18 November 2009

As you can see from the photo we had a great day out at the BBH Awards. The King’s Mill Hospital heritage committee, with the former and current trust Chairmen all attended. You need to visit King’s Mill Hospital to view the sheer scale of the project; the murals, banners, interactive touchscreens, window and floor graphics complement and add to the impressive architecture. Perhaps most importantly, the project actively involves and engages staff, users and the wider community. The work is readily accessible to all sections of the community – of all age groups and all demographics.

For those of you who want to find out more, there is an excellent 254 page study by Durham University titled ‘Designing for health: architecture, art and design at the James Cook University Hospital’. It is described as a ‘Pioneering study into how art, architecture and environment impact on the health of patients in the new PFI hospital.’ You can view the report by following this link to their website. The report features the use of various forms of excellent art in the hospital. Of relevance to this blog, pages 178-9 talk about which artwork is the most looked at in the hospital and page 186 shows a graph of the results. A fact we are very proud of is that the clear leader is the historical murals created by us. The 2 heritage displays we created also cost a tiny fraction of the overall budget. Here is just one of the quotes: ‘The manager in charge of public relations commented that it was the heritage murals rather than the Cook related artworks that were drawing in visitors to the hospital. The murals were the work most frequently mentioned, reflecting the local interest in the hospital’s previous history, and perhaps, the fact that these displays were more immediately accessible than the artworks themselves.’

(Also have a look at ‘Healing Art’ in this blog.)


17 November 2009

It’s definitely true that things run in families. A love of anything to do with art and being able to draw practically from birth is something that has been passed down from generation to generation.

In his sixth form year, eldest son, Tom was awarded the Weidmann Whiteley Prize for Design & Technology. He is now studying for a degree in Interior Architecture at Edinburgh’s Napier University.

Youngest son, Harry at age sixteen was awarded the Governors’ Prize for Art. He is at this moment looking at various universities to study for a degree in Fine Art, with The Chelsea School of Art & Design in London at the top of his list.


17 November 2009

Thursday 5th November 2009 – Pictured here with Josie Aston, the installation team were fast and efficient so that the displays were fixed in place within a couple of hours. The mural and contributors panel are sited just beyond the main entrance of Orpington Hospital in Greater London.

Friday 6th November 2009 – Canadian television crew from CBC News arrive at 2pm. They spend the next 2 hours interviewing veterans, staff, researchers and Tony, about the design concepts and themes running through the displays. They also filmed the war graves in the churchyard’s ‘Canadian Corner’ before returning to film the official unveiling ceremony.

Josie Aston, who lead the project, fundraised and also wrote the final text, opened the proceedings, giving background information about how the project started and thanking all those involved.

Lieutenant-Colonel Denis Janelle, Army Adviser to the Canadian High Commission, assisted by a Canadian boy scout, tore off the brown wrapping paper to unveil the mural. Members of the British Legion, who actively supported the project were in attendance amongst the large audience.

The CBC News crew carried on their interviews following the official opening.
Their report was shown that evening on the main evening news in Canada.


9 November 2009

Took a trip over to Huddersfield the other day to give the mural and donor board a final check. The atmosphere at Leach Colour is wonderful; the noise of enormous printing machines at work and potent smells of printing inks. We were led through all this environment to where our mural was going through its final stage – the framing. It totally filled the room – very impressive. It’s wonderful to see it full size and the colours are just as vibrant as on our computers.

The mural was then transported to Kent by Leach Colour who installed it at the Orpington Hospital ready for the grand unveiling.


5 November 2009

Before any mural goes to print everyone has a chance for that final once-over. We met up with Josie Aston (arts coordinator) on a beautiful autumn day in October at Bromley Musuem in Kent. While we were setting up the computer to display large images on a viewing screen a large amount of tea was set to brew. We’d printed out scale versions of the mural and the donor board. We always want to make sure that everyone is happy – it’s their history after all. Everyone sat down with their cups of tea to view the slideshow and hear our talk about why the mural was first commissioned, the ideas behind the design and all information that is included. The captive audience were given the chance to air their views and also make any final amendments. Everything went very well – we took note of the few slight amendments to complete when back at work.

