Thomas was the second eldest of six children born to John and Charlotte Nicolls in 1837 at No. 5, Southgate street, Launceston. His father was a Draper and outfitter whilst also serving on the borough council and in 1868 being elected mayor. He joined his fathers business on leaving school. In 1862 he married Ann Retallack Huxham at Launceston and they continued to live at Southgate street. Thomas and Ann never had any children. Thomas continued running the business after his fathers death in 1875. In 1905 he sold the business to Mr. Eli Cook, having already moved to reside at Priory House, St. Thomas road, Launceston (below).
On retiring he devoted much of his time working for the benefit of the borough filling many offices including for a short time the town council in 1908. He had been a member of the Charity Commissioners of Horwell Grammar school. He was a member of the Library committee, a director of the Gas company, a member of the Burial board, as well as the Board of Guardians, once being the chairman of the House committee. He was a great supporter of the Bible society and was the secretary for the Launceston branch. It was due to his endeavours that several branches were formed in the outlying villages. In his early days he attended the Wesleyan Sunday school in Back lane (now Tower street) and in 1854 joined the Wesleyan Methodist association which later was known as the United Methodist Free church. He occupied all the chief offices in the Free church and for many years conducted a thriving bible class. After the amalgamation of the Bible Christians with the United Methodist church he left to join the Congregational church of which he became Deacon.
At a time when the Temperance movement was in its ascendency, Thomas proved to be a staunch supporter and took an active part in the purchase of the old ‘Exeter Inn’ in High street when it was converted into the ‘Castle Temperance hotel’. He became the chairman of the Launceston Temperance Foundation.
Like so many Methodists of his time, Thomas was a keen Liberal and was vice-president of the Liberal club. He was very much against the Education Act of 1862, making many appearances as a passive register before his fellow magistrates.
Ann his wife passed away in May 1909.
Thomas was taken ill in February 1917 and was confined to his bed for two weeks but was thought to be making a recovery when on the 27th of February 1917 he suddenly passed away at his home, Priory house at the age of 79. His funeral service was held at the Congregational church in Castle street with Rev. Francis J. Soper officiating. Members of the town council and borough magistrates attended in State, the civic procession being preceded by the police and the town sergeants
In his will he left a legacy of £1000 to the town council to build model cottages for thirty ‘sober’ working men or women. In 1924 the legacy was spent on tenement houses for the elderly that were built at Western road in his memory at the junction of Chapple (below).
Post & News 22 Jan 1910:
Launceston Town Council Meeting, presided over by the mayor, Alderman T P Trood: a letter was read from Mr T H Nicolls offering to give the council two freehold cottages between Northgate Street and Tower Street, so that improvements might be carried out.