Charles Brooking


The Redhill Rescues

Charles Brooking is a fascinating and knowledgeable collector of architectural detail, The Brooking Collection of Architectural Detail, and as a Chartered Surveyor we find his lifelong quest to collect British building details unique, informative and valuable and a collection that must be kept intact for years to come. If you need help and advice with regard to building surveys, structural surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, dilapidations or any other property matters please free phone 0800 298 5424.

The following is one of a series of interviews with Charles Brooking, Historic and Listed Buildings Detail Expert, The Brooking Collection of Architectural Detail and an Independent Chartered Surveyor where we have recorded his comments and various aspects that have affected windows and doors and other collectibles. The interviews outline how his collection started and built over the years and gives an insight into the amazing architectural features housed in his fine collection.

Surveyor: Did you rescue any architectural details from Redhill, Surrey?

Charles Brooking : Yes, Redhill was the site of major rescues I made in the early 70's in roads such as Station Road, Hatchlands Road, Warwick Road, London Road and a very large street near the station.

Rescue defined

Charles Brooking defines a rescue as saving a window or door or staircase that would be doomed.

Charles Brooking was a pioneer in the rescue of architectural detailing as many years ago it was very much considered a strange and an unusual past time to want to rescue old parts of buildings with everything new and shiny being so important.

I carried out many rescues all over Redhill including ones in Brighton Road, St Anne's Drive, Ladbroke Road many buildings were being demolished and there was a wealth of architectural detail to find and rescue. The Methodist Central Hall on the London Road which was built in1933 was where I rescued several items and in Hatchlands Road there was a marvellous double villa, built in the 1850's, with enamelled margin light windows which I added to my collection.

Margin Light Defined

It's a window with margins round the borders and you've got those cross corners, with perhaps a rosette or glory style in cut glass, or enamel glass, or acid edge glass.

A row of 1840's shops and houses, which were some of the oldest houses in Redhill in Station Road were demolished in the summer of '72, or late Spring which were a great source of architectural details. In London Road, one or two large semi-detached Victorian villas, going out on the right hand side towards London again had some interesting items to rescue. In Warwick Road there was a Kent villa, a wonderful, smallish, but still quite smart Italianate villa, built of local clunch stone, it crumbling but very intact inside.


From a terraced property in Ladbroke Road I recovered a wonderful etched glass fanlight, the fanlight was acid edged and was flashed with amber and etched through the amber on the plain glass around the house number one with a floral surrounding, I rescued the whole thing floral decoration and the actual glass. I had to remove it carefully and cut out the putty to get it out and I didn't have a great deal of time because the building was being demolished.


So, Redhill, Surrey provided a great deal of interest and my collection of architectural detail was growing fast.

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