George Clarke (architect)

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George Clarke
George-contact.jpg
Born (1974-05-27) 27 May 1974 (age 45)
Sunderland, England
ResidenceNotting Hill, London
EducationNewcastle University; University College London
OccupationTelevision presenter, architect, lecturer, author
EmployerChannel 4 (2008—)
Channel 5 (2004–07)
TelevisionPresenting:
The Restoration Man
The Home Show
George Clarke's Amazing Spaces
Spouse(s)Katie Clarke (wife)[citation needed]
WebsiteOfficial Website

George Clarke (born 27 May 1974) is an English architect, television presenter, lecturer and writer, best known for his work on the Channel 4 programmes The Home Show, The Restoration Man and George Clarke's Amazing Spaces.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Clarke was born in Sunderland and brought up in nearby Washington. His mother, Anne, worked at Oxclose Comprehensive School, where Clarke was a pupil. His father, a printer[3] died when George was 6, and his mother later remarried.[4] By his own admission, Clarke was a popular but very shy child.[5]

Both Clarke's grandfathers were builders and, after spending school holidays in and around building sites, he decided he wanted to be an architect from the age of 12:

There was nothing else I ever wanted to do. When most of the kids were playing with building blocks and pieces of Lego, I was actually on building sites.[4]

Clarke left school at 16 and found a job with a local firm of architects, David W. Johnson.[citation needed] He studied for a BTEC in Building and Construction at Wearside College, Sunderland, before gaining a First Class BA Honours in Architectural Studies and a Certificate in Architectural Practice from Newcastle University, followed by a post-graduate diploma from London's Bartlett School of Architecture.[6] Whilst he was a student, Clarke supported himself financially by renovating people's homes in his spare time.[7]

Career[edit]

Architecture[edit]

After graduating in 1995, Clarke trained and worked with FaulknerBrowns in Newcastle upon Tyne, before joining world-famous architect Sir Terry Farrell, working in both London and Hong Kong. In 1998, with partner Bobby Desai, he formed his own company, clarke:desai – clients included Simon Fuller and Jamie Oliver.[8]

In 2011, Clarke left clarke:desai and set up a new company George Clarke + Partners, with 25 staff.[3] At the time Clarke commented:

I’ve had a fantastic time at clarke:desai and I’m proud of all the projects we have completed over the years, but, as you can imagine, my media work has taken me in a different direction and I now want to start a new company that isn’t just about architecture, but also covers all aspects of the design, build and property development business.[8]

The firm has mainly been involved in renovation and refurbishment projects but it has also designed new buildings.[3]

Between 2001–2003, Clarke was a visiting lecturer at Newcastle University. He is currently a visiting lecturer at the University of Nottingham's School for the Built Environment.[8]

Clarke has set up a charity organisation called Ministry of Building Innovation and Education (MOBIE) which is designed to train and inspire young people into the innovation and design of homes in the U.K. and abroad. MOBIE also designed a course in partnership with Teesside University.

Television[edit]

Clarke's television career came about by chance. He had approached a literary agent after being asked to write a book about architecture, not realising the agency also represented television presenters. He was subsequently asked to screen test for a new Channel 5 programme called Build A New Life in the Country, which had been struggling to find a suitably charismatic building professional to front the show.[9] Clarke was offered the job, and then went on to present two more property shows for Channel 5 before being commissioned to present The Restoration Man for Channel 4.[4]

Since 2004, he has been the main presenter for the following programmes:

Property Dreams (2004), Dream Home Abroad (2005) and Build A New Life in the Country (2005–07), all for Channel 5. The Home Show (2008—), The Restoration Man (2010 —), The Great British Property Scandal (2011), The Great British Property Scandal: Every Empty Counts (2012) and George Clarke's Amazing Spaces (2012—), all for Channel 4 and Old House New Home and Ugly House To Lovely House (also Channel 4).[citation needed]

Books[edit]

Clarke is also the author of several books, including: Home Bible (Orion), and Build a New Life: by Creating Your New Home.[10][11]

Personal life[edit]

Clarke grew up with three younger sisters. He lives in Notting Hill, West London with his wife Katie Clarke and has three children from his previous marriage. Clarke has completely renovated his 1910 house, transforming the interior into a modern, slick home, while restoring the exterior to its original appearance.[12]

Clarke was on the judging panel of the Affordable Home Ownership Housing Awards in 2007.[1]

In April 2012, Clarke was appointed as an independent adviser to the government to help bring thousands of empty properties back into use for families in need of stable, secure homes.[13]

Clarke is a patron of the Civic Trust Awards scheme.[14] He is an ambassador for the housing and homeless charity Shelter, as well as a Building Community ambassador for the Prince's Foundation.[15] He is also a supporter of Sunderland A.F.C.[citation needed]

He still has family in Blackfell, Washington, and Sunderland, and visits the area at least two or three times a year.[4]

Honours[edit]

