IT was a family occasion on Friday June 9 at Bonhams when chairman Robert Brooks invited his father Bill to unveil a plaque for the lecture theatre in their Bond Street HQ in front of a small gathering of family members and senior staff from the auction house.

Chairman Robert Brooks invited his father Bill to unveil a plaque.

Bill Brooks has a long connection with Bonhams, having worked at the Knightsbridge rooms back in the 1950s, a fact commemorated by an oil painting that hangs in the lecture hall.

What Mr Brooks Senior did not know when he pulled the curtain back was that the lecture theatre had been named in his honour. "I've never been so surprised in all my life, I was asked here under false pretences to take the family out to lunch. I never dreamed it would involve me," Bill Brooks told ATG. Asked what it was like to have a lecture theatre named after him, he said: "It must be unusual to say the least. I've had some surprises in my my life but I don't think I've had anything to compare," adding that he was going to go back and check the plaque.