Born 6 December 1952 in Luton, Michael Gordon Peterson, the middle of three sons of Eira and Joe Peterson, who would later run the Conservative club in Aberystwyth. Charlie's uncle and aunt were mayor and mayoress of the town in the 1960s and 1970s. Charlie has had never officially changed his name by deed poll. He took the name 'Charles Bronson' in 1989 for his unlicensed boxing fights (on the suggestion of his boxing promoter Paul Edmunds) but it was never changed legally.
Charlie married in December 1970 to Irene. They married at Chester Register Office and had one son, Michael, born in 1971 (They later divorced, in 1975). Charlie was first imprisoned in 1974, (aged 22) sentenced to seven years for an armed robbery at a Post Office in Little Sutton, a suburb of Ellesmere Port, during which he stole a small amount. His sentence was repeatedly extended for crimes committed within prison as Charlie fought against the system. Contrary to popular belief, Charlie has never harmed anyone outside of the prison walls. He has never taken a life. He has spent a total of just four months and nine days out of custody since 1974. He was released on 30 October 1987 and spent sixty-nine days as a free man before being arrested for suspected armed robbery. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 7 years. He was released again on 9 November 1992, spending fifty-three days as a free man before being arrested for conspiracy to rob, and possession of firearm. He received 8 years.
In 1999, he took Phil Danielson, an Art Teacher hostage at Hull prison. Charlie has stated he did this as he was in fear for his own life and acting under duress. Despite escaping the more serious charges in his trial, he was sentenced to Life with a recommended three year tariff in 2000. These types of IPP ('Indeterminate for the protection of the Public') have now been ruled illegal by the European Court of Human Rights.
In 2001, while imprisoned at HMP Woodhill he married Fatema Saira Rehman, a Bangladeshi-born divorcee. For a short time, Charlie converted to Islam and wished to be known as Charles Ali Ahmed. After four years he and Rehman divorced and Charlie renounced the faith. It was later discovered that the marriage was null and void as Charlie had married using the name 'Charlie Bronson' which is not legally recognised as his name. Additionally, an Imam was not present, which is required in the Islamic faith.
In December 2010 Charlie announced that he was engaged to a young lady, although he has stated that he had no intention of marrying whilst he was still in the 'cages' of the prison system.
On 1st September 2014, Charlie changed his name officially by deed poll, to Charlie Arthur Salvador. On this historic day he was also on trial at Amersham Court for ABH against Woodhill Governor Parkin. This arose from an incident in February 2014 when Charlie had his mail withheld and his art stopped whilst at Woodhill Prison. It was subsequently revealed that Woodhill Prison had a substantial amount of post dating back to 2010, that they had withheld. Charlie was given 2 years.
His art has occupied him for the past seventeen years now. His work is quite unique and is sent to and exhibited around the world. He has published fifteen books and numerous prizes for his art and poetry, including six awards from The Koestler Trust.
Charlie's art is most famously recognised for the control bubbles, restraint and forced drug depictions. But his art goes way beyond the Prison/Asylum pieces synonymous with his name. Charlie also draws delicate animal portraits, cartonised creatures which betray his softer side. He draws inspiration on a daily basis, from moving imagery as well as printed matter. Anything around him can inspire a piece of art. Spiders are one of the subjects closely associated with Prisoner BT1314. Charlie can take the simplicity of a spider, add a line of text and make it poignant or comedy genius. Charlie also gives this comedic tone to his Flowers. A simple idea, injected with humour, which brings pleasure to so many. He does successful characterisations of celebs as well as tribute pieces for close friends and family, when they have lost a loved one.
In 2008 a film was made of his life, 'Bronson' with English actor Tom Hardy in the lead role. In November 2011, when the film was screen on TV, Charlie finally got to watch it! Watch the 'Bronson' trailer.
Charlie is passionate about many charities and donates both money and his art has raised thousands for numerous causes. Of his art he has said: "The greatest dream in my life is would be to be accepted in the art world and to live as a free man, that's my one dream left."
Charlie is still a Cat A prisoner, kept in solitary confinement conditions. he is allowed out to exercise and collect his food only.
To support Charlie's fight for freedom : thecharliebronsonappealfund.co.uk
Exhibition Information : The Death of Charles Bronson - 8th until 22nd January 2015
Note to Press : Charles Bronson has previously exhibited at Modern Panic II & IV