Cameron Road, IG3

Place name

Archibald Cameron Corbett (May 23, 1856 – March 19, 1933) was one of the most prolific developers in late Victorian/Edwardian England, laying out huge estates across the capital. He was the second son of Thomas Corbett, a Glasgow merchant and philanthropist. As a teenager he opted to go on tour in Europe rather than take a place at university. This included a visit to Rome where the architecture left an indelible impression on the young man. In the 1870s his father, who had moved from Scotland to London, bought a large estate in Forest Gate where he began to lay out housing. Upon their father’s death, Archibald and his elder brother Tom continued the work buying up more estates including ones in Forest Gate, Catford and Eltham. The high standard properties ensured that they continued to attract good middle-class buyers. However, because of the influence of his Presbyterian mother none of the estates had public houses. The website e7-nowandthen.org describes his influence: “Looking at the housing developments in Ilford at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries, Corbett could, were he not so modest, have a good claim to be the founding father of modern suburban Ilford. Indeed, the vice-chair of Ilford Town council, in 1902 said: ‘The impetus to Ilford was given by Mr Corbett’.” After a lifetime in development and serving as an MP, he was awarded a peerage in 1911, becoming 1st Baron Rowallan after the Scottish estate he bought in 1901. As for this street it was laid out in 1897 on land formerly belonging to the Downshall estate. The ancient manor of Downshall, the name deriving from a family of tenants named Dun, was held by Barking abbey until its closure in 1546. Along with the other nearby estates of Newbury and Aldborough Hatch the Crown then gave it to Sir Richard Gresham who subsequently sold Downshall to Bartholomew Barnes. It descended down the centuries thereafter until its development.

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