John Roberts was born in Waterford in 1712. His father was a local builder and although he may have learn some basic skills from him, his formal education is unclear. It is believed that he was partially trained as an architect in London. In 1746 John Roberts was requested by Bishop Richard Chenevix to complete the new Bishop’s Palace. This was his first major work in the city and led to further commissions in Waterford. In 1785 he built the residence of William Morris, now the Harbour Commissioners’ headquarters and the Chamber of Commerce. In 1787 he was commissioned to build a new Leper Hospital on John’s Hill. Roberts also built the Assembly Rooms on the Mall in 1788, which is now the Theatre Royal and City Hall. Unique to Waterford, both the Catholic and Protestant Cathedrals were designed and constructed by the same architect, Roberts.