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George Elias Basevi

1794-1845

6 Highbury Place

An architect specialising in the neo-classical and gothic revival styles, was said to be a favourite of the outstanding London architect of the time, Sir John Soane. George is best known for designing Belgrave Square in London, a portfolio of prestigious residential buildings in Kensington and Chelsea, and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.


He was brought up at 6 Highbury Place. His parents, George Joshua Basevi and Bathsheba née Lindo, were well-to-do and well-connected Sephardi Jews of Italian and Portuguese extraction.

Often referred to as Britain’s first Jewish architect, George Elias was not however the first practising Jewish architect. That accolade goes to his younger cousin David Mocatta. George’s father (like the latter’s brother-in-law Isaac D’Israeli) drifted away from Bevis Marks synagogue in the City. In consequence, the children – George Elias included – retained little formal attachment to the Jewish faith in adult life.


George would have no difficulty in taking on several church-building projects, giving rein to his Gothic Revival talents. It was while inspecting repairs at Ely Cathedral that he fell to his death from the west tower, and inside the Cathedral is where he lies buried.


George Elias Basevi
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