Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1821-1881 - Upper James Street (Westminster)

Civil engineer Benedetto Albano was born about 1796 in Naples. Whilst studying architecture in his home town, he became associated with the revolutionary Carbonari society in July 1820 and was accused of having participated in the killing of a policeman. Forced into exile, he moved to Spain first, and from there to London where he finished his studies in architecture and engineering. He remained active politically active within the large group of Italian exiles in London. By 1831, living at no. 1 Upper James Street, Golden Square, he was employed by the prominent marine engineers R. & J. Rennie at no. 6 Holland Street, Blackfriars, and became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. His most notable contribution to London’s architectural history was his remodelling of the auditorium of Covent Garden to make it suitable for opera and ballet performances. The theatre reopened as the Royal Italian Opera on 6 April 1847 with a performance of Rossini’s Semiramide (and was destroyed by fire on 5 March 1856). Albano died in 1881.

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