Faulder Family Genealogy

24 August, 2010

William Willett (b 1837) Founder of the building firm

There are (at least) two notable William Willetts. The most notable two are probably the father and son pair; the son (b 1856) is noted as the advocate of Daylight Saving, whilst his father is noted for founding the building firm Willetts.

William Willett (the elder) was born in Colchester in about 1837. His father Everard was a Vitular and his mother, Maria (who was Everard’s second wife) was an Innkeeper after being widowed in 1845. The 1851 Census shows that William was an apprentice stonemason living (with his mother and siblings*) at the Queens Head Inn, Hythe St, Colchester. *Siblings were an elder brother, John, a younger sister, Maria, and a probable step-sister, Sarah.

By the time of the 1861 Census he was a builder living at 261 Marylebone Road, London and gave his occupation as ‘Builder’ – He already owned a statutory company employing 7 men and 2 boys.  In 1871 he was living at 8 Prince Consort Road, Hampstead.  Prince Consort Road (later Belsize Crescent) was one of his developments. In 1881 he was in Hove at 1 Eaton Gardens (another Willett development – now part of the Willett Estate conservation area).  In later Censuses he was at 64 The Drive, Hove (still in the Willett Estate), where he died in 1913.

The web-site british-history.ac.ukopen new window details a number of places that he and his eldest son, William, developed in London. I have plotted these on a Google Mapopen new window (click on the blue felt-tip-like lines to see details). They made a habit of building high quality houses in areas that were, or would become, viewed as quality areas such as:

  • Belsize Park
  • Sloane Square
  • Kensington Palace Gardens
  • Grosvenor Square

Later they would build outside London, particularly in Chislehurst in Kent and Hove in Sussex.

Although most of the houses were speculatively built, they were built to a high standard usually using in-house architects (such as Harry Measures and Amos Faulkner).  The Willetts often built with red brick (made at the company’s brick works at Acton Vale) in a decorative style with features such as bay windows and ornate detailing.  Much emphasis was put on ensuring that light could get into all rooms (including basement rooms).  “Willett built” became a by-word for quality.

The company is no longer independent; the diagram below attempts to show where it has ended up (as at 2010).

Fate of Willett Builders

Fate of Willett Builders

1 Comment »

  1. My father, Mr Arthur Lawrence Clifford was born in Raynes Park Wimbledon in 1909. He maintained, that William Willets was an uncle, and told of his daylight saving proposals. He took us to Chislehusrt in 1960’s when we were children, I would be interested what relationship there was, and if anyone could find out what it was between Clifford and Willets, Corrigan was a name late 19th from Cork, they left Ireland in 1900’s. Mr Clifford family were burried in Battersea, Richard Clifford was in the navy, living in Sloane Square, Chelsea, Don’t know who his wife was or his father or mother was, If anyone has any information on the extended Willets family that would be of great interest. Any one got any ideas ?

    Comment in Noel Clifford — 14 May, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

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