Basic Biographical Details

Name: Edward Salomons
Designation: Architect
Born: 1828
Died: 12 May 1906
Bio Notes: Edward Salomons was born in London in 1828, the youngest son of Henry Moses Salomons, a German Jewish cotton merchant and his English wife Priscilla Lucas. The family moved to Manchester when he was nine. He was educated by tutors and was for a time in his father’s warehouse. Probably from 1846 Salomons was employed as an assistant in the office of the church architects Henry Bowman and Joseph Stretch Crowther and worked on the drawings for 'Churches of the Middle Ages', which appeared in two-monthly intervals from May 1849 until July 1852 and was published in book form in 1853. In 1850-51 or 1851-52 Salomons spent one year in the office of the Scottish architect John Edgar Gregan in Manchester. By 1850 he was enrolled at the Manchester School of Design and on 28 April 1851 he was admitted ARIBA. As his nomination paper is missing, the circumstances of this very early election are not known. He was already an exceptionally fine draughtsman and colourist.

Salomons commenced independent practice from his home address in Plymouth Grove in 1852 moving to King Street, Manchester in 1853, immediately gaining prominence by coming second to Walters in the competition for Manchester’s Free Trade Hall in that year. Three years later, in 1856, he won the competition for the masonry shell of Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition Building of 1857. He was admitted FRIBA on 19 March 1860.

Although Salomons was primarily based in Manchester. He had an unusually complex series of professional relationships in both Manchester and London where his business was at least partly related to his friends and clients, the Manchester art dealers Thomas and William Agnew who had opened a London gallery in 1860. In 1863 he designed the Bayswater synagogue in association with the newly established London architect Nathan Solomon Joseph. Shortly thereafter he merged his practice with that of the London architect John Philpot Jones who had commenced business in 1857, and from 1871 they were associated with William Henry Crossland in the competition for and subsequent building of Royal Holloway Sanatorium at Virginia Water, mainly the work of Crossland; but in 1872 or 1873 Jones died, Ralph Selden Wornum becoming chief assistant in charge of the London office in the latter year. In Manchester John Ely became chief assistant in the same year and in 1875 Manchester partner, the practice title becoming Salomons & Ely. In London Wornum was taken into partnership in 1877 and continued running the London practice as Salomons & Wornum in parallel with that in Manchester. The partnership with Ely ended in 1886 and that with Wornum in 1888, both practising in their own names thereafter. The parting with Ely must have been amicable as Ely appears to have been in the office fairly frequently in 1890-91, Salomons’s assistant Stanley Davenport Adshead remembering Salomons and Ely as ‘delightful people’. By that date Salomons had entered into a final partnership with the Stuttgart-trained architect Alfred Steinthal who had joined him from William Young’s office in 1888.

Salomons had a very large practice which extended beyond the German and Jewish communities through the family’s business connections and numerous club memberships which ranged from theatre to bridge. Although one of the most original architects of the mid to late Victorian times, he had no great success in competitions, his one major win being the Manchester Reform Club in 1869. But in his earlier years he designed several synagogues and theatres and throughout the 1860s and early 1870s, he had a great many commissions in Manchester for warehouses and commercial buildings, mostly in a free early Italian Renaissance or Romanesque manner with refined detail, his later buildings for Agnew’s in London (1876) and Liverpool (1877) being reputedly Queen Anne and a very distinctive free classic. Although his commercial practice declined in the 1880s, his domestic practice grew, extending as far as Amsterdam, Brussels and Biarritz. Much of it followed ‘Old English’ patterns in half-timber and tile.

Although he made his living by architectural practice, Salomons was as much artist as architect, exhibiting pictures as well as buildings at the Royal Academy. In London he was a member of Lord Leighton’s circle, and of the Savage Club.

In later life Salomons became a Unitarian. He died at Ireton Bank, Platt Lane, Rusholme, Manchester on 12 May 1906, and was cremated at the German Romanesque Manchester Crematorium which he and Steinthal had designed in 1891-92. His practice in Manchester was continued by Steinthal.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 5London, EnglandBusiness   
Item 2 of 539A, Old Bond Street, London, EnglandBusiness   
Item 3 of 554, Plymouth Grove, Chorlton-on-Medlock,, Cheshire, EnglandPrivate/business18511852 
Item 4 of 5King Street, Manchester, EnglandBusiness1853  
Item 5 of 578, King Street, Manchester, EnglandBusiness1906 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 6John Edgar Greganc. 18461851(?)ApprenticeSome sources (e.g. Beenstock) have indicated that he was with Gregan for one year only but this is not correct.
Item 2 of 6Henry Bowman and Joseph Stretch Crowther18511853AssistantMay not have worked in this practice - sources vary.
Item 3 of 6Salomons & J P Jones18661872 or 1873Partner 
Item 4 of 6Salomons & Ely18751886Partner 
Item 5 of 6Salomons & Wornum18761888Partner 
Item 6 of 6Salomons & Steinthal18881906Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3John Ely18731874Chief Assistant 
Item 2 of 3Ralph Selden Wornum18731876Assistant(?)Managed London office
Item 3 of 3Stanley Davenport Adshead18901891Assistant 


RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3John Garrard Elgood9 February 1874for Associateship
Item 2 of 3Nathan Solomon Joseph9 March 1863for Associateship
Item 3 of 3George Tunstal Redmayne1877For Fellow

Buildings and Designs

This architect was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 21866Manchester Town Hall  ManchesterEnglandCompetition design - shortlisted in first stage, unsuccessful in second stage
Item 2 of 21881Glasgow Municipal Buildings  GlasgowScotlandUnsuccessful competition design (under pseudonym of 'Valentine')


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 3British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 3Hartwell, Clare and Wyke, Terry (eds)2007Making Manchester: Aspects in the History of Architecture in the City and Region since 1800 Manchester. pp133-156Chapter entitled 'Edward Salomons: an eclectic Anglo-Jewish Architect' pp116-132 by Rhona Beenstock.
Item 3 of 3Powers, Alan (ed.)1981Architects I have known: the architectural career of S D Adshead Architectural History 24, 1981, pp103-123, plates 38-40