Born at Kensington, England in 1845, he was educated at private schools before studying at the South Kensington School of Arts. He worked in London for nine years before emigrating to Canada in 1870, where he practiced as an architect at Montreal and Ottawa, designing at the latter place the post office, customs and inland revenue buildings, a church, and various businesses and homes. He moved to Winnipeg in 1881 and was soon after joined by a Mr. McNichol in the architectural firm of Chesterton and McNichol until 1890, after which he practiced alone until around 1901 when he returned to Ottawa.
He and wife Martha Sophia Ashworth (1850-1928) had three children: Cyril Ashworth Chesterton (b 1878), Copley Walter Chesterton (1879-1965), and Lillian S. Chesterton (b 1880). A noted painter, Chesterton’s work was exhibited frequently at the Art Association of Montreal.
He died at Ottawa on 13 November 1931.
Some of his architectural works in Manitoba included:
- Vaughan Street Gaol (444 York Avenue, Winnipeg), 1881-1883
- H. N. Ruttan residence (Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg), 1881
- H. M. Drummond residence (River Avenue, Winnipeg), 1882
- A. C. Killam residence (St. Boniface West), 1882
- John B. McKilligan residence (Donald Street, Winnipeg), 1882
- E. P. Leacock residence (Kildonan), 1882
- Francis B. Robinson residence (Edmonton Street, Winnipeg), 1885
- William Hatton residence (Donald Street, Winnipeg), 1887
- Fort Rouge School (River Avenue, Winnipeg), 1891
- Stonewall School No. 108 (Stonewall), 1891
- Glenboro School No. 512 (Glenboro), 1892
- St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church (Virden), 1892
- Virden School (Virden), 1892
- W. W. McLeod residence (Broadway, Winnipeg), 1892
- William A. Black residence (Edmonton Street, Winnipeg), 1893
- George V. Hastings residence (Donald Street, Winnipeg), 1893 - demolished
- Lauchlan A. Hamilton (Assiniboine Avenue, Winnipeg), 1894
- Waghorn / Bain residence (69 East Gate, Winnipeg), 1896
- A. W. Ross residence (Fort Rouge, Winnipeg), 1890s
- George L. Lindsay residence (Donald Street, Winnipeg), 1899
- W. J. Tupper residence (145 Middle Gate, Winnipeg), 1900
- Rockley Kaye / Wood residence (86 West Gate, Winnipeg), 1901 - demolished 1989
- John F. Bain residence (Roslyn Road, Winnipeg), 1901
- Douglas A. Clark residence (Roslyn Road, Winnipeg), 1903
- Manitou Anglican Church (Manitou), 1903
- Manitou Normal School (Manitou), 1903 - demolished
The Canadian Architect and Builder, Volume 10, Issue 1, page 4, 1897.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Marriage registration [C. A. Chesterton], Ancestry.
Death registration [M. S. Chesterton], Ancestry.
Death registration [C. W. Chesterton], BC Archives Genealogy.
“Walter Chesterton expires at Ottawa”, Manitoba Free Press, 16 November 1931, page 18.
Winnipeg Building Index
Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, 1800-1950 by Robert G. Hill, Toronto.
This profile was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Profile revised: 15 December 2012
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A collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.
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