Chillingworth & Levie Exhibition

- A Cork City and County Archives Exhibition supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht -

A New Architectural

Partnership for Cork

Chillingworth & Levie was established in 1911, arising out a partnership between a Cork engineer, Robert Boyle Chillingworth (1878-1916) of Rochestown, and Daniel Andrew Levie (1875-1963), a Scottish architect from Aberdeen. The two men met in the offices of W. H. Hill & Son Architects in 1903 - a time when the practice was busy with significant housing commissions in the College Road, Gillabbey Street and Douglas Road areas. Indeed, the estate of nearly £13,000 left by its founder W. H. Hill (b.1837) in 1911 is testament to the huge commercial success

of the practice which counted the Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Cork Lunatic Asylum Board and the Cork Improved Dwellings Company amongst its clients. Sadly, Robert Boyle Chillingworth died of tuberculosis in 1917, believed to be contracted while working on inspections for the Congested Districts Board. However, the new firm retained his name in the title. John E. Wilkinson (fl.1929-1972), an architect from Cork,

Portrait of Robert Boyle Chillingworth taken from Pike’s Contemporary Biographies section of Hodges 1911 Cork and County Cork in the Twentieth Century, courtesy Cork City Libraries

Portrait of W. H. Hill taken from Pike’s Contemporary Biographies section of Hogdges 1911 Cork and County Cork in the Twentieth Century, courtesy Cork City Libraries

became a partner in the firm in 1929. He carried on the practice after Daniel Levie’s death in 1963. The firm was handed over in c.1972 to William Macilwraith (b.1931) and continued until his death in 1994. Levie’s brother John Begg Levie (1877-1957) worked briefly with Chillingworth & Levie before establishing himself in Dublin in 1930. The company’s offices were based at 11 South Mall for the period under consideration. ‘Woodville’, Rochestown, Co. Cork, the home of the Chillingworth Family, courtesy the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH)

The original business plaque of Chillingworth & Levie from 11 South Mall, Cork, Courtesy the MacIlwraith Family

When Daniel Levie came to Ireland at the turn of the nineteenth century, Cork was a fine commercial centre with an impressive array of department and other stores that sold many locally manufactured consumer goods. A handsome city with fine Georgian terraces and distinctive Victorian buildings, Cork retained its askew t-plan with an initial suburban expansion to the east, but featured significant overcrowding and inadequate housing in its historic core. The resolution of this issue was to form an important part of the work of Chillingworth & Levie. The merchant community, comprising Anglicans, Quakers, Presbyterians, Catholics and Methodists, that created the wealth of the city had remained essentially the same for nearly 150 years. Robert Chillingworth’s family was a part of that community and although an immigrant, as a Scots Presbyterian, Daniel Levie would have had little difficulty in integrating with middle class society of the time. The networks and ties afforded by this group were to

John Bartholomew’s map of Cork City, 1903, taken from The survey gazeteer of the British Isles, courtesy Cork City Libraries

prove critical to the development of the practice.

View of Patrick Street, Cork, c. 1900, from the Wilkie Collection of the Cork City and County Archives

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