Curwen Primary School, Newham, London E13
"We are delighted with the outcome of the mosaic. It has given the school a lasting legacy, which can be used by the pupils for years to come. It has been an excellent experience for all involved, deepening our understanding of the history of the river Thames and developing our sense of identity within our community."
Paul Harris
This was a whole school project with 700 pupils and 70 members of staff taking part. The theme for the mural was 'Our London' and all pupils took a trip on the River Thames at the beginning of term in January to gather ideas, take photographs and draw.
To fit in with their term's project, Years 2 upwards drew with Artyface artists spanning 5 overarching themes:

  • The Romans
  • The Docks
  • Plaistow then and now through the local architecture: The Olympic buildings; Upton Park (the West Ham Football Stadium known as the Hammers because it was originally the Thames Iron Works football team); Plaistow Underground; the aerial bombing of the Second World War depicted through the planes, etc
  • London Landmarks: Wheel, Millennium Dome, Gherkin, Thames Barrier, Big Ben
  • Local famous people and activities: John Curwen and his innovation of hand signs for 'do re mi' music teaching system and his local music printing press; Joseph Lister who discovered penicillin; a boxing glove representing the local/East End tradition/sport; Bobby Moore who played for WHU and captained the 1966 World Cup team to victory.

  • These clay panels would be like portholes, linked with colourful mosaics depicting the River Thames.
    Pupils in Nursery, Reception, Years 1 and 2 made clay fish, boats and square tiles, pressing scrap objects into the wet clay to make patterns and textures which were glazed in different colours.
    5 'wet' clay circular panels, all a metre in diameter, were then slabbed out and worked on in the school over a few weeks with Year 3 upwards pressing objects in to transfer their drawings into the clay. The slabs were cut up and numbered, dried and painted with oxides, then fired to 1280 degrees.
    The mosaic workshops began with an INSET day for the teachers. Pupils from Year 3 - Year 6 came in small groups over the week to learn about mosaics and lay the handmade clay fish and boats.
    "It is great to think we have made something that will still be there after we have left and gone to secondary school - it's like our legacy and in many years, it will still be there. As a class we really enjoyed learning about the different bits of London's history. I helped draw the Olympic flame and added the tiles onto the Thames section."
    Lucy Hulme
    Year 6
    The mosaic was erected during the half-term and the opening ceremony was in July 2013.
    "The mosaic looks fantastic - it really brightens up the playground. There is so much detail on there, every time we look at it, we see something different. Well done!"
    Kate Miles