Cubitt, William 1791-1863, lord mayor of London, brother of Thomas Cubitt [qv.], was born at Buxton, near Coltishall, Norfolk, in 1791, and served for four years in the navy. He learned the business of a builder under his elder brother, and then joined him as a partner in the establishment at 37 Gray's Inn Road. Afterwards, when Thomas Cubitt, turning his attention to house building on a large scale, gave up his connection with the Gray's Inn Road works, William Cubitt carried them on alone, and as a builder and contractor conducted a large and very profitable business until his retirement in 1851. He served as one of the sheriffs of London and Middlesex 1847-8, became an alderman of Langbourn ward 1851, and was lord Mayor of London 1860-1. For his ability and munificence during that mayoralty he was re-elected for 1861-2, when he extended splendid hospitality to the foreign commissioners and others connected with the International Exhibition. During his mayoralty more than a quarter of million of money was sent to the Mansion House for various charitable funds, such as the Hartley colliery explosion fund and the Mansion House Lancashire relief Committee, for which Cubitt as treasurer collected 57,000l. In originating the public subscription for the national memorial to the prince consort in 1862 he took a leading part. Cubitt sat for the borough of Andover as a liberal-conservative from July 1847 to July 1861, when he allowed himself to be put into nomination for the city of London; but not meeting with success in that constituency he returned to Andover, and was re-elected on 17 Dec. 1862. He was president of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and prime warden of the Fishmongers' Company. He died at his residence, Penton Lodge, Andover, on 28 Oct. 1863, aged 72, and was buried on 2 Nov. The news of his death was received with much regret in the cotton districts, and in almost every town funeral sermons were preached at the request of the working classes, who did not forget that he inaugurated the fund from which more than 500,000l. were received for the relief of their distress. On the Sunday after his funeral muffled peals were rung in upwards of fifty churches, out of respect to his memory. He married, in 1814, Elizabeth, second daughter of William Scarlett of Norfolk. She died in 1854. His only son, of great promise, died in early manhood while at the university of Cambridge.

     Times, 30 Oct. 1863, p. 7
     City Press, 31 Oct. 1863, p. 5, and 7 Nov., pp. 3, 4
     Illustrated London News, 10 Nov. 1860, p. 435, with portrait, and 7 Nov. 1863, p. 478
     Gent. Mag. January 1864, pp. 120-2
     W. H. Jones's The Muffled Peal, 1863
     W. Day's Reminiscences (1886), i. 204.

Contributor: G. C. B. [George Clement Boase]

Published: 1888