“The tutors are incredibly helpful and knowledgeable; no question is too trivial to be put to them. The amount of attention the students receive and the happy, warm atmosphere have made it a pleasure to come to class every day.”

Yuqi, Malaysia

Anselm Fraser
School Principal and Senior Lecturer

Anselm trained in Sussex with Michael Hay-Will in 1981 before setting up his bespoke furniture and handmade kitchen business, Anselm Fraser Furniture.

He started the Chippendale International School of Furniture in 1985 and has since trained nearly 300 students, many of whom have gone on to open furniture and cabinet making businesses around the world.

A natural communicator with an outgoing personality, Anselm’s hands-on and enthusiastic approach to teaching is much loved by his students. His inspirational style marries the 18th century values of Thomas Chippendale with 21st century techniques.

Anselm’s lectures are one of the highlights of the school day, but he believes that it is only by living and working with wood in a busy workshop that a student can excel in this demanding discipline.

Highly regarded in the furniture world, Anselm also talks as a guest lecturer at various institutions including Edinburgh University and Gordonstoun College.

His extra-curricular activities include walking, swimming and house restorations.

View our founder section to find out more about Anselm.

Alan McGovern
Workshop Manager and Health & Safety Advisor

Since leaving high school in 1985 Alan was trained by Anselm at the Chippendale International School of Furniture with further training at The Midland International School of Polishing.

He is an expert in finishing and polishing techniques, and an accomplished teacher and demonstrator.

Alan also has a Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) Assessors’ Award which means that Alan works as an assessor to validate UK Government recognised furniture-making exams.

In his spare time Alan enjoys going to the gym and computing.

Graham Davies
Senior Tutor, Veneer, Marquetry & Gilding

Graham joined the School in 1990, where he served a three-year apprenticeship.  He is a time-served furniture restorer and maker – and is now the School’s Senior Tutor.

Graham attended the Jean Burhouse Furniture Workshop to study wood-staining and colour matching and, with the German company Konig, he honed his expertise in veneer repairs, Dutch marquetry and gilding.

Today, he enjoys sharing with our students his passion for furniture making.

Beyond the workshop, Graham enjoys cycling and home improvements.

Clare Charleston

After leaving school in 1996 Clare knew she wanted to work in some form of craft and design – and she was given the opportunity to do her apprenticeship at the Chippendale School of Furniture.

She added to this by attaining an SQA in Hand Crafted Furniture, Joints and Assembly Furniture between 1997 and 1998.

As a fully trained furniture restorer, Clare combines her work in the commercial workshop with her role as support teacher.  Clare is also a qualified First Aider in the workshop.

Claire finds furniture restoration work very rewarding and passes this enthusiasm on to her students.

Clare likes abseiling and hopes to undertake an Open University course.

Matt Brebner

Matt is our newest tutor – full of fun, energy and enthusiasm!  He trained with us during 2009/10 and then took ‘incubation’ space at the School, from where he set up and launched his own bespoke furniture business, Matthew Brebner Furniture.   He eventually joined together with another Chippendale alumni and moved to their current workshop at Oxenfoord in East Lothian.   Matt is delighted to be back at the Chippendale School – and continues to work on private commissions in his spare time.

Charlie Laidlaw
Marketing and Public Relations Advisor

Charlie Laidlaw’s role is to promote the Chippendale School and the work of its students, specialising in writing news and feature articles about the school, its pupils and their work.  Charlie’s articles regularly feature in newspapers and magazines as well as in the woodworking media – printed and online – both within the UK and internationally.  Charlie is available to advise students on marketing and promoting their new woodworking and furniture businesses.



Isobel Edgar
Student Welfare Officer

Isobel joined the school in 1994 and works as our student welfare officer.

She arranges accommodation for our students, self-contained or with host families in the local area.  Isobel also helps students with other matters from buying or hiring cars to making appointments with doctors and dentists.  Her motto is “If a student is happy, then I’m happy”.

Isobel enjoys cooking and is a very keen member of the Gifford and East Lothian Bowling Club.