Thomas Windley was born in Leicester on 24 May 1832. He was first a journalist, then became a newspaper publisher, starting with the Midland Free Press in 1861. He joined the Leicester City Council on 1 November 1872 and in 1876 was appointed chairman of the Leicester Corporation Sanitary Committee that oversaw the purchase of the land for Spinney Hill Park. A presentation recognising his ten years as chair was made at the park's opening ceremony in 1886. He was elected as Alderman on 30 November 1878, a position he held until his death in 1932. He served briefly as interim Mayor in 1901, following the death of the incumbent. He was given the Freedom of the Borough on 3 July 1903. He died at home on 1 October 1932 at the age of 97 years.