In July 2012, Clarke carried the Olympic torch through Camden after his brother-in-law Swiggy Drummond, who was the original candidate for the honour, died of cancer.[16]

In January 2014, Clarke became the youngest person ever to be awarded honorary membership of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Hon RICS).[17] In July 2015, Clarke was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Leeds Beckett University for his contribution to the arts.[18] In September 2015, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Wolverhampton as a Doctor of Technology[19] and, in December 2015, he received an honorary doctorate from Northumbria University.[20]

Grenfell Tower controversy[edit]

On the day of the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, Clarke, a nearby resident, was filmed by a BBC Newsnight crew (interviewer David Grossman), claiming to have witnessed an act of heroism concerning a child being thrown from an eighth-floor window and being caught by a single individual:

Clarke: "One guy caught a kid...[the] kid was thrown out of a window from about the eighth floor, and the guy just caught him...it's amazing...
Interviewer: "Really?"
Clarke: "yeah, yeah"
Interviewer: "You, you saw that?"
Clarke: "yeah, yeah...yeah...it's just unbelievable, you know" [21]

A subsequent Newsnight investigation into the alleged circumstances revealed the initial source of the report to be a live interview being given by a member of the public during the course of the fire at 10:08 on 14 June 2018 to Ryan Hooper, a Press Association reporter who Tweeted it; subsequently it was repeated by other media – The Telegraph, Evening Standard, Daily Star, MailOnline, the Independent, the BBC,[22] and then around the globe. The investigation contacted the emergency services, which had no record of any such event, and explored the physics of a 7 kg (15 lb) weight being dropped from eight floors up, with expert opinion on the consequences of such a fall on the body of an infant, and creating a simulation using a bowling ball dropped from a multi-storey car park.[21]

When asked for comment by BBC Newsnight some time after the tragedy, both the initial source of the report and Clarke declined to comment, but Clarke issued a statement: "I don't want to make any comment on it. Nothing whatsoever because it's such a contentious issue and I think it's so hurtful to so many people". The BBC report concluded that they "haven't turned up anything that suggests this amazing event actually happened - indeed all the available evidence points to the opposite conclusion", and characterised it as a phenomenon called false narrative.[23][24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "George Clarke biography". Biogs.com. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  2. ^ "George Clarke's Amazing Spaces". Channel 4. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Curtis, Nick. "George Clarke – I am single for the first time since I was about 18". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d Wilson, Karen (3 April 2010). "Fans go nuts for TV architect George Clarke". The Journal. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  5. ^ Graham, Jane (12 August 2012). "George Clarke: I Had to Get Confident". The Big Issue. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  6. ^ "A Reputation For Restoration". ncl. 3 April 2010. Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  7. ^ "Restoration Man George Clarke craves the Roker Roar". Northern Life Magazine. 9 October 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  8. ^ a b c Fulcher, Merlin (9 September 2011). "TV celebrity architect George Clarke splits from partner". The Architect's Journal. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  9. ^ "George Clarke: Do Housewives Try it On?". The Daily Mirror. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  10. ^ Home Bible by George Clarke. Orien. ASIN 0297860321.
  11. ^ Built a New Life by Creating Your New Home by George Clarke. Orion. ASIN 1844035689.
  12. ^ Clarke, George (22 February 2011). "My Space by George Clarke architect". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  13. ^ "George Clarke appointed empty homes adviser". Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  14. ^ "George is a Patron of the Civic Trust Awards scheme". George Clarke. 16 September 2009. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Prince's Foundation: Ambassadors". Prince's Foundation for Building Community: Ambassadors. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  16. ^ "George Carries the Flame for Brother-in-law as Olympic Torchbearer". georgeclarke.com. 13 June 2012. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  17. ^ "TV's George Clarke win top honour for his passion for the trade". ChronicleLive. Trinity Mirror Northeast. Evening Chronicle. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  18. ^ Braithwaite, Carrie (24 July 2015). "'Restoration Man' presenter receives honorary degree". Leeds Beckett University website. Leeds Beckett University. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  19. ^ Jones, Tamlyn (11 August 2015). "TV architect George Clarke and former MP Clare Short to receive honorary degrees". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  20. ^ Allison, David (8 December 2015). "Washington architect and TV star George Clarke is given honorary degree". Sunderland Echo. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  21. ^ a b David Grossman (10 October 2017). The mystery of the Grenfell baby. BBC Newsnight. Retrieved 7 January 2019. Was a baby really thrown from Grenfell Tower and caught by a member of the public on the night of the devastating blaze
  22. ^ London fire: Baby caught after being 'dropped to safety from tower' BBC News, 14 June 2017. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2019
  23. ^ Dramatic Grenfell baby story probably never happened BBC Newsnight, 9 October 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2019
  24. ^ Newsnight editor defends report questioning eye witness accounts of baby thrown from Grenfell Tower Press Gazette, 10 October 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2019

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