Richard William Drew was born at Westminster about 1834, the youngest son of George Drew (1789-1862), solicitor of Bermondsey, and his wife, Mary, nee Harvey. (1791-1864). Over time George and his brother, Beriah Drew, built up considerable estates, particularly in Streatham, some of which they developed.
Educated by Mr G. H. Hodson of Berkshire before being admitted a Pensioner at Trinity College Cambridge on 21 May 1853.Richard is recorded as having been a pupil of the architect Henry Woodyear,
Drew set himself up as an architect and surveyor at 9 Pall Mall in 1860, the first recorded date for him as an architect. His first commissions were additions and repairs to two villas close to the family home of Leigham Lodge, Streatham, in 1860. These were followed up with designs for new build houses at Streatham through 1861-62.
(Architects of Greather Manchester)