After the meeting we headed across to the Orpington Hospital to take another look at where the mural is to be situated, check the wall has been repainted the correct colour and double check measurements – we never take anything for granted. We have since been in constant contact with the printers, Leach Colour of Huddersfield to make sure they keep up to their usual high standards. We are all such perfectionists – Leach Colour searched out the correct varnish to make the frame just the right colour!

The Canadian Hospital Mural is due to be unveiled at a grand get together at Orpington Hospital in time for Poppy Day. We’ll let you know how it all goes.


5 November 2009

King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, was originally the first United States Army Hospital established in England during WWII.

We have designed 6 murals and 10 giant banners, to hang above the murals, to be displayed along the entire length of the new King’s Treatment Centre. We based the design for each of the 10 wall hanging banners on a movie poster from the corresponding period. The King’s Treatment Centre street, with its 9m high walls and huge opaque domed roof structure, will link the whole of the new hospital.

The official opening day with a special 1940s themed dedication ceremony was held at King’s Mill Hospital, on Friday 4 July 2008, the American Day of Independence. This coincided with celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the National Health Service in Britain.

A former US soldier and a Mansfield GI bride were invited from America to be guests of honour at the launch. The local BBC featured the hospital and its American guests every evening in the week leading up to and including the event. There was extensive coverage in the local press and also in local newspapers in America. Ex-servicemen were also interviewed at the BBC in Washington.


5 November 2009

The ceremony at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough coincided with the 150th anniversary of the opening of the country’s first cottage hospital on March 7, 1859. A special service was held in the hospital chapel to mark the occasion, and the Archdeacon of Cleveland dedicated the mural. It was all quite a grand affair made even more special by the lunch afterwards, where everyone helped themselves to large portions of scones with clotted cream and jam. Yum Yum!


5 November 2009

The official opening of the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, was attended by the Countess of Wessex on a beautiful sunny day in May, 2006. She came to meet all who were involved in the mural including Margaret Baily the arts and environment manager who commissioned us, and Eva Shuttleworth, president of the Friarage Hospital Nurses’ League.


5 November 2009

Whatever reason we are in London for we always visit one of the many museums or art galleries. This time we decided to check out the V & A. If you have only ever been to the British Museum you must check out the V & A for its amazing variety!

We were spellbound by the ‘Telling Tales’ exhibition, that ‘… focused on work by designers who explore the narrative potential potential of objects, connecting the past with the present…’

After designing the touchscreen audio-video or ‘Virtual Museum’ for King’s Mill Hospital, we decided to research how similar things have been completed for the V & A. We often find that when visiting museums not only are we very interested in what is on display, but also how it is put together; gaining inspiration for our next project. We are therefore often found by bemused museum officials on our knees having a good look underneath and behind displays; everything that can be touched we touch simply to find out what it’s made of.

It’s so important to see what is out there, we are constantly researching; anything that could take the next mural we design a stage further, or down a different route.


5 November 2009

While visiting a family member undergoing surgery to mend a broken toe, I decided to have a look around the many corridors at the LGI. I’d noticed one of the murals we’d designed for the LGI had been moved, just from one wall to the opposite, and thought ‘I wonder if all the others are still in their original locations.’

Our very first ever heritage mural, completed in 1993 was still in the Gilbert Scott Building. It gave me some pride to think that our artwork is situated in such a distinguished location. The exterior of the architecture is similar in style to that of the newly renovated St Pancras Station in London – that is because it is by the very same famous architect, Sir Gilbert Scott!

I also noticed that the Catering Mural that we had designed not as an historical mural but to convey the excellent catering standards within the hospital, had been moved. This was first located in the basement, near to the catering facilities, but has since been moved into a much more prominent position. Nice to see!

The Killingbeck Hospital murals, all 7 of them, were in their same location. Someone was reading one of the panels, deep in concentration.

And finally I took another look at the mural celebrating the history of A&E at the LGI. This was the mural that had started my whole treasure hunt off, after noticing that it had been moved to the opposite wall of the corridor, just off the main entrance to the Jubilee Building. It had obviously had to be moved as a new entrance door now stood in the way of its original location!