Pupils help to brighten up hilltop museum fort with massive murals

ARTY From left, Frankie Lacey, Ellie Bezani-Cox, Mollie Dack and Ramon Poate with two of the murals.   Picture: Malcolm Wells (110543-1752)
ARTY From left, Frankie Lacey, Ellie Bezani-Cox, Mollie Dack and Ramon Poate with two of the murals. Picture: Malcolm Wells (110543-1752)

Ofsted labels Southsea school ‘outstanding’ in new report

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THERE’S something new on the horizon – after four massive pieces of artwork appeared outside a museum on Portsdown Hill.

The murals have been designed and painted by pupils at nearby Northern Junior School in Portchester to hide construction work at the Royal Armouries Fort Nelson museum.

The museum is undergoing a £3.5m revamp that will give it a new glass-sided exhibition hall, as well as a new visitor centre and a state-of-the-art classroom.

Teacher Lyn Keemer, who has helped co-ordinate the project at the school, said: ‘They actually approached us with the idea and, as the school’s art manager, I’ve been helping to run it.

‘We’ve never done anything on this scale before and when I first saw the size of the boards it was a bit daunting.

‘We ran a competition for each year group and then all the other children helped with the actual painting so everyone in the school was involved,’ she added.

‘The children got really into it and we’re delighted with the end product – they look fantastic.’

Mollie Dack, 10, was the year six winner.

She said: ‘I drew Fort Nelson with lots of multi-coloured bushes. It was quite easy to come up with.

‘I feel amazed to see it finished. I’m going to bring my mum and dad to see it soon.’

Fellow winning designer Ellie Bezani-Cox, from year four, added: ‘It felt a bit weird to have everyone working on my picture, but I am proud of it and I am happy that a lot of people will see it.’

The other winners were Frankie Lacey in year three and Ramon Poate in year five.

Construction company Mansell provided all the materials and have varnished the finished murals to help preserve them against the wintry weather.

They are expected to stay in place until the revamp is finished.

The museum is open throughout the works and the scheme is due to be completed this summer.

Entry to the museum is free.