In the nearby village of Woodgreen (south of Salisbury), there exists a unique piece of artwork that shows the General Infirmary at Christmas in the 1930s. The village hall boasts a series of outstanding murals that follow the seasons from spring to winter. In the final scene Father Christmas is shown visiting the patients of the children’s ward in the Infirmary.
A village witness has named the ward as Chafyn Grove and Father Christmas as Stephen Marlow; next to him on the left is Sister Edwards and Nurse Blake in front of the Christmas tree. We have several photographs in the collection of the ward in the 1930s at Christmas and can see similarities (above). The hospital archive also holds a photograph that has identified Sister Edwards (pictured front right).
The Woodgreen murals were painted by Robert Baker and Edward Payne, who went on to design glass for Wells Cathedral. They were both students at The Royal College of Art and during 1932-1933 were commissioned with a grant from the Carnegie Trust. The two artists lived in the village whilst they were painting the murals which depict village life at that time and incorporate the four seasons as their subject.
ArtCare thanks Woodgreen Village Hall for sharing their story and artwork with us and more details about the murals can be found at: http://www.woodgreenvillagehall.org.uk/home/murals