Basic Biographical Details

Name: Chastel de Boinville & Morris
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1891
Ended: 1893
Bio Notes: Charles Alfred Chastel de Boinville was born in 1850 of an old French aristocratic family, and was a pupil of A Guyot from 1862. He worked with Geoffroy of Cherbourg in 1868, followed by two years in unspecified offices to July 1870. In 1871 he moved to Glasgow in the wake of the Franco-Prussian war where he was employed by Campbell Douglas & Sellars, shortly to become a partner, and it was probably in his company that James Sellars made his first trip to Paris in 1872. French Beaux-Arts developments in the work of Hugh and David Barclay and William Leiper suggest Chastel de Boinville may also have assisted in one of these Glasgow practices. On the strength of his experience he was appointed architect to the Board of Public Works in Japan from 7 October 1873. Whilst there he taught architecture, the first significant westerner to do so, and he designed The Hall of the Imperial College of Engineering, since demolished; but his aristocratic demeanour, heavily accented English and somewhat unsystematic teaching resulted in his contract not being renewed and he returned in 1881 to London to set up practice at 2 Westminster Chambers, Victoria Street. He was admitted ARIBA on 4 January 1882, his proposers being William Henry White, Campbell Douglas and James Piers St Aubyn. Shortly thereafter he was joined in practice by what appears to have been a younger brother, William Chastel de Boinville, who had been articled to James Piers St Aubyn from 1870 to 1875 and remained as assistant. While at Victoria Street they seem to have been employed in some capacity at the India Office.

His practice in London was merged with that of James Archibald Morris in 1891. Morris had been born in Ayr on 14 January 1857, the younger child of Archibald Morris and his wife Anne Watson; his father was a well-off ship master trading between Ayr and Liverpool. Morris had been educated at Ayr Academy and articled to A Lindsay Miller in Glasgow from 1873 to 1878; while there he had attended the Haldane Academy, later absorbed into Glasgow School of Art and at the end of the apprenticeship he had spent two years studying 'ancient remains' in Scotland and France which laid the foundations for the conservation aspect of his practice. On his return he had settled in London, enrolled at the Slade School to study art under Alphonse Legros and at the Royal Academy Schools under Phené Spiers to advance his architectural education, classes also being taken at University College. He had set up practice on his own account at 46 Newmarket, Ayr at the early age of twenty-three in September 1880 and had been elected ARIBA on 23 May of the following year, his proposers being John Baird, James Salmon and the elder George Bell. In 1883 or 1884 he had married Elizabeth Forgan, the daughter of Captain Charles Forgan of Towerhill, Kilmaurs, and had taken on as an assistant James Kennedy Hunter, taking him into partnership in 1885. Either in that year or the following year Morris had moved to London, opening an office at 6 Delahay Street, Westminster leaving Hunter in charge of the Ayr office, and had begun entering major national competitions. The reasons for setting up the London office are not entirely clear and it may have acted as an agency for Morris's considerable industrial interests. These are said to have been related to his love of fine craftsmanship as much as straightforward investment.

The Morris-Chastel de Boinville partnership was short-lived, and appears to have demerged c.1893-95, most probably in 1895 when Hunter left the Ayr office having established a much larger clientele than Morris had. Morris then returned from London to concentrate on his industrial interests and consolidate what was left of his Ayr practice, although at least one English client appears to have remained loyal.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 16, Delahay Street, London, EnglandBusiness   

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2Charles Alfred Chastel de Boinville1891 Partner 
Item 2 of 2James Archibald Morris1891c. 1896Partner 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 1British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914