Registered Charity Number 1155363

Home The Collection Conservation Who's Who & How to Help What's New Contact

[email protected]

What is The Brooking National Collection?

Expanding The Collection

Many items are recovered just before or during demolition or alteration work – usually, by Charles himself. Information about potential discoveries can come by word of mouth, or from an alert by construction companies and property developers. Offers come also from The Royal Collection, the National Trust, English Heritage, local authorities, owners of country estates, and so on.

Much of the process comes from co-operation, networking and goodwill. With these over many years, great reference pieces have now been saved.                                                                                                                    

The Brooking National Collection of Architectural Detail is the only major national resource of its kind in the UK. Using thousands of carefully-selected artefacts recovered from buildings that faced demolition or alteration, it charts the evolution of Britain’s constructional elements over the last 500 years.

The Collection’s founder, Charles Brooking, has rescued architectural features from all over the British Isles, from Jersey to John O’Groats. Since 1966 he has retrieved them from iconic buildings that range from the humble terrace house and vernacular cottage, to great country estates and Royal palaces.

This invaluable archive is legendary in the world of conservation, and has much to teach anyone with an interest in Britain’s rich architectural heritage. It is unique in offering a ‘hands-on’ experience – nowhere else can one examine, for instance, the inner workings of an 18th-century sash window, the cunning design of an elegant Georgian staircase, or the colourful doors from the Royal Box at the old Wembley Stadium.          

Halls of Fame Windows Fanlights Mouldings Staircases Ironmongery Stained Glass Fire Grates Rainwater Goods Everything Else From A to Z

“The importance of the

Brooking Collection can

scarcely be over-estimated.

It is extraordinary and

unique - a living, practical aid to architectural practice and education, as well as an

illumination of a significant

part of our history.”


Close attention is paid to the social hierarchy of detail and joinery, so important in historic buildings. Pieces preserved range from the spectacular to the ordinary, and sometimes the banal. All have their place, even numerous examples of the once-derided factory-made metal window.

The Collection does not discriminate between the humblest and the grandest,’ says Charles Brooking. ‘Nobody else, no other Collection does this – to embrace the everyday as well as the privileged.’

A 1760’s doorcase (left) being erected at an exhibition at Islington in 1999.

Home The Collection Conservation Who's Who & How to Help What's New Contact