James Cubitt


1836 – 1912

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Who was James Cubitt?

James Cubitt was a Victorian church architect specialising in building non-conformist chapels. He was the son of a Baptist minister, from Norfolk who taught at Spurgeon's Pastor's College in South Norwood Hill — then on the outskirts of London.

Cubitt was articled to the firm of Isaac Charles Gilbert, in Nottingham and joined W. W. Pocock building chapels for the Wesleyans. From 1862, he formed his own office, forming a partnership with Henry Fuller in 1868.

Cubitt's philosophy was laid out in his book, Church Design for Congregations. He attacked as obsolete the traditional nave and aisle design. When the "columns are thick or moderately thick, it inevitably shuts out a multitude of people from the service ... When, on the other hand, its columns are thin, the inconvenience is removed, but the architecture is ruined ... The type as it remains is but a shadow of its former self–a medieval church in the last stage of starvation". Too many architects were failing the principal criteria of their brief: "to produce a grand and beautiful church in which everyone could see and hear the service".

His chapels are built as broad uncluttered spaces around a central pulpit and Lord's table.

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on July 23, 2013


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