John Robinson, 1798-1880

John Robinson

Local self-taught architect, son of John Robinson,snr, also a builder (who built Ballabrooie house to design of Thomas Brine); brother of William Robinson, printer. Married first Elenor Charters by whom had 2 daughters and after her early death Elizabeth Maltby (from Leeds) by whom he had 2 sons and 8 daughters.

Two of his daughters became Mormon converts and emigrated to Utah.

Office originally in Athol Street but by 1843 had moved to Victoria Terrace (which he had designed and built), where his widow (+ two youngest daughters) were still living in 1881. Would appear to have usually worked with his brother Henry - the two advertising as J&H Robinson, Builders.

As mentioned in his daughters biography he was strongly linked with Athol Street Chapel.

2 Victoria Terrace
2 Victoria Terrace (now rather run-down)

1851 Census: 2 Victoria Terrace

John ROBINSON Head 52 Architect Douglas
Elizabeth ROBINSON Wife 39   England
Helena ROBINSON Daughter 16 Scholar Douglas
Richard ROBINSON Son 15 Scholar Douglas
Elizth ROBINSON Daughter 12 Scholar Douglas
Emma ROBINSON Daughter 9 Scholar Douglas
Sarah ROBINSON Daughter 6 Scholar Douglas
Martha ROBINSON Daughter 3   Douglas
John W C ROBINSON Son 2 days   Douglas

From a court case in 1873 (5 May) in which he appeared as witness, we learn that he was by then very deaf as all questions had to be put in writing.

Buried Braddan New (in a prominent position near the chapel though both this grave marker and that of his brother Henry in the next grave are very badly weathered and will not last much longer)

In 1881 census Elizabeth gave age as 66 living with daughters Edith (age 23) and Blanche (age 19) though shortly afterwards they moved to Utah where she died in 1892.

Grave John Roibinson



Made a major impact on Victorian Douglas - a plaque to commemorate his contribution was placed on the Tynwald walkway at St Johns in 1996.

Many commissions would appear to be linked with his fellow Independent Congregationalist John Stanway Jackson, sometime manager of the Bank of Mona, prize winner in the lottery set up to sell Falcon Cliff, owner of land on which the Esplanade was built.and c.1850 leading light in a scheme to develop the Hills estate.

In May 1839 Robinson was involved in a court case to gain access to the quarries on the Castle Mona estate - possibly for stone for the Oddfellows' hall ?


S. Slack Streets of Douglas - Old and New Manx Experience (ISBN 1-873120-27-3) 1997

The IoM Victorian Society newsletter makes the occasional reference.



Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2001