Joseph Gibbons Sankey

Place of Birth

  • Born      28 May 1860
  • Died       1 December 1898

Widely considered an architect of unusual promise and ability, Joseph Gibbons Sankey, MA., FRIBA came  of an old Salopian family. He was born in Salford in 1860, the son of John Sankey, of Southport, and resided for most ofl his life in Blackley near Manchester, his native village. After serving his articles in Manchester with Albert William Smith in 1876 he went on to study architecture in the Royal Academy School and entered the office of Colonel Edis, in London. He was awarded numerous honours as a student, including the Sharpe Prize in 1882-1883, the Pugin Studentship of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1884, the Association Travelling Studentship, and various other medals and prizes. He entered Christ’s College Cambridge, in 1884, graduating BA in 1887 and afterwards proceeding to the MA degree. During his Cambridge career he designed the Simpson Memorial Building at Moston, north of Manchester. J Gibbons Sankey commenced independent practice in Manchester in 1889. In a career spanning less than a decade his principal works included the head office of the Mercantile Bank of Lancashire in Mosley Street, extensions to the Municipal School of Art in Cavendish Street, the Branch Free Library in Chester Road, and the Primitive Methodist College at Alexandra Park, all in Manchester. Completed shortly before his death was the great new warehouse of Tootal Broadhurst Lee and Company Limited in Oxford Street Manchester. By 1897 he had also opened an office at 48 Harley Street London but details of any commissions in the capital are lacking.  He became a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1897 and shortly before his death moved to “Bollinhurst,” Disley. Here he died of peritonitis, caused by a burst appendix, on 1st December 1898 and was interred at Manchester’s Southern Cemetery. He had married Fanny Young Sillipant (or Sillipharet) in 1889. The couple had one daughter, Marjorie Gibbons Sankey. After his death the firm was continued by his assistant John Cubbon and Thomas William Cubbon as Sankey, Cubbon & Cubbon.

1894    York Chambers 8 York Street, Manchester
1897    104, King Street, Manchester & 48 Harley Street London

1881        Blackley House Moston Lane
1891        Blackley House Moston Lane
1897        “Bollinhurst” Disley

Builder. Volume 75. 10 December 1898 Page 535
Manchester Guardian Saturday 3 December 1898 Page 11 Column 2
Manchester City News 3 December 1898 Page 5 (Personal)
Building News 9 December 1898 p821
Building News 23 December 1898 p89
RIBA Journal v 6 1899 Page 78-9

Manchester Faces & Places - Vol 10 No 4 January 1899
Harper : Victorian Architectural Competitions
Boarse : Modern English Biography  (taken from Manchester Faces & Places)
Pike : Contemporary Biographies: Page 267