Born on 14 March 1840 at North Hamlet Gloucester, the son of William Dawes, builder, William Dawes received his early education at Woodfield House and Suffolk House, Gloucester. In 1858 he was articled to Martin Underwood, an architect in London, and later the same year moved to Denbigh where he worked in the offices of Messrs Lloyd Williams and Underwood. For the next five years he practised in architects’ offices in Denbigh, Birmingham and Manchester. He commenced practice in partnership with William Henry Hayley of Manchester in 1863. Hayley retired in 1869 and Dawes continued to work alone until 1890 when Arthur James Hoyland became his partner. This partnership was dissolved in 1893.
In the competition for the Manchester Town Hall Dawes stood eleventh on a list of thirty-six. Of his architectural work, the Victoria Building was until its destruction the best-known example, and here, no doubt, the similarity of the site enabled him to turn with good result his studies for the Town Hall.
To the wider public in Manchester William Dawes was better known under his pen-name “Elijer Goff” (qv). He was a frequent contributor to the professional architectural journals, and also to the Sphinx and other literary and humorous papers. His quick wit and powers of repartee, always good natured, made his presence welcome in numerous social, literary and artistic circles. He was a member of the Literary Club and also the Arts Club, upon whose committee he served for many years.
William Dawes died on 16 February 1897 after “a lingering illness lasting many months,” at 104 Acomb Street, Whitworth Park, Manchester. He was interred at St Paul’s Church Withington at 3.00 pm on Saturday 20 February 1897. (verified in church records).
NOTE - In more recent times William Dawes has been widely credited (including the EH listing notice) with the design of the existing main office frontage to Victoria Station, Manchester, built between 1903-1909. Given that Dawes died in 1897, this remains a truly remarkable if not unique achievement.
1886 William Dawes architect & surveyor 2 Cooper Street, Manchester
1889 Manchester and Oxford Circus Avenue, London
1891 Dawes & Hoyland, Architects & Surveyors, 2 Cooper Street Manchester (Slaters)
1894 Dawes & Hoyland. architects and surveyors. 2, Cooper St (Slater’s)
1894 Dawes and Hoyland Cooper Street Manchester - Partnership dissolved. (Manchester Guardian 19 April 1894. Page 4)
1865 1, Sherwood Terrace Rusholme
1866 Sherwood Terrace Rusholme
1881 2 Wynnstay Grove. Withington, Manchester (census)
1886 William Dawes 4 Wynstay Grove Fallowfield
1897 104 Acomb Street, Whitworth Park, Manchester
Manchester City News 20 February 1897. Page 2 Column 3
British Architect 19 February 1897 Page 129
The Builder Vol 72. 27 February 1897. Page 206 - from Manchester Courier
Manchester Guardian Thursday 18 February 1897. Page 8 Column 3
Manchester Weekly Times 19 February 1897
Manchester Evening News 17 February 1897 - Noted declining health for many years
Manchester Courier 17 February 1897 Page 8 Column 2 -Death of Mr William Dawes - Elijer Goff
Manchester Courier Monday 22 February 1897 Page 6 Column 1 - funeral
Boarse : Modern English Biography - Volume V (D-K). 1908 supplement to Volume II
Manchester Faces & Places Volume 6 no 12 September 1895 page 186
Stewart : Stones of Manchester
Harper: Architectural Competitions
Note- Harper also includes a “William Davies.” This appears to be a spelling error and all attributions should be to Dawes.