George Clarke is a regular presenter on Channel 4 who viewers love to watch to get his wonderful insights into the world of architecture. He has brought us programmes like The Home Show, in which he’d give old, run down homes a complete revamp and turn them into nice, liveable spaces, and The Restoration Man, which saw him travel the country fixing up historic buildings.
His current programme, George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, sees the 47-year-old architect from Sunderland meet people who have taken on the challenge of carrying out renovation work on unconventional spaces such as boats, bunkers and sheds.
By his own admission, George has been fascinated by architecture since he was a young boy. Both his grandfathers were builders, so he spent a lot of time on construction sites observing and thinking about building designs.
He said: “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”.
George got into renovation right away, and would even renovate peoples’ homes while he was still studying Architectural Studies and a Certificate in Architectural Practice at the Newcastle University School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. In 1998 he co-founded his own architecture company and even carried out work for former Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller and legendary chef Jamie Oliver.
Such is George’s passion for architecture that he even renovated his own home. George lives in an Edwardian house in Notting Hill, West London. When he bought the house, it was a wreck, but George got to work on modernising it.
He told The Telegraph: “In 2007 it had three bedrooms, two storeys and 1,500 sq ft. It had been absolutely wrecked over the years, with all the period features ripped out and concrete roof tiles.
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“We took out every floor, every wall and the roof. We extended the back, the loft, and have just finished our massive basement cinema area and playroom. That’s now our kids’ domain.
“The house now has six bedrooms and 3,500 sq ft. We restored the clay pantiles and the timber sash windows. British housing stock has so much potential to be dragged into the 21st century”.
Being from the area, George was also witness to the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. He was interviewed by BBC Newsnight in which he claimed to have seen an act of heroism which was later found to have been unlikely to have taken place.
Speaking on the programme, George said: “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…”
Asked by the interviewer if he’d actually seen it, George insisted, saying: “Yeah, yeah…yeah…it’s just unbelievable.”
But a subsequent Newsnight investigation revealed that George most likely had not seen such an incident, and he was most probably just regurgitating a claim that had already been made by a member of the public to a reporter who had tweeted it.
Emergency services, however, had no record of the incident. Following tests carried out by experts on the physical possibility of the claim being true, the BBC 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”.
Confronted by Newsnight about his comments some time after the incident, George simply answered: “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”.
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