Feature Mondays - In the Workshop with Peter Brooking archive
Monday 2 November 2015
This month, we visit the workshop of Peter Brooking, who sadly passed away earlier this year
Having undertaken various jobs after finishing school, Peter spent some time at Smithfield Meat Market as a salesman and, with an interest in carpentry, in his spare time started making beech (Fagus sylvatica) cutting benches and display stands in his garage for various firms at the market. This developed into a full-time business in a farm building and he was able to leave the market as a result. A big decision was made to sell the family bungalow and buy a small joinery works that was up for sale locally; this presented many problems as Peter wasn't experienced in this more complicated work. He employed a man who became a great friend and taught him how to make staircases of all types, as well as ornate doors and windows for conservation schemes, etc. By this time, Peter was working with Canadian clear pine (Pinus contorta) and many different hardwoods. A really practical man, he made his own spindle cutters for skirtings, etc. and had hundreds of different patterns available for local builders and carpenters.
The carving bug caught him on a trip to Bali where he was amazed at the quality of work being produced on the streets. He had interests in the military and many of his carvings were of soldiers, horsemen, etc. He also carved some amusing things, which are not really suitable for the magazine!
Over 20 years of carving, Peter accumulated a vast range of tools and made many of his own. Most of his work was carved in lime (Tilia vulgaris), the majority of which was lacquered and some was painted by a lady called Pam English who used to work at the art and craft shop below Peter's flat. According to his son, Peter never felt his work was worthy of 'showing off' so we are delighted to be able to feature it here.