Joseph John Alley

illustrator architect
Place of Birth

  • Born : February 1841 Chorlton-on-Medlock
  • Married : 7 January 1873  Eliza Frances Baylis, daughter of Richard Henry Baylis at Manchester.
  • Died : 21 April 1912
  • Burial : 25 April 1912 Brooklands Cemetery

Somewhat a maverick, Joseph John Alley did not commence his architectural career until in his mid-fifties and it was not until he was aged 70 that he first described himself as an architect. He received little or no formal architectural training, but, as with Frank Matcham, this may have been considered an advantage given the nature of his commissions. Working exclusively for William Henry Broadhead and the Broadhead circuit he designed a dozen theatres in flamboyant style in Mancheste, between 1896 and 1898. Mostly now demolished, these included the Metropole, the Hulme Hippodrome and Playhouse, and the Queens Park Hippodrome along with the Pavilion Theatre in Liverpool.

Born in Chorlton-on-Medlock in February 1841Joseph John Alley was, the son of John Alley, decorator, and his wife Mary. His occupants were many and various. As recorded on census returns and directories these included - Lecturer of Polygraphy or the printing of multiple colours simultaneously (1861); sign-writer (1863): consulting and practical decorator and sign-writer (1876); topographical antiquarian and scientific draughtsman (1879) librarian (1883) book seller (1886); journalist, Lecturer and Public Reader, Topographic Antiquarian and Scientific Draughtsman and Modeller (1901); journalist (1903); illustrative journalist (1911). He gives “Architect” as his occupation in the 1911 census, taken a year before his death).

On 7 January 1873 J J Alley married Eliza Frances Baylis, daughter of Richard Henry Baylis at Manchester, Idiosyncratically, they appear to have numbered their children in Latin; those surviving in 1881 being a daughter Tertia F.J. Alley and a son Quartus Cyril Vivian. Alley. No information has been found concerning their previous children.

John Joseph Alley died on 21 April 1912 at his residence, 657 Didsbury Road, Heaton Mersey, and was interred at. Interment Brooklands Cemetery.

1876: Office and Works, 52 Granby Row, Brook Street, Manchester
1886: J J Alley Bookseller 22 Blackfriars Street Salford

1861-1863: 32 Chorlton Street, Manchester
1877: Monton Eccles
1879: Hope Terrace 177 Lower Broughton Road, Salford
1881-1883: Mosley Terrace, 163 Lower Broughton Road, Salford - census
1891: Byrom Street Altrincham
1901-1903: 121 Middleton Street, Moss Side, Manchester
1911: “Ellerslie” 657 Didsbury Road, Heaton Mersey