Chelmsford Blog blog

Victorian architect has plaque unveiled

James Fenton, an accomplished architect who helped to build Chelmsford up has been honoured with a permanent in the town. He was responsible for developing nine buildings on New London Road.

Mr Fenton was also responsible for the implementing Chelmsford’s infrastructure of mains water and sewerage as well as the New London Road’s cemetery. He died in 1875.

Many of the buildings that he was behind are listed or protected in designated conservation areas.

Chelmsford Council have commemorated his work with a blue plaque as a mark of respect to the architect.

The plaque, which is located at Chelmsford social club in New London Road, which Mr Fenton designed and lived in, was unveiled by Mayor Bob Shepherd.

The council have been awarding bluue plaques to important historival figures in Chelmsford since 1986.

Mr Shepherd said: “I am immensely proud to unveil this plaque in memory of someone who helped create the Victorian framework of modern Chelmsford and who I hope would be very proud himself of our new city status.”

Councillor responsible for parks and heritage, Christopher Kingsley, said: “I was very pleased the council’s cabinet agreed to continue the blue plaque scheme, with one for James Fenton. He certainly fulfils our strict criteria and is an illustrious figure in the history of Chelmsford.”

Mr Fenton was born in 1805 in Reading and set up his architect’s practice in Chelmsford in 1830.

He was a specialist in the design of workhouses and non-conformist chapels. He was part of the consortium of five businessmen who laid out and developed New London Road.

He was appointed surveyor to the Chelmsford Local Board of Health in 1850 and planned and executed a major water supply and sewage system for the town which greatly improved health and sanitation in the town.

He was laid to rest at the Mr Fenton non-conformist cemetery in New London Road.

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