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He began practicing magic in 1946, as a teenager. He studied physics and mathematics at Cambridge University; whilst there he was also secretary of the Pentacle Club.
He was employed as a patent agent and later computer expert, but his true love was card and close-up magic.
- Academy of Magical Arts Creative Fellowship in 1972.
- Elmsley's 4 Card Trick (1967)
- Cardwork (1975)
- The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley (vol. 1 1991, vol. 2 1994).