Basic Biographical Details

Name: Morris & Hunter
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: May 1885
Ended: 1896
Bio Notes: James Archibald Morris was 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 was educated at Ayr Academy and articled to A Lindsay Miller in Glasgow 1873-78. While there he attended the Haldane Academy, later absorbed into Glasgow School of Art and at the end of the apprenticeship spent two years studying 'ancient remains' in Scotland and France which laid the foundations for the conservation aspect of the practice. On his return he 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.

Morris set up practice on his own account at 46 Newmarket, Ayr at the early age of twenty-three in September 1880 and was elected ARIBA on 23 May of the following year, his proposers being John Baird, James Salmon and the elder George Bell; the first year of practice was concerned with feuing his property at Savoy Park Ayr and it was not until 1882 that any other significant commissions came in, the earliest being the photographer Ambrose Bara's house in Citadel Place (1882-83) - photography was one of the great interests of Morris's life - and the UP Church in Prestwick (1884).

In 1883 or 1884 Morris married Elizabeth Forgan, the daughter of Captain Charles Forgan of Towerhill, Kilmaurs, and in May of the former year took on as an assistant James Kennedy Hunter. Hunter was born in Ayr in 1863, the son of Andrew Hunter, a prosperous builder and Ayr Town Councillor. He had spent two years training as a land-surveyor combined with three years attending drawing and watercolour classes before entering into a shortened apprenticeship with the Ayr architect John Mercer in August 1880. His RIBA nomination paper records that he spent part of the summer sketching in Scotland and England in those years.

Around the time Hunter joined the firm, Morris set up a London office at 6 Delahay Street, Westminster. He was soon spending much of his time there and began entering major national competitions, the designs for which were exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy. Hunter consequently gained exceptional responsibility almost immediately, and in May 1885 he became partner-in-charge at Ayr as Morris & Hunter.

No actual building designed by the London practice has yet been identified, but it must have had more than an agency role as in 1891 Morris merged it with that of the Frenchman Alfred Chastel de Boinville. In or about 1896 Morris withdrew from this partnership and returned to Ayr; and in May of the same year the Ayr partnership of Morris & Hunter was dissolved by mutual consent, Hunter setting up practice on his own in Sandgate.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 26, Delahay Street, Westminster, London, EnglandBusiness1892 *  
Item 2 of 251, Sandgate, Ayr, Ayrshire, ScotlandBusinessBefore 18921896 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 8James Kennedy HunterMay 1885May 1896PartnerBecame a partner in May 1885
Item 2 of 8James Archibald MorrisMay 1885May 1896Partner 
Item 3 of 8William McClelland18881892Apprentice 
Item 4 of 8Robert Miller18901892Assistant 
Item 5 of 8William McClelland18931894Draughtsman 
Item 6 of 8George GunnJanuary 18941895Assistant 
Item 7 of 8John Whitelaw Lockhart1 September 18941896Apprentice 
Item 8 of 8Alexander Caldwell Thomson18961896Assistant 

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 20After 1885Drill Hall and Headquarters for the 1st Ayr and Galloway Artillery Volunteers  AyrshireScotlandHunter responsible
Item 2 of 201886146 High StreetAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 3 of 201886Edinburgh Municipal Buildings  EdinburghScotlandUnsuccessful competition design
Item 4 of 201888Quarry Green SchoolAyr AyrshireScotlandCompetition design - placed first
Item 5 of 201889Cairn Public SchoolMaybole AyrshireScotlandHunter responsible
Item 6 of 201889Sheffield Municipal BuildingsSheffield YorkshireEnglandCompetition design - not successful
Item 7 of 201891Ayr Public LibraryAyr AyrshireScotlandCompetition design - unplaced
Item 8 of 201891Craighall SchoolTrinity EdinburghScotlandUnsuccessful competition design
Item 9 of 201891Glasgow Art Gallery and MuseumKelvingrove GlasgowScotlandUnsuccessful competition design - Simpson and Milner Allen appointed
Item 10 of 201891Working Men's Unionist ClubNewton on Ayr AyrshireScotland 
Item 11 of 201892BalgarthAlloway AyrshireScotland 
Item 12 of 201892Robert Burns StatueAyr AyrshireScotlandDesign of pedestal exhibited
Item 13 of 201892Savoy CroftAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 14 of 201893ChestnutsAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 15 of 201893Fenwick LodgeAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 16 of 201893Prestwick Golf Club HousePrestwick AyrshireScotlandEnlargement of villa
Item 17 of 201893Scottish Episcopal Church, WallacetownAyr AyrshireScotlandHall
Item 18 of 201893St Andrews Free Church and hallAyr AyrshireScotlandCompetition design - not successful
Item 19 of 201894The GreenMaybole AyrshireScotland 
Item 20 of 201896Industrial School for GirlsAyr AyrshireScotlandHunter responsible


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 5Close, Robert1988Attainable ideals: James A Morris 1857-1942 Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society Newsletter, Spring 1988, pp5-7 
Item 2 of 5Muthesius, Herman1904Das Englische Haus See translation by Denis Sharp and Janet Seligman 1979 
Item 3 of 5Nicol1908Domestic Architecture in Scotland   
Item 4 of 5Royal Society1920Royal Society of Edinburgh Year Book   
Item 5 of 5Scottish Biographies1938  E J Thurston (pub.) 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Architect and Building News4 December 1942  Obituary of Morris
Item 2 of 3Builder27 November 1942  Obituary of Morris
Item 3 of 3RIBA JournalJanuary 1943 London: Royal Institute of British ArchitectsObituary of Morris p68