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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.
Cubitt's first major building was the London Institution in Finsbury Circus, built in 1815. After this he worked primarily on speculative housing at Camden Town, Islington, and especially at Highbury Park, Stoke Newington (now part of Islington).
He was commissioned in 1824 by Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster, to create a great swathe of building in Belgravia centred around Belgrave Square and Pimlico, in what was to become his greatest achievement in London. Notable amongst this development are the north and west sides of Eaton Square, which exemplify Cubitt's style of building and design.
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. Cubitt's public works included the provision of public parks, including being an organiser of the Battersea Park Scheme.
In 1827 he withdrew from the management of the business he had established at Gray's Inn Road leaving such matters to his brother William Cubitt; the firm of Cubitts still carried out the work of Thomas Cubitt and the change robbed neither of the partners of the credit for their work.
He died in 1855 and was taken from Dorking for burial at West Norwood Cemetery on 27 December 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." Another statue of Cubitt can be seen in Dorking, opposite the Dorking Halls, as he was favoured there for his architecture on his Denbies estate.