The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Enter the Magic Garden: Historic school mural restored

Completed in 1961, artist Francis Carr’s Magic Garden mural was a great initial success.   Children at the Holman Hunt Infant School (now the New Kings Road Primary School) in Fulham, west London, loved the vibrant mix of colours and imagery and the range of surface textures, and it was featured in the national press and on television.    It was made not just of tile and mosaic, but marble, granite, crushed glass, printed matter bedded in polyester resin, mirrors, brass fittings, plaster casts, and natural materials including sea shells, pebbles, tree bark and cork were used too.

Sadly it fell from favour (although it was specifically designed to be touched there were health and safety concerns about children injuring themselves on sharp corners) and was boarded up.  After many years out of sight and unloved, its creator, now in his late eighties, sought the support of the Twentieth Century Society and with their help and a grant from The Heritage of London Trust, (HOLT) it has been revealed once more.   Restored by Francis himself, it will delight and inspire a new generation.


Notes to Editors

  1. Francis Carr (1919- ) Artist moved to London from Hungary in 1938 and studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, 1938-41.   Post war he taught at the London College of Printing, Croydon College of Art and the Open University.  From 1965-8 he was design consultant to The Greater London Council Housing Division.  His work has been extensively exhibited.
  2. The Heritage of London Trust is a London-wide Building Preservation Trust.  It gives grants to historic buildings in community use. Contact: The Director, Mrs Diana Beattie 020 7730 9472,
  3. New King’s Primary is a smaller than average state primary school. Although located within a prosperous part of London, the home circumstances of the pupils are less advantaged and almost all are from local authority housing. Twenty different languages are represented in the school. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities is above average and almost a third of the pupils are in the early stages of learning to communicate in English. The Magic Garden measures 13ft by 8ft and is located in the Dining Hall.  Contact: The Headteacher, Mr Miles Chester 020 77362318


As well as photographs of the restored mural, 1960s images of the artist at work and children examining it are available.  There are also lots of appreciative letters sent to the artist by children in the school in 1961.

Please contact  Jon Wright, Caseworker, C20 Society, 70 Cowcross St, London, EC1M 6EJ,, 0207 2503857, 07855 406718 for more information or photographs