Registered Charity Number 1155363

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From Bakelite to Browning

Charles Brooking’s passion for architectural detail began back in 1956 when he was just three, and fascinated by the stylised 1930’s Bakelite house numbers he saw on neighbours’ front gates.

In the years since then he has allowed nothing to stand in the way of his determination to preserve telling mementos of Britain’s built heritage. A lack of transport was no obstacle when he rescued the heavy iron Regency hob grate from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s bedroom in London. He brought it back by taxi and a crowded commuter train. A taxi came in useful once more when he retrieved a fine glass Adam fanlight from the Chinese Embassy in Portland Place. After he did succeed in buying a car, Charles has never since knowingly driven past a builder’s skip without stopping to examine its contents for items of interest.

Neither has he kept his growing knowledge to himself. For 24 years he was Senior Lecturer in Architectural Detail at the University of Greenwich, teaching aspiring students and architectural professionals from all over the world. Joint winner of the National Art Collections Award in 1987, he is a widely-recognised consultant in his field. Rarely does a day go by when he does not receive a call for advice from major government establishments, local planning authorities or leading architects in conservation.

Often interviewed on TV, radio and in the national and local press, Charles has an abiding interest in bringing his knowledge to the widest possible public. He is a frequent contributor to specialist books and magazines, and a comprehensive book on the history of window development in Britain is now on the stocks.

Charles in the gallery of his home collection.

What is it for? Charles Brooking How it began Courses Videos Venice Biennale
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