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Cloister Paintings Restoration Fund

Launch of Stage 2 Fundraising

Sacred Heart High School is committed to the restoration and protection of its precious cloister wall paintings, which extend across 130m, depicting the life of Christ.   The restoration plan has six separate stages.   Stage 1 was completed in 2023 and included a full condition survey and restoration of the 'Nativity Panel'.  We are now launching our fundraising campaign for Stage 2 which is described below. You can review all the additional panels to be included in later stages of this project by clicking the 'Later Restoration Stages' tab.

The school is keen to provide opportunities for the public to see beyond the historic high wall on Hammersmith Road, which once acted as a vital protection for the clandestine convent and school which operated here from at least the mid 17th Century, when it was illegal to be Catholic.   Two later buildings of architectural significance and memorial stones for the nuns who lived here in secret, remain hidden from view, and we are exploring the possibility of opening up these areas for London architectural open days and other viewing opportunities referred to below.

Brief History

The Sacred Heart site in Hammersmith has been used consistently for Catholic education since at least 1669. Our Barat Building, constructed in 1869 as a seminary, was designed by John Francis Bentley who later designed Westminster Cathedral. It is built of red brick with Oulton stone-dressings and tiled roofs in the Free Tudor style, with three storeys incorporating three sides of a cloistered courtyard.

The chapel to the South East (also designed by J.F. Bentley) was built in 1883.

The Society of the Sacred Heart moved into the site in 1893 and established a school. They installed our magnificent stained-glass window and were responsible for the wall paintings which extend across the full extent of the cloisters (shown red above) together with two double-height paintings in the same style, in the northwestern corner. 

Painted between 1902 and 1907, the artwork is attributed to Mother Mary Maycock, a sister of the Society.  Mary came from an artistic family. She was the daughter of George Bernard Maycock, a successful stained-glass window artist who designed the windows for St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne. Her grandfather, Joseph Hansom, was one of the leading Catholic architects of the 19th Century and designer of the Hansom Cab.

Mary travelled to Rome to study wall paintings and scenes painted throughout our cloisters are figurative, from the Life of Jesus - some of which were copied from well-known 15th century paintings by Fra Angelico that she had seen in Rome.  The scenes are set within painted frames and architectural detailing. The top and bottom of the wall, and between scenes, is fictive marble decoration. 

The paintings are significant in their scale and apposite subject matter.

Stage 1 - Completed July 2023

We take very seriously our role as custodians of our Grade II* listed Bentley buildings. We had been concerned for some time regarding varying levels of deterioration across the cloister paintings, and we commissioned a Condition Survey Report which was completed in February 2023.  You can read the full report using the link.

There are localised areas where the paint is flaking and blistering.  Craquelure is common across the paintings and almost all of the panels display a degree of spotting, some much more pronounced than others.  The paintings have been varnished at least twice.  These are now yellowed and darkened, significantly affecting the appearance of the paintings.  See above, where the robes appear green but in a small area where the yellowed varnish has chipped off, you can see that they are fact blue!   The report recommends, amongst other things, remedial treatment and measures to prevent further deterioration.

The overall cost for restoration of the full 130m is approximately £100,000, but this work is planned to take place in stages, linked to our fundraising campaign.   As a means of demonstrating our commitment to the full restoration project,  the school commissioned and paid for the restoration of the Nativity Panel, which was completed in July 2023.

Nativity panel before restoration

During the cleaning process

The restored panel

Fundraising now for Stage 2 - Restoration Cost £17,700

This area has been prioritised because it has the worst damage and needs urgent stabilisation. There is an area of significant damage to the left of our Music Room Door (G6) and this leads onto two double height wall paintings of the crucifixion and Jesus being taken down from the cross after his death, at the base of the Blue Stairs with further paint loss.


Anybody keen to donate towards the restoration may request to view the paintings by appointment via email to (Alex Dijkhuis)

Historical Evening, Wednesday 26 June 2024, 7.00pm - 9.00pm

We are opening the school for an historical evening in aid of our restoration fund.  This will commence with an illustrated talk for an hour about the extraordinary history of our site in Hammersmith from 1669 to the present day.  After the talk, refreshments will be provided in the cloisters to enable visitors to view the cloister paintings up close.  Visitors will also be able to access the cloister gardens, the wood panelled reception room with a display of historical artefacts, and our front lawn area from which the early memorial stones can be seen.

You can book tickets for this event through Eventbrite here:

Summer Garden Party, July 2025

In July 2025, the school will be hosting a summer garden party in aid of the cloister painting restoration fund.  Booking details will be included here in due course.

Giving Day

We are also exploring the possibility of a dedicated Giving Day, with more information to follow.


Payments at any level can be made at any time, directly into our Cloister Paintings Restoration Fund. 

Please mark your donation as 'Paintings [your name]'

Account Name: SACRED HEART HIGH SCHOOL, School Fund Account

Account Number: 11444932

Sort Code: 60-50-06

Letting us know who you are

It is not always easy for us to identify donors from our bank statements.  After you have made a donation towards this restoration project, do please let us know who you are, by completing this short form:  

Confirming Gift Aid

If you are a UK taxpayer and agree to ‘GiftAid’ your donation, then the school can claim from the government’s charitable giving scheme, an extra 25% above the donation that you make yourself.  Please fill in this online Gift Aid Form which the school needs in order to claim this extra money from the government.   

UK taxpayers can donate under the Gift Aid scheme which means that donations are treated as being made net of basic rate tax which the school can reclaim from HMRC increasing the value of the cash donation by 25 per cent. Higher rate taxpayers at 40 and 45 per cent can reclaim the difference between the basic and higher rates of tax by completing an annual self-assessment return form. 

For more information on the Gift Aid scheme please visit the HM Revenue & Customs website at