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Sir George Downing grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1642. In 1645 he left Salem, spent some time in the West Indies, and eventually went to England. In the years immediately following graduation from Harvard he worked as a preacher. He left preaching and took up a military career. He served as Scout Master General (intelligence chief) for Oliver Cromwell's forces and ultimately became Treasury Secretary of England. He later became ambassador to the Netherlands. Under Charles II, he was rewarded for his service to the Crown with a piece of land on which in 1682 he began construction of a street and began building 15 to 20 houses. The street was named Downing Street after its developer. Today's number 10 was originally number 5, but was changed in 1779.