The Artwork


Home Coming artwork by Ian Etheridge, design inspired by Year 6 pupils, 2018

The Home Coming artwork by sculptor Ian Etheridge was unveiled at a special ceremony on the centenary of the end of the first world war, Sunday 11 November 2018.

This sculptural relief is made from tulipwood (white poplar). It depicts the research and stories of the Home Coming project and what it was like for staff and former pupils from North Primary School to return to civilian life at the end of The Great War.

Ian worked with the Year 6 pupils who developed the designs for the artwork. Ian wrote: The day produced many excellent results and I was overwhelmed by the positive attitude and effort the pupils put in to their work. It was obvious that the children had a pride in their school’s history and their local heritage. They showed great respect for the issues involved in Home Coming and many were able to convey genuine feeling through their drawing. It dawned on me that I now had a big responsibility to create an artwork that did the project justice!

The Home Coming artwork is on permanent display in the school hall, hanging opposite the roll of honour. The two works are a beautiful legacy of these projects and demonstrate the pride the headteacher, staff and pupils have in the heritage of North Primary School. 

Whilst the roll of honour commemorates the 76 former pupils who served and died in WWI, the Home Coming artwork looks to the social changes at the end of the war. The stunning art deco style rays of sunlight shining on the school signify the hope for future generations.

The medals which border the left and righthand side of the artwork depict Pip, Squeak and Wilfred: the 1914 Star or 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal respectively. Also included is the Silver War Badge which was awarded to an injured soldier such as George Sargent.

People and stories featured in the artwork are:


Alice Twyman worked as a Red Cross Nurse at St Martin’s House










John Harper, the first Headmaster of North Street Board School.










Captain Twyman, the second Headmaster, standing in front of the school welcoming a former pupil home from the war.










Charles Humphreys standing the doorway of his greengrocers shop. The football he rests one foot on alludes to his brothers Bert and Lawson who were in Colchester Football Club.











The townscape:

St Martin’s House (left), became a Red Cross Hospital throughout the First World War.











Albert Street, located near North Primary School, where many former pupils lived. This Victorian terraced street depicts ‘welcome home’ banners and soldiers returning home from war. Family members peep through the windows eagerly awaiting the return of loved ones.










The Victorian building of North Primary School takes pride of place at the heart of the artwork. In the carving you can see the ‘girls’ entrance and the bell tower.










Jumbo Water Tower and Colchester Town Hall are to the right of the townscape. Both are key architectural features which soldiers would have seen when returning home by train.