After being articled to Frank Smith in his native Leicester, Harris assisted J F Bentley, the architect of Westminster cathedral. He then became assistant to Knill Freeman in Bolton. After this he worked as an architectural assistant in the Admiralty offices in London. He won the RIBA Soane medallion in 1884.
He moved to Preston in 1906 on his appointment as Chief Assistant County Architect of the Lancashire County Council. Here he designed schools and an extension of the County Offices in Preston. He was made a Licentiate of the Royal Institute of British Architects on 30 January 1911. He retired in 1925.