Two murals which were removed during refurbishment work in 2003 have been finally reinstalled in the entrance lobby of St Mary’s Medical School Building. They were unveiled by Dermot Kelleher, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, at a ceremony at St Mary’s on June 11th, 2013.
One, by Faye Carey who was the creator of several art works in London hospitals, celebrates the work of four distinguished scientists who had worked at St Mary’s : Augustus Waller, Almroth Wright, Alexander Fleming and Rodney Porter. This mural was originally unveiled on 12th October, 1992 by Sir Roger de Grey, then the president of the Royal College of Arts.
The other, by the distinguished artist, Jacqueline Rizvi, shows the sporting and cultural activities of the St Mary’s student body. This was originally unveiled on the 27th April, 1993 by the Right Honourable Christopher Chataway M.P. who had been a world record breaking athlete and a pacemaker during Sir Roger Bannister’s first sub four minute mile in 1954. Sir Roger, then a consultant neurologist at St Mary’s was also present at that original ceremony.
Also present on June 11th was Emeritus Professor Leslie Brent. As chairman of the St Mary’s Art Committee in 1990 Professor Brent had raised £45,000 to pay for the murals from several sponsors : the Royal Academy of Arts, the Foundation for Sport and the Arts and the Edward Austen Abbey Memorial Trust Fund for Mural Painting in Great Britain.
During the ten years since the murals’ removal to storage Professor Brent has worked tirelessly to have them restored, with unfailing support from Anne Barrett, Imperial College Archivist and Corporate Records Manager, and from Tim Orson, specialist art restorer.
Dermot Kelleher described the genesis and history of the murals and paid tribute to those who had worked so hard to restore them to their rightful place. He believed the depicted achievements which had inspired the artists would continue to be an inspiration to today’s and future medical students. Tim Orson then described the technicalities of the restoration and said it had been a privilege to work with such rare and beautiful materials.
Librarian, St Mary’s, 1972-2002