Building Better Healthcare feature Yarm Heritage Display

2 May 2012

The following link takes you through to the feature.


24 February 2012

Received a load of photos yesterday from Praxis, the printers who are producing the Yarm mural as a banner for the new Medical Centre.

Thanks for the photos, it looks fantastic! Can’t wait to see it installed.


15 February 2012

Here I am (Karen) photographed while contemplating an image just scanned in from the archives in Yarm Town Hall.

We both spent an enjoyable day in Yarm; it’s lovely to get out and about. On our research days, Tony and myself work together to achieve the best results in the shortest possible timescale. Tony photographs 3D objects like shields, trophies, medals, etc., and also helps to take apart framed images so that I can scan them at a high resolution. All images are replaced carefully back into their frames, we take along plenty of tape, a small hammer and a tin of tacks specially for the job!


7 February 2012

I’m just about to start on the final artwork for a large portrait mural that will adorn the entrance of a new Medical Centre being constructed at this very moment in the small town of Yarm in Cleveland.

Dr Neil Reynolds of Yarm Medical Centre expressed his delight in the beauty of his home-town, wishing to display the history of the town as an artwork in the new medical centre. Tony set off for his first meeting armed with notepad and camera and returned later armed with plenty of photos and an initial brief. Unfortunately a photograph would not be able to do justice to the town’s beauty due to all the additions of any modern street scene: bus shelters, parked vehicles, gaudy shop posters. With utter joy I realised I could put my illustrative skills to perfect use! Our concept was to create a modern version of the old 1930s travel posters, using bright colours and dramatic shadows, as shown in detail below.

I had already illustrated half the townscape when Tony returned to Yarm a few weeks later, with me in tow. I needed a few more photos of the town to check what one or two of the buildings really looked like behind that parked van. With Dr Reynolds guidance of what he wished to include, we spent the rest of the day inside Yarm Town Hall researching and scanning historic information, ready to put together a brief history of the town that would accompany the illustration.


28 March 2011

We ere contacted via email the other day by Andrew Birkitt, Exhibitions Officer and a Founder Member of the Gainsborough and District Heritage Association.

“I understand that your team were responsible for the mural in the John Coupland Hospital in Gainsborough that we were involved in the research of, and I was wondering if you had any interesting photos of the mural that we could use on our fanpage. In the meantime I would like to add my own congratulations on the finished result, it is something I have admired on several occasions.”

The following link takes you through to the feature.


28 March 2011

We worked alongside The League of Friends of the Stead Hospital throughout this project and their response has been enthusiastic at all times. When we are given a free reign (as we are very lucky to be able to do on most projects), we are able to really push the boundaries to complete a project that is immensely satisfying to ourselves and to all those involved.  We are extremely pleased with the finished mural with its laser cut stainless steel frame, and to receive the following letter just adds to our sense of pride that we have achieved the best job possible.

“Dear Karen and Tony

Peter and I called in Redcar Hospital today to view the completed artwork. We were very impressed; we think you’ve done a fantastic job. I’m sure all our members will be happy with it. It’s been lovely meeting you both and thanks for the wonderful mural; you are very talented. Look forward to seeing you at the unveiling.”

Joan Elders, Chairman of The League of Friends of the Stead Hospital, Redcar


2 June 2010

In June 2009 we were contacted by Matron Jill Anderson at the John Coupland Hospital in Gainsborough requesting details on the heritage displays we create specifically for hospitals.

Having provided Jill with case studies and planning guidelines we heard nothing more till January this year. In the meantime Jill had set up a history group made up of past and present staff and other interested parties. They researched the history and with the help of the Gainsborough District and Heritage Association and the local library and newspapers, obtained news cuttings and photos covering the opening and development of the hospital.

We were then invited to review the information, and following this put a detailed proposal together. It was decided to create two distinctly different heritage displays. The first, which will be officially opened on the 10th July this year, will portray the history from the planning and official opening of the hospital in the early 1900’s to the birth of the NHS in 1948. The second display will follow when the hospital’s new wing opens, and will bring the story right up to date.

