Like all new buildings, the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford was a picture of health when it opened, smartly decorated and without a hint of dirt or dust.

But in the opinion of consultant paediatrician Dr David Baum, it was “a bit stark and forbidding”, with too many blank walls.

When he visited a children’s hospital in Sweden and saw it a riot of colour, he decided the children’s wards back home needed brightening up.

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The art department at Milham Ford Girls’ School in Marston Road was approached and it wasn’t long before the bright and cheerful mural in the picture above was delivered to one of the children’s waiting rooms at the hospital.

More than 30 girls from all age groups spent six weeks painting the 12ft by 4ft mural, under the direction of art department head Peter Barker and sixth-form girls who designed it.

The four girls in the picture went to the hospital to apply the finishing touches after it was installed in 1980.

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Dr Baum said: “I’m absolutely thrilled with it – it’s bright, colourful and exciting. It’s an important milestone.

“If everyone likes it, we hope to ask Milham Ford and other schools to do things in other areas of the children’s part of the hospital where we still have huge expanses of blank walls.”

The school was founded in East Oxford in the 1880s and closed in 2003.

The school’s origins date back to the 1890s when sisters Emma and Jane Moody started a private nursery school for boys and girls, located in their house in Iffley Road.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

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