After leaving secondary school in 1969 I studied for a short while at Barking College of Technology but became frustrated by the lack of ambition of the course there. So I applied to Hornsey College of Art where to my great joy I was accepted and spent three demanding yet enjoyable years learning the profession of the technical Illustrator. Precise line drawing and airbrush work were de rigueur in those days and I learned these skills from the excellent teachers there. Alongside the regular college assignments I was often asked if I would be interested in taking on freelance work and spent many weekends and evenings working on these extra jobs from which I learnt a great deal and earned a little money. I graduated with honours in the summer of 1972 with a project about airships, a subject that had caught my deep interest at the time. I recall spending many long days researching in the Science Museum Library before sketching out my ideas, usually on the train home, as to how I could translate the fascination I had for the subject into images for my graduation project.
After leaving college I got a job with Shirley Parfitt's studio in London where I worked on illustrations for a so-called 'partwork' for children about science. Shirley decided to leave the studio in Charlotte Street she was renting and I proposed to two college colleagues - David Penney and Terry Allen - that we should take it over. From that time onwards we shared the space at Charlotte Street between us and I worked as a freelancer for various publishers, design studios and advertising agencies in London. They were happy years where hard work was always combined with great fun and a lot of laughter. I have very fond memories of my time at the studio in Charlotte Street and with my decision to move to The Netherlands in 1978 it was with quite some sadness that I left those much enjoyed days there behind me.
The years at 19 Charlotte Street were very happy ones for me and after we moved I would go back regularly to visit Grant, our landlord at the time, who had become a good friend. He used the studio at the front of the building with the railings outside and rented the back room out to Dave, Terry and myself. Grant retired long ago and Bertorelli eventually sold up after a long and successful life as a restaurateur. When I was there recently I was shocked to see what had happened in the name of modern commerce to the delightful building I once knew.