John Ely

Place of Birth
Rochester Kent

  • Born                      15 May 1848 at Rochester, Kent
  • Died                       3 December 1915 at 252 Oxford Road Manchester
  • Interment           Abney Park Cemetery, London. [Manchester Guardian 7 December 1915 page 14]

The third son of George E Ely, Esq, MD,. John Ely was born at Rochester, Kent, on 15 May 1848 and was educated at Silcoates College, Yorkshire.  At an early age he developed a keen interest in sketching and in the study of architecture, which led to his being articled, in 1865, to Messrs Paull and Ayliffe (afterwards Paull and Robinson), of Manchester. Upon the completion of his articles, and after some further experience, he entered into partnership with Edward Salomons and, until the dissolution of that partnership in 1886, was associated in conducting a large and varied practice, more especially in connection with the design and erection of numerous country houses of an extensive nature in Cheshire and elsewhere  a class of work in which he continued to have the opportunity of exhibiting his skill throughout his thirty years of independent practice. Shortly before his death he took Philip Barker Hoyland into partnership.  He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1888, proposed by J Holden, J Murgatroyd and Edward Salomons, and served as a member of Council. 1896-1898. He jponed the Manchester Society of Architects in 1875 and acted as Hon. Secretary,  1884-92 and President, 1896 98 and member of the council in  1899-1900, 1902-3, 1904-6, 1909-10 and 1914-15. He was a member and in February 1914 became President of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts in succession to Clarence Waite. He was one of the oldest attendants and a sides-man and warden of St Chrysostom's Church, in Victoria Park, which he restored after the fire in 1904.

John Ely was the successful competitor with his designs for the Salford Royal Hospital extension in 1907, he being one of the eight invited to compete and of the new buildings for the Manchester Southern Hospital, for some hundred cases, etc. in 1909. He carried out the restoration of the old Manor House, Ashby Folville, near Melton Mobray for Mr H H Smith-Carington (illustrated in the Builder of August 12 1893) with work involving the restoration of and considerable extensions to the Manor House with its ancient Columbarium and Tythe barn, and with the erection, or alteration of numerous farm buildings, lodges,  cottages, shire horse stud farm, village hall, bridges and other work in the village and its vicinity. At Rothley Temple, another estate in Leicestershire belonging to Mr Frederick Merttens, he also found work of a similar nature. Of interest as being the birthplace of Lord Macaulay, the house and domestic chapel are associated with the Knights Templars and the Knights Hospitallers, by whom the manor was held until the suppression of religious houses. Here also the work consisted of considerable extensions, together with stabling and lodges, cottages and village hall. For some years he was appointed as architect for the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (to receive 120 patients in all) at the corner of High Street and Oxford Streets, Manchester.

John Ely died on December 1915 and was buried in the family plot at Abney Park Cemetery, London.

 On the day of his funeral at Stoke Newington a Memorial Service took place at St Chrysostom's Church, Victoria Park. The service opened with a selection from "Elijah on the organ by Mr L S Standring and closed with an impressive rendering of Schumann's "Funeral March". The Manchester Academy of Fine Arts was represented by Mr H H Smith-Carington, one of the trustees, who was accompanied by his wife and son, Mr Francis Smith-Carington; Mr W H Wilkinson, vice president; Mr John Cassidy, treasurer; Mrs Louisa M Bancroft, honorary assistant secretary; Miss Emma Magnus, honorary literary secretary; Mr S H Seville, honorary legal advisor to the Academy; Mr J Hey Davies, Mr Byron Cooper, Mr H Moxon Cook, Miss Chapman, members of the Council, Miss Gertrude Wright, Miss Mary M'Nicoll Wroe, Mr Edgar Wood, Mr W Noel Johnson, Mr Brookes Heywood and Mr E Kingston Brice. Illness prevented Mr Elias Bancroft, honorary secretary of the Academy from attending.  

The Manchester Society of Architects was represented by Mr F B Dunkerley, president, Mr J P Gass, vice president and Mr Isaac Taylor, honorary secretary. The congregation also included Mrs Marchett of Halifax, Mrs Allison, Mrs Womersley, Mrs Thomas Snell, Mrs J M Wake, Mrs E Burgess, Miss Borrowdale, Messrs J H Woodhouse, J W Beaumont, A Murgatroyd, J F S King, F Williams, H F Clarke, J J Hoyland, H Banks, J H Daniels, E Hewitt, S G Brown, H France, N P F Sandiford, J H Sellars, G W Fox, William Batho, assistant curator of the Manchester Art Gallery, Cawood Dyson, Manby A Gibson, H E Macfarlane and Mr H Waddington. [Manchester City News 11 December 1915]

1883        31 South King Street, Manchester    (RIBA Directory)
1888        24 Brazennose Street. Manchester     (RIBA Directory)
1891        24 Brazennose Street, Manchester    (Slaters Directory)
1893        24 Brazennose Street, Manchester    (Royal Academy Catalogue)
1900        32 King Street West, Manchester     (RIBA Directory)
1914        32 King Street West, Manchester     (RIBA Directory)

1871        No reference to John Ely in Slaters Directory
1881         John Ely, architect (Salomons & Ely) 130 Lloyd Street, Greenheys
1881        128 Lloyd Street. (census return)
1886        185 Upper Brook Street Chorlton-on-Medlock     (Slaters Directory)
1891        185 Upper Brook Street Chorlton-on-Medlock     (Slaters Directory)
1911        2 Birch Polygon Dickenson Road Rusholme (Slater)
1912        252 Oxford Road, Chorlton-on-Medlock     (Manchester Guardian 4 Dec 1915)

Builder     v 109 10 and 17 December 1915 Page 424 and 439
RIBA Journal    v23 1916 Page 87 and 128
The Manchester City News Saturday, December 11, 1915 (Page 12)
Building News 8 December 1915 Page 644

Who’s who in Architecture 1914




Name Designation Formed Dissolved Location
Salomons and Ely Architectural practice 1875 1886 Manchester