Alfred Waterhouse was born in Liverpool on 19 July 1830. He was first apprenticed to Richard Lane in Manchester, then started in practice on his own in 1853.
His first major design was the Manchester Assize Courts in 1859. He then moved his practice to London in 1865 and was responsible for a number of public buildings, churches and colleges. He lived in Berkshire, near Reading, finally settling at Yattendon.
In 1861 he was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and was President from 1888 to 1891. He retired in 1902 and died at Yattendon on 22 September 1905.