Thomas Alderson Cooke was born in Salford and moved to Peterborough where he became a local magistrate, Sherriff of Northamptonshire and later High Sherriff.
He married Julia Image, the daughter of the late vicar of St John's church John Image and had 10 surviving children. He had 4 wives in total, including a very public annulment of the marriage to his second wife Charlotte Squires, who was many years younger than him.
He is best known for commissioning a large mansion on Priestgate in 1816, on top of Neville Place, which is now home to Peterborough Museum and the Dower House on the corner of Trinity Street, which was built in the 1840s for his fourth wife upon his death. It was a church for some years and is currently a nursery.
He was a magistrate for many years and continued to preside until the week before he died, despite being incapacitated. He died in December 1854, after which his house was bought by the Fitzwilliams in an auction and gifted to the city as an infirmary.