The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

City of London Academy Mural, Photo © C20 Society

40 Buildings Saved

26. City of London Academy Mural, London

Status: Listed Grade II
Architect: William Mitchell
Location: Packington Street, Islington, London


Two semi-abstract mosaic murals at City of London Academy were made in 1963-4 by William Mitchell specifically for the building, which was then Tudor School (later Islington Green Mixed Comprehensive) from pieces of glass, china, tiles, gold smalti and tesserae. Mitchell is now renowned for his murals and concrete relief sculptures at Harlow Civic Centre Water Gardens, Liverpool Cathedral of Christ the King and the Hockley Circus Roundabout in Birmingham, and a free-standing Grade II listed sculpture ‘Corn King and Spring Queen’ (1964) at Wexham, South Bucks, for the British Cement Association.


In 2007 there was a significant threat to the mural, as part of an application to demolish the school itself. Even prior to this, the murals had been disliked by a deputy headmaster and following the school’s involvement in Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’, a graffiti wall related to that film had been painted over. Although in a conservation area, the murals were planned to be demolished along with the school and one, on Packington Street, was demolished.


Given the terminal threat, the C20 Society put forward the 34ft mural for spot-listing at Grade II. It argued that the murals ranked among Mitchell’s best work with imaginative imagery of learning and river flows, relevant to the area’s past.


The remaining mural was listed Grade II in 2008 for its “high artistic quality.”

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