The Artists

The two artists were Robert Baker and Edward Payne, graduates from the Royal College of Art.

Robert Baker, 1909-1992

Robert Baker painted the scene over the entrance. He also painted the wall at the back of the hall including the Morris dancing and Sunday school scenes.

After his work at Woodgreen, Robert was given another commission to paint murals at the Welsh working men’s college, Coleg Harlech. Subsequently, he was Principal of the art school in Stoke-on-Trent and then Professor of Ceramics at the Royal College of Art. He joined the Royal Worcester Porcelain Company as Chief Designer and Art Director, where he remained until the early 1980s​. Upon retirement, Robert and his wife returned to live in Woodgreen.

Edward Raymond Payne, 1906-1991

Edward Payne painted the summer scene – a portrait of the artists – on the lunette above the stage. Robert Baker is shown in the centre, looking out at the viewer, with Eve, his future wife, on the left. Edward himself is on the right side of the tree, courting a local girl. In addition to the lunette, Edward also painted the roadside wall with its flower show scene.

During the war, Edward served in the Royal Dragoon Guards and, although not an official war artist, produced many portraits and scenes now in the Imperial War Museum and regimental museum in York. He taught life drawing at the Stroud Art School and was responsible for the upkeep of the stained glass windows in Gloucester Cathedral. He lived for most of his working life in Box, Gloucestershire.

The lunette above the stage

‘The Village on the Wall’

In 1974, the BBC series ‘Yesterday’s Witness’ featured the Hall and the murals in a programme entitled: ‘The Village on the Wall’. It included interviews with the artists (now deceased) and many of the local people who were depicted on the murals, over a period of 12 months, in scenes of village life at that time.