That glorious antiques treasure house opened in 1975 with a series of alcoholladen receptions hosted by CSK’s founder, the ebullient and genial chairman Bill Brooks.
As an antiques writer and journalist (as well as a dealer) I was invited to that press reception. My husband and I were unexpectedly asked to join Bill Brooks at his table. For months afterwards I was teased by David Moss (later of this publication) as he and various important newspaper editors ended up at the back of the room while we, mere freelance writers, ended up on the chairman’s table.
Brooks was heckled and barracked during his speech and obviously delighted in the repartee. He gave back more than he got from a very volatile audience. There were no speech police around in those days!
Today, at a comparable event, everything would be orchestrated and everyone kept in their place.
There would be little to remember.
The success of the saleroom was built on this relaxed atmosphere, along with the large number of sales and the expertise of the people who worked there.
It was never quite the same after Brooks retired as he ran the place in an engagingly idiosyncratic and very British way.
Every buyer must regret the proposed closure. CSK offered dealers and collectors sale upon sale of interesting pieces at a time when the antiques scene was becoming more exciting by the day. It was a place where top dealers mixed with market traders: where you could spend thousands or a few pounds. It was irresistible.
Yes, it was almost impossible to park and collect. Yes, in recent years it has become gentrified and much more expensive. The trade and patterns of collecting have changed but there are still many people hungry for interesting acquisitions and willing to work around the problems of the Brompton Road location.
Is it too much to hope that some other firm will take the place of CSK?
Tunbridge Wells, Kent