Thomas Storey was a staunch churchman and reputed to be a humane employer. He was at the heart of the business and helped to expand its operations at home and overseas.
Thomas had a wide range of interests outside of the factory including education and the social life of Lancaster. In 1867, 1873 and 1874, he was elected Mayor of Lancaster. In 1887, he was again elected Mayor and received a knighthood for his work. He was also highly active in politics and in 1880 stood for parliament as a Liberal although he split from Gladstone in 1886 and later stood as a Unionist.
Thomas was greatly interested in improving the educational opportunities within the town. He became closely associated with the Royal Albert Asylum and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and donated generous amounts of money and time to the two institutions. Thomas was one of the main forces behind the extension of the Mechanics Institute which later became the Storey Institute and Museum in 1891. Between 1887 and 1891, in commemoration of the Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the Storey family financed its re-building donated it to the city as a technical and science school, newsroom, library, art school and gallery. The re-development cost around £12,000. Above any other consideration, Thomas wanted to give the younger generations a better chance than that of their fathers so it is appropriate that his country estate later became the site of the university.