Thomas Cubitt

As many of you know, Valkyrie are based at 15 Belgrave Square, London.  Thomas Cubitt, a master builder, was commissioned in 1824 by Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster, to create a great swathe of building in Belgravia centred on Belgrave Square, in what was to become his greatest achievement in London.

The son of a Norfolk carpenter, he journeyed to India as ship’s carpenter from which he earned sufficient funds to start his own building firm in 1810 on Gray’s Inn Road, London where he was one of the first builders to have a ‘modern’ system of employing all the trades under his own management, as opposed to employing subcontractors.

Cubitt was also responsible for the east front of Buckingham Palace.  He also built and personally funded nearly a kilometre of the Thames Embankment. He was employed in the large development of Kemp Town in Brighton, and Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, completed in 1851, which was Queen Victoria’s holiday home.

Cubitt died in 1855 after his death, Queen Victoria said, “In his sphere of life, with the immense business he had in hand, he is a real national loss. A better, kindhearted or more simple, unassuming man never breathed.”

In Elizabeth Street, Belgravia, there is a Thomas Cubitt pub, named after our master builder.

Coincidentally, a cubit is an ancient unit of length based on the distance from the elbow to the middle finger. It was primarily associated with the Sumerians, Egyptians and Israelites. “Cubits” is found in the Bible re: Noah’s Ark, Ark of the Covenant, Tabernacle, Solomon’s Temple.

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