William Ball

Place of Birth

  • Born: 1855  (at Stretford?)
  • Christening: 1 August 1855 at Manchester Cathedral
  • Married: 1898 Annie Reid Bardsley at Ormskirk (CHECK)
  • Died: unknown

 Born in 1855, William Ball was the son of William and Mary Ann Ball and the grandson of George Shorland (qv) who had come to Manchester to act as Charles Barry’s clerk of works on the Royal Institution and was subsequently Manchester Borough Surveyor. His parents appear to have been separated, with no record of William Ball senior in any of the household census returns of 1861, 1871, or 1881. He appears to have died after 1881 for in the census return for 1891, Mary Ann Ball is recorded as widowed. At the marriage of William’s sister, Fanny Shorland Ball in 1878, William Ball senior was recorded as father of the bride and was described as “gentleman.”

Nothing is yet known of William Ball’s education. He was recorded as articled to Mills and Murgatroyd in 1877 and as a practising architect and surveyor in the 1881 Census, but little is known of his professional career before the building of St John’s Church, Silverdale (1884-1886). The church was built at the expense of the Manchester brewer Henry Boddington (I) who had by this date retired to “The Cove,” Silverdale, leaving effective control of the Strangeways brewery in the hands of his son, Henry Boddington (II).

In 1878 Amy Mica Boddington, second daughter of Henry Boddington (I) and the sister of Henry Boddington (II) and Slater Boddington had married the latter’s partner, George Shorland Ball, a solicitor and the brother of William. This family connection by marriage was to prove invaluable for all of William Ball’s known and attributed commissions were secured directly from or through the influence of Henry Boddington (II). These included Boddington’s own house, Pownall Hall Wilmslow; Mynshull House, Cateaton Street, Manchester of 1890; and the first phase of the Corn Exchange rebuilding on Fennel Street, Manchester in 1892, the latter two in partnership with Thomas Brooks Elce. When in 1892, Henry Boddington (II) retired to France though ill-health or financial difficulty, William Ball too effectively “disappeared,” at the same time although still recorded as an architect and employer in the 1901 Census.

Two of his nephews, Henry Boddington III (qv) son of Henry, and Eric Shorland Ball (qv), son of Amy and George Shorland Ball, also became architects, while the grandmother of his pupil, George Westcott (qv), was the sister of George Shorland.

1884: William Ball, 20, Cooper Street, Manchester (British Architect 21 March 1884 Page ii)
1886: William Ball, Phoenix Buildings, 20, Cooper Street, Manchester (Slater’s Directory)
1887: William Ball, Phoenix Buildings, 20, Cooper Street, Manchester (Slater’s Directory)
1891: Ball & Elce, Architects & Surveyors 3 Mount Street Albert Square. (Slater’s Directory)

1881: “River View,“ Barton Lane, Barton Upon Irwell (Census Return)
1891: William Ball, architect.  “Westbrook,” Edge Lane, Chorlton-cum-Hardy. (Slater’s Directory)
1901: Lansdowne Crescent Blackpool (holiday visitor?)




Name Designation Formed Dissolved Location
Ball and Elce Architectural practice 1887 1893 Manchester