Cumbria’s biggest mural, based on designs by artistic youngsters from an Ulverston school, were unveiled to mark the start of the UK’s first ever Architecture Week in November 1997.

The colourful mural formed a 100ft hoarding around the front entrance to Welfare State International’s headquarters, in The Ellers, which for the following year would be a building site.

The former National School building, which had been home to WSI for the previous ten years, was to receive a massive facelift following a successful bid to the National Lottery.

Children from the Sir John Barrow School let their imaginations run riot and created a host of colourful designs along the theme of artists and celebration. 

With the help of Kendal artist Simon Strand, designs by children from Year Three to Year Six had been transferred on to the giant artwork, which would remain in place until the building re-opened as the Lantern House Centre for Celebration.

Complete with towers, courtyards, trees and fountains, workshops, music rooms and studio, Welfare State International hoped the work would be completed by September 1998.

Teacher Steve Frear explained that five representatives from each school year took part in the project.

He said: “They came up with designs in black and white and the artist transferred them into these wonderful panels.”

The Kendal-based artist was impressed with the work of the Sir John Barrow pupils.

He said: “It’s excellent, witty and very inventive. I’ve never done anything like this before - it’s quite unique.”

 In June 1994 Ulverston’s National School building celebrated its 160th birthday.

The building in The Ellers was then the headquarters of arts and theatre company, Welfare State International.

Welfare State had the building decorated with artwork and sculptures by students from Wimbledon Art School and threw it open to the public for the weekend.

Former pupils of the old school, who were now in their 70s and 80s, had written a book about growing up in Ulverston.