Woodgreen Village Hall’s Murals

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A Little History

Woodgreen Village Hall was built in 1931. A local resident, Vaughan Nash, who was once private secretary to Lord Asquith, came up with the idea for the murals. His friend, Sir William Rothenstein, the former principal of the Royal College of Art, secured a grant from the Carnegie Trust of £100 for two graduates from the College, Edward Payne and Robert Baker, to prepare sketches and do the actual painting.

Life in Woodgreen was selected as the topic and the inhabitants provided the subject matter. About 50 of the locals are depicted and only one is shown twice. Their names are recorded on plaques beneath each mural. Only the two nurses depicted in the Salisbury Infirmary scene are not local.

The artists used two methods, firstly painting onto stretched canvas, and secondly painting directly onto the walls. They used oil paints diluted with a mixture of paraffin wax and turpentine so the paint behaved more like a water colour for application and gave a beautiful pastel appearance.

The main mural above the entrance shows the harvesting of apples and soft fruit – Woodgreen was renowned for its soft fruit growing at the time – with the village pub and other agricultural scenes.