Devon House, Anchor Street (erected 1989)


Colonel Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton (1845 to 1940) was a leading authority in electrical engineering and pioneered electric street lighting and electric traction motors. He installed electric street lights around the town centre to celebrate the incorporation of the Borough of Chelmsford in 1888, making Chelmsford one of the earliest towns to receive electric street lighting.

Crompton set up his original factory, known as the 'Arc Works' in Queen Street in 1878. After a fire in 1885, he built a huge new electrical engineering factory also called the 'Arc Works' in Writtle Road, which was frequently targeted by the Luftwaffe during World War II. 

In 1969, Crompton Parkinson Ltd was downsized and operations moved elsewhere after a takeover, and the site was taken over by the Marconi Company. The factory closed in the 1990s and, apart from the frontage on Writtle Road, was demolished. A housing development called 'The Village' now occupies the site with road names such as Rookes Crescent, Evelyn Place, Crompton Street and Parkinson Drive as tributes to the former occupier.

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