The Fred Ball Collection consists of items relating to Robert Noonan also known as Robert Tressell, his family and home in Hastings, his membership of a number of socialist political parties, and his authorship of the 'Ragged Trousered Philanthropists'
Many documents relate to his membership of the British Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party and interest in other communist and left wing political parties. Included are membership cards, pamphlets, booklets and souvenir programmes, which belonged to Robert Tressell.
Hastings Museum also holds a section of the mural created by Noonan for St Andrews Church, Hastings, in 1905. The church was demolished in 1970. Another Noonan document is a short personal reminiscence of the author written by fellow signwriter, W.J. Ward, in the 1930s.
The Tressell documents held by the Hastings Museum were mainly gathered by Noonan's biographer, Fred Ball, during research for his two books 'Tressell of Mugsborough' published in 1951' and 'One of the Damned' published in 1973. Fred Ball died in 1988 and the collection was acquired by the Museum from his widow, Jacqui Ball in 1989. Other items were collected by Hastings Museum