The first heritage mural will be a little over 20ft wide and almost 6ft high at its apex. The mural will feature a solid oak frame to replicate the beautiful aged oak panelling of the original hospital. The impressive Georgian exterior will feature at the centre of the display on a separate section that will appear to float in front of the sections to left and right. This effect will be emphasised by using contrasting reflective and non-reflective finishes. Selected images, within the non-reflective left and right sections, will also be over-mounted with a reflective finish to stand proud, adding to the three dimensional effect.

The mural’s overall design has been approved and we are now in the process of writing the final text and preparing high resolution artwork.

It looks great and we are all really excited!


23 April 2010

Our first contact with ’the NOC’, or Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, was via a direct contact email from our hospitalartstudio website on 17 July 2007. It stated: ‘I am the arts co-ordinator for the hospital and I am looking into putting together a mural about the history of the hospital’.

The arts coordinator, Tom Cox, was already working on securing a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and our first involvement was a site visit to talk about design options and view potential locations for the project. Tom then set about securing funding and started the process of researching the history of the NOC. This included the involvement of local schools and the hospitals’ arts group.

Historical photo of the Nuffield Orthopaedic CentreIn June 2009 Tom Cox visited us to review the archive and after collating this we created a draft design highlighting the hospitals’ main achievements. Using this as a starting point we were then able to steer the way forward, highlighting gaps requiring more information. Over the last few months we have updated the draft designs to reflect the approved themes, whilst staff, chosen for their specific knowledge and expertise, were tasked with checking the content and filling any gaps where they felt more information was required.

Glass fronted atrium at the NOCPROJECT SCOPE
As visitors enter the NOC from the car park they are faced with the dramatic scale of the glass fronted atrium that comprises the main reception area. This imposing glass frontage will depict abstract images of the stem cell research carried out at the NOC in a design we are creating that will be bright, dramatic and colourful. The semi-transparent images will be applied using high quality window film that can be viewed from inside and out.

Location for the NOC Heritage MuralAt the centre of the atrium, the reception desk and security office are housed in a large circular column reaching up high into the roof structure. The main heritage display will be wrapped around this circular column. Six feature panels will each focus on different subject categories and will be separated by brushed stainless steel semi-circular columns. The columns will include captioned anatomical and skeletal images, focussing on specific orthopaedic treatments carried out at the NOC. They will also include audio pods, adding an extra dimension to the visual displays. Captioned buttons will allow users to select audio recordings featuring personal reminiscences of former staff and patients.

Completion and installation is planned for this Summer, 2010.


13 January 2010

So many things happening during December and now into January, that I’ve only just noticed a note on the pinboard to remind me to update our Blog – on an ongoing basis!

We were sent (courtesy of CBC News, Canada), a CD containing the report that went out on their main evening news depicting the unveiling of The Canadian Hospital mural. This has now been posted onto our Vimeo site.

Click here or on the image below to watch the video

You can also view other videos on this site including the King’s Mill Hospital project. This video portrays some of the coverage in local press and American newspapers, and also includes a BBC report. The local BBC featured the hospital and its American guests every evening in the week leading up to and including the event.


Videos of the installation and unveiling of murals at other hospitals can also be viewed on Though this site is at present about to be updated after listening to client comments. It seems that a lot of you don’t realise the relevance of the ‘video’ page, and therefore missing out on so much. Our videos are short compilations showing installation, general in-situ footage, public reaction and television news reports. They clearly show scale and location of our murals. We are consequently redesigning our web site to include a ‘watch the video’ tab on relevant pages in the ‘gallery’.

It also seems that if you knew one of our murals was in a hospital nearby that you would visit, just to see the ‘real thing’. We are therefore adding a ‘Locations’ page. Other than that, we need to make just slight tweaks to our website, as we’ve received so much positive feedback over the years – so why change a good thing!


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.)