Thomas Wall was a man who was known throughout Britain for selling quality meat pies, sausages and the now very famous ice cream. He was a man of slight build who became increasingly deaf and walked with great difficulty. Despite his company being a great commercial success he was upset by his own lack of education and so he set about encouraging others to learn and assisting them financially. This led directly to the setting up of the Thomas Wall trust and when he died the trust was supporting some 200 university students financially. His generosity led to the opening of The Thomas Wall Centre which was then called Sutton Adult School & Institute. The first part which housed the assembly halls was opened in January 1910 followed by a further extension in April 1911. Thomas Wall became its first president and the adult school had the finest premises in the whole of the UK.

By 1915 there were Mens', Boys' and Girls' Social Clubs, a Reference and Lending Library (which still has many of the books today), Clubs for maternity, horticulture; Debating and temperance societies; Legal advice committee; Bible study and English Literature classes; Health and economic lectures; and what was claimed to be the finest gymnasium outside of a prison in the south of England that was used by both sexes. There was also a free kindergarten, a cripples parlour, coal, provident and slate clubs and popular Saturday night concerts. Thomas Wall also purchased and endowed the adult School with five acres of playing fields for cricket, football, tennis, running and cycling.

Thomas Wall's generosity was neverending and local people would often see him hobbling to Sutton Station on his unsteady legs because he lent his car and chauffeur to someone that needed to travel to hospital in Central London.