Building Bridges in South Queensferry

10 October, 2017

Echline Primary School – Queensferry Crossing Mural

South Queensferry, a town ten miles west of Edinburgh and already world famous for its Forth Road and Forth Rail Bridges, entered a new phase in its history in 2017 when a third bridge was built on the Firth of Forth. 

Prepping the palettes for the children to start painting.
Chris sketching out the mural’s outline using reference photos and a paper design.
Chris introducing the project to a new class of children, using the design drawing as reference.

Local school Echline Primary already had an interior bridge mural which had been on site for more than twenty years. It was very well executed, much loved and had stood the test of time, but it was now a bridge short and it was deemed time for a new version. The old mural was careful taken down and hopefully it will be preserved in some form for the school’s archives.

Chris entertaining some of the school children with his witty banter.

The school wanted a crowd mural as they were really inspired by some of my past work, but with the added feature of having the kids helping to build it. 

The mural starts to take shape; laid out on the floor for a better overview.
The Burry Man, the central figure in South Queensferry’s annual Burryman’s Parade, also features in the mural.

South Queensferry has a famous annual town ‘Ferry Fair’ so I decided to base the mural on that for crowd vibrancy, and have the three bridges in the background. I produced a drawing that would steer the whole project, which was approved by the school ahead of the project launch. 

The Victorian Forth Rail Bridge looms over South Queensferry.
The kids painted themselves into the mural, creating a permanent moment in time for the school and the Queensferry Crossing event.

On the Friday before the mural started, I presented at a school assembly where I introduced myself and my work, and showed the children some of my videos. 

The foreground of the painting focuses on the annual Ferry Fair and features some famous local buildings.
The finished mural installed in the school.
A panoramic view of the finished mural.

During the week of the project I worked with all the children from primary one through primary seven. The idea was that some of the children would paint themselves into the painting while others worked on the buildings and background. The mural evolved throughout the week and I painted alongside the children to help continually steer the picture towards its vision. It was all done and dusted in a week. I heard reports from the teachers that the kids were delighted to work with “Mr Hat”. Many of them learnt top hat spinning as a byproduct of my residency. 

Coverage of the project in the Edinburgh Evening News.

The mural was also featured in an article in the Edinburgh Evening News as part of the school’s celebration of the new bridge. 

Categories: Murals

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