography says:
Sir Thomas Paine (1822-1908), lawyer, was born in Yarmouth, the only child of a retired naval officer and his wife. His education, at a private school in Yarmouth, was minimal, for his father’s income at that time had been much reduced by unfortunate investment, but he was, by his own account, a voracious and omnivorous reader.
In 1837, at the age of fifteen, Paine was articled to Harry Verelst Worship, senior partner of a well-known Yarmouth firm of solicitors. His professional education was the responsibility of Worship’s partner, his younger son, William, who was ten years Paine’s senior and became the boy’s mentor and his lifelong friend. Paine completed his articles and was admitted in 1843. He then spent a year in the chambers of the eminent conveyancing barrister Francis Turner before finding a position as a managing clerk with Timothy Tyrrell’s practice in Guildhall Yard, London. Tyrrell had a large number of private clients and Paine recalled that as soon as he arrived he was placed in charge of the firm’s railway business and conducted it largely unsupervised.
In August 1847 Paine married Anna Neave (d. 1893), to whom he had been engaged for a year. She was a Norfolk girl, sister of a friend of his at home. There were seven children of the marriage, five of whom survived to adulthood, three boys and two girls. In 1849 Tyrrell offered Paine a partnership in the firm and until 1857 they practised together, accompanied from 1852 by Thomas Layton. In 1857 Tyrrell was obliged to retire when it emerged that he had, in what Paine described as ‘a serious breach of duty’, shared the profit made by a property speculator on the sale of a building in Threadneedle Street to the newly established Bank of London, a client of the firm. Paine became, therefore, senior partner of the firm at a much younger age than he might ever have anticipated. His ability and probity ensured the continuation of the firm without loss of clients, even the Bank of London.
The firm, now Paine and Layton, moved to Gresham House in Old Broad Street and developed a considerable City practice, with clients among the railway companies (the North London Railway Company was one of the most significant), the breweries—in both the UK and the USA—and, in the 1880s, investment trusts and the London and Lancashire Life Assurance Company, of which Paine himself became a director. Well respected in the City, Paine was a member of the select dining club, the City Law Club, from 1863. Despite his increasing professional duties, Paine always found time for his holidays, usually spent walking and climbing in the Alps. He was a member of the Law Society’s council from 1871 to 1889, serving in 1882-3 as the society’s president. In December 1882, following the opening by Queen Victoria of the new Law Courts in the Strand, Paine was knighted, the first president to be so honoured. Of Paine’s three sons (educated at Rugby School), the eldest, Tyrrell (b. 1849), went to the bar while the two younger sons, Edgar (b. 1851) and William (b. 1861), were articled at the firm and became their father’s partners. Edgar left the firm in 1893 and practised alone so that it was William who succeeded his father as senior partner when he retired in 1898, five years after the death of his wife. Paine enjoyed ten years of retirement, spent mainly at Broomfield, Westcott, near Dorking in Surrey, the house he had had built in 1868. He died on 12 February 1908. Ten years later his son, William, left the firm to become legal adviser to Lloyds Bank; he was instrumental in arranging for the firm to merge with another City practice, Linklater & Co., to create Linklaters and Paines, making it then and ever since one of the largest City firms of solicitors.