Thomas was born in Birmingham, was the 2nd son of William Avery and his wife Elizabeth
In 1842 he married Mary Ann Bellby
His father inherited the scale beam making business from a cousin on his wife`s side of the family
Upon the death of his father in 1843 Thomas and his elder brother William took over the business. The Avery business expanded and became a substantial employer.
In 1865 the partnership with his brother was dissolved. In 1866 he withdrew his capital from the business and devoted his energies to improving the then poor quality of local government.
He was elected councillor for the ward containing the Avery business, as a leading citizen he was determined to bring some efficiency to council administration.
1868 he was elected Alderman and became Mayor of Birmingham. He became mayor of Birmingham again in 1881.
After a serious early misjudgement when he fought for keeping the ancient cattle market in the centre of Birmingham, he was largely responsible for 2 significant public benefactions.
The acquisition in 1874 of private waterworks, the development of which under town ownership, brought potable water to townsfolk and the greater achievement of the provision of a sewage works in 1877 after a battle against the landowners concerned, a drainage board in cooperating Birmingham and surrounding authorities was able to build a sewage farm which discharged purified water into the previously polluted River Tame.
He was a magistrate for Birmingham, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. A governor and trustee for Institutions such as the Birmingham and Midland Institute. BMI is institution concerned with promotion of education and learning in Birmingham.
He died in Edgbaston on 17th Feb 1894 and is buried in Keyhill