Crown star Victoria Hamilton unveils history mural at Highgate school

Victoria Hamilton with St Michael's pupils and staff, and mural artist Matt Dennis 

Victoria Hamilton with St Michael's pupils and staff, and mural artist Matt Dennis - Credit: Polly Hancock

A star of Netflix series The Crown unveiled an 80ft mural at a Highgate school on Friday to “bring history to life”.

Victoria Hamilton, known for her portrayal of the Queen Mother in the popular UK drama, unveiled a display of historical illustrations running along a playground wall at St Michael’s Primary School on September 24.

All pupils marked the occasion by dressing up as significant figures connected to the timeline of the mural, which charts chronological periods of British history with bright, colourful panels.  

The outdoor feature includes the Romans, Vikings, Normans, Tudors, Stuarts, the Battle of Britain and the digital era.  

Victoria, who delivered a speech in front of parents and children, said: “History was one of my favourite subjects as a child because it's about storytelling.

Year 5 pupils from St Michael's Primary School in fancy dress for their history day

Year 5 pupils from St Michael's Primary School in fancy dress for their history day - Credit: Polly Hancock


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“This amazing timeline is a beautiful, artistic resource for all the children to enjoy and use in their history lessons.” 

Geraldine Gallagher, the executive headteacher of St Michael’s, said: “This project has been many years in the making and we're so pleased to have Victoria with us to unveil and celebrate our timeline.”

Actor Victoria Hamilton speaks at the mural unveiling for St Michael's Primary School

Actor Victoria Hamilton speaks at the mural unveiling for St Michael's Primary School - Credit: Polly Hancock

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Fran Sorapure, the head of school who coordinated the project, said the bolting of the mural to the wall, in the pouring rain, was a “day to remember”.  

“The designing, painting and building of the timeline has really been a team effort, a little daunting at times, but I am so proud of it,” Fran said.  

“It is one thing to draw it on paper, but to get it onto 10 panels which are 8ft x 4ft each was another.”

St Michaels Primary School history day in Highgate

From left: executive headteacher Geraldine Gallagher; head of school Fran Sorapure, artist Matt Dennis; actor Victoria Hamilton - Credit: Polly Hancock

Matt Dennis, the artist behind the mural, described how he came up with the idea.

The parent of two former St Michael’s pupils said: “When I was eight years old, I loved Ladybird books, the beautiful painted illustrations in my copy of The Kings and Queens of England brought history vividly to life. 

“I've tried to make the 10 scenes of the mural every bit as colourful and full of realistic detail.  

“The captions at the bottom of each panel of the mural are designed to look like the breaking news that runs along the bottom of the TV screen on 24 hours news channels, so hopefully anyone reading them will feel as if all of British history is happening right now, in the present.”

Timeline artist Matt Dennis

Timeline artist Matt Dennis - Credit: Polly Hancock

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