William Chadwick (January 1, 1797 – December 8, 1852) was a speculative builder and a railway engineer who acquired land in the Grove Park area in the early 19thCentury. Camberwell’s springs had long established it as a desirable location and, as the Capital expanded, its fields had been rapidly converting to streets and terraces. Chadwick is described by William Harnett Blanch in his history of Camberwell as a “self-made man who commenced his business in Southwark”. He completed several major building projects including housing and churches as well as providing masonry for several important public buildings before turning his attention to the railways in the 1830s. He consulted for Maidenhead Railway Bridge in 1838 and Great Western Railway. In 1841 he became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Prior to its development, the land had belonged to Dr Lettsom, the Quaker physician and philanthropist, who lived in a mansion at Grove Park between 1779 – 1810. After Lettsom sold his house, its famous gardens, orchard and hothouses, began to be built over for housing. Chadwick himself resided on the estate for a while, in a villa next to Dr Lettsom’s, before starting to build on it in earnest from the 1840s. The street was named after him in 1877.
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