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MORRIS, Henry Seton

Born: 1869 06 22
Died: 1915


Was born in Bath, England and articled there to WJ Willcox from 1885 until about 1890 (H MOGER was also articled to Willcox). In 1890 he was employed as assistant to CJ Phipps, FRIBA, in London and studied at the Royal Academy Schools, from 1892 to 1897, where he won the prize for Design, Upper School, in 1892. In 1892 he was employed by HM Office of Works as an architectural draughtsman and by 1898 he was in partnership with H Baillie Scott in Douglas, the Isle of Man. With Baillie Scott he executed several buildings mostly of a domestic nature. Illustrations of a number of interiors of these buildings appeared in Academy Architecture around 1898 under the name of Baillie Scott & Seaton (sic) Morris. No mention of this partnership, however, is made in Gray's Dictionary of Edwardian Architects (1985) in the entry on Baillie Scott and indeed the partnership, or association, appears to have lasted for only about a year as by 1899 Morris returned to HM Office of Works. He remained there until 1902 as an architectural draughtsman. In 1902 Morris came to South Africa and was employed by the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT, Transvaal, as assistant architect. After six months he left to enter into private practice in Johannesburg. This departure was drawn to the attention of the Colonial Secretary by the then Director of Public Works, GH FOWKE, to urge an increase in salaries 'Mr Seton Morris who came out with Mr BEVAN has already left and started work in Johannesburg, refunding his passage money, and I am afraid Mr Bevan might do the same unless it is made worth his while to stay' (May 1903 ? PWD 189 1108). Morris became a member of the Transvaal Institute of Architects in 1903 and a Council member of the Institute in 1904, a position he held until 1907. He was also involved in teaching architecture at the Transvaal University College during this time (the Tin Temple). GE PEARSE mentions that Seton Morris, 'a lovable character', taught history of architecture, that he 'designed a house for Guy Brunton on the Berea and a hotel in Orange Grove' and added that Morris was 'very keen on Dramatic Art and took part in several plays at the Standard Theatre' (Pearse c1960:73). In around 1906 he was in partnership or association with GStJ COTTRILL (cf MORRIS & COTTRILL) and by 1909 he had returned to London.

In London Morris took the special exam qualifying exam of the RIBA which enabled him to apply for Associate membership of the RIBA in 1909. From London he went work for the PWD in Rangoon, Burma. He was in Burma when he was elected a Fellow of the RIBA in 1914. He died in Rangoon in 1915.

Although Morris's stay in South Africa was relatively short, he made a contribution during that time to both the teaching of architecture and the founding of the Transvaal Institute of Architects. His only known building was the Orange Grove Hotel, Johannesburg, a well known and popular meeting place, and now demolished.

ARIBA 1909; FRIBA 1914. (ARIBA nom papers (1909) 146; Academy Architecture 1898*; FRIBA nom papers (1914); Pearse c1960; RIBA Jnl 1914-15:191, 280 obit; SAWW 1908)

All truncated references not fully cited in 'References' are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.

List of projects

With photographs
With notes

Orange Grove Hotel: pre-1908. Johannesburg, Gauteng - Architect

Books citing MORRIS

Brown, SM. 1969. Architects and others: an annotated list of people of South African interest appearing in the RIBA Journal 1880 1925. Johannesburg: Unpublished dissertation, University of the Witwatersrand. pp