Ceiling paintings

The North Hall is crowned with intricately painted ceiling panels, for which no sketches survive. They were painted by Charles Lea and it is possible they were designed by Waterhouse, who attended to just about every detail of the building.

Rose of England

The ceiling panels feature plants, among them the national flowers of the kingdoms of England, Ireland and Scotland. The rose that represents EnglandĀ is at the centre of this panel.

Shamrock of Ireland

Each of the three national flower panels in the North Hall is similar in style, but displays a different emblem at the centre. This panel bears the shamrock for Ireland.

Thistle of Scotland

This panel bears the thistle for Scotland at the centre. Wales is not represented because it was never a kingdom. The roof panels show 18 different plants.


Fourteen of the 18 plants depicted are poisonous or used for medicinal purposes. This reflects the Victorian fascination with poisoning, which grew as developments in medicine made drugs such as morphine commonplace.