The Madras College Archive

     

School Foundations 1968 - 1989  

Kilrymont Road Assembly Hall Decorative Panels

 

When Kilrymont Road was under construction, the architect decided that an extra feature was required to relieve the somewhat stark appearance of the Assembly Hall. This resulted in the six decorative panels (three at either side of the stage), which we see today. 

He invited the staff of the Art Department at the Burgh School to design this feature. Quite apart from its decorative aspect, it was also seen as a way of giving visible expression to the link between the old school and the new. The artists were given complete freedom to design whatever they wished and the sum of 400 was made available to them. 

The staff involved were: -  Mr Angus Scott, Mr Donald Chisholm, Mr Arthur Edward and Mrs Eleanor Edward. At that time, the Daily Express was running a series of supplements on the imagery used by various, different cultures across the world. This sparked off the idea for the design, which was to make use of the imagery from different civilisations in different continents. Mr Scott, who had spent time in Africa, worked on that part, Mr Chisholm worked on the Norse imagery and Mr and Mrs Edward concerned themselves with South America and Asia. The staff were involved in quite a lot of travelling between the Burgh School and Kilrymont. The completed sections were laid out on the Assembly Hall floor in the correct order and subsequently erected. 

However, there is a slight problem in identifying all the images. There are six panels, but only four continents seem to be represented. It would be interesting to have a complete identification of all the elements which make up the panels. It should also be noted that for quite a number of years only one panel was visible at each side, because of the way the curtains were draped. 

The panels were mentioned, and perhaps even illustrated, in a commemorative brochure which was produced for the official opening of Kilrymont in January 1968, although staff and pupils had moved into the building some months earlier. Fortunately it has been possible to track down a copy of this document together with a contemporary press report.

 Instead of the usual collection of Dux Boards, which grace most school Assembly Halls, the panels are a unique and eye-catching feature. It is a tribute to the lasting quality of the work of the artists involved that, some forty years on, the impact of the panels is undiminished. It is to be hoped that a place might be found for them in any new Madras College,  which may be built at some future date.

The help provided by Mrs Scott, Mrs Edward, Mr Chisholm and Mr Hodge in putting this information together is gratefully acknowledged.
DDG
03/12/09              

 

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Panels to left of stage   Panels to right of stage

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