◼︎ Property developer Mark Hinchliffe says of George Clarke, Channel 4’s Restoration Man: “He’s like a kindred spirit, passionate about the whole idea of restoring the best of our past. All five of his Tiger Aspect crew were great, really interested in what we were doing.”
George came to view Harrogate’s Wesleyan Chapel almost as soon as Hinchliffe’s company started work on renovating the Sunday School in 2013, after planning permission was granted for the pair of neighbouring Grade II listed buildings. “From then on, his team kept popping back to film every two or three months, at every crucial stage: massive girders going into the School to create a first floor where there was none before. . . again when we were digging out the cellars, and especially for the unveiling of its newly restored stained-glass windows. . . Then again for the big clean-up of both buildings’ exteriors, that were filthy with the grime of a century. George’s camera went up in the cherry-picker when the high-pressure hoses were in action.
“We last saw him this month when we went to inspect a fabulous chandelier custom-designed for the Chapel by Mark Brazier-Jones, the master furniture maker with many a piece in the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Louvre. I hope they include that sequence in Thursday’s TV show.”
The Sunday School was sold on soon after work finished, and George expressed real admiration for that stage having been completed in 24 weeks flat. The motivation for the Hinchliffe team was of course to make the sale so that proceeds could go straight into kick-starting restoration of the Chapel itself.