"I was born in 1925 in London's Maida Vale.
Serious illness in my early years resulted in extensive periods in hospitals and convalescent homes, which meant virtually no schooling.
In 1938 apprenticeship to an old established firm of decorators introduced me to painting and decorating. Apprenticeship in those days meant mixing paint, gilding, graining and marbling and some instruction on the history of the craft. However, after service in the Royal Navy during the Second World War for 3 years I decided that house painting was not for me."