James Fenton (Architect and surveyor)
108 New London Road, now the home of the Chelmsford Club (erected April 2012)
Fenton set up an architects’ practice in Chelmsford in 1830. He specialised firstly in workhouses, and later in non-conformist chapels.
From 1839 to 1843, he was part of a consortium of five local business men, called the Chelmsford Company, who laid out and developed New London Road. Fenton personally designed a number of houses in New London Road, including his own, Laurel Grove.
The development of New London Road included the substantial engineering feat of building a new cast iron bridge, designed by Fenton of course, to take the road across the river Can. The bridge was carried away by floods in August 1888.
In 1850 Fenton was appointed Surveyor to the newly-formed Chelmsford Local Board of Health. He planned and executed a major water supply and sewage system for the town. This brought about significant improvements in local health and sanitation.
In 1857, Fenton resigned to take up a similar post with the Croydon Health Board. He is, however, buried in the Non-Conformist cemetery in New London Road which he had designed.