Maxwell Craven MBE, FSA, AMA was educated in the West Country and took a degree in History and education at the University of Nottingham followed by further qualifications in Roman history and museum studies at Leicester, embarking on a 25 year career at Derby Museum, for eighteen of them as Keeper of Antiquities. During that time he wrote an important monograph on the clockmaker, scientist and Lunar Society co-founder, John Whitehurst FRS, (Mayfield 1996) and (with the late Roy Hughes) The Clockmakers and Watchmakers of Derbyshire (Mayfield 1998).
With Michael Stanley FGS he wrote The Derbyshire Country House (3rd edn. 2003) and has also written extensively on architecture and antiques for the Georgian Group Journal, Country Life, The Derbyshire Magazine and Derbyshire Life. He is also the author of A Derbyshire Armory (Chesterfield 1991), Richard Keene, Pioneer Victorian Photographer (Derby 1993) and Derby, an Illustrated History (2nd edn., 2007).
He is a former chairman of Derby Conservation Area Advistory Comittee, a member of Derby Cathedral Fabric Advistory Committee, the Council of the Derbyshire Historic Building Trust and is a Trustee of the Derby Bridge Chapel. He writes historic building assessments for listed building applications and family and company histories, as well as at Bamfords. He is currently writing a history of Smith's Clocks as well as The Complete Imperial Families of Ancient Rome for Amberley Publishing. He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Derby in 1996, later being made MBE and elected FSA.