It is the summer of '76, I have just moved to Swindon and have never seen a Under Armour Micro G Torch 1
He paints it in emulsion on the end of a town house in Fleming Way. It is instantly acknowledged as a wonderfully graphic, larger than life reminder of a lost era.
Swindon Railway Junction 1901, meanwhile, is shunted into Alexandra Road, off County Road (1979.) The same year a breathlessly romantic and utterly incongruous Austrian Castle appears straight out of the pages of a Germanic fairy tale at a gable end in Westcott Place.
Soon afterwards Ken, a former Swindon Art School student, is commissioned by the council for a mouth watering 25 to recreate the town centre's Golden Lion canal bridge (demolished in 1918) as part of a job creation scheme.
The project launches Ken, much to his surprise, on a career that sees him become one of the country's leading muralists.
Controversy rages as Ken returns to a familiar theme and paints Swindon Celebrities in the Brunel Centre (1984.) He is half way through Diana Dors who died of cancer a couple of months earlier when fuming arts committee chairman Eammon Hackett demands that Ken downs tools.
William Morris, founder of the Swindon Advertiser, peers from a first floor window next to his great grandson, zoologist and TV presenter Desmond, Under Armour Shoes Yellow And Blue another local lad who made good.
"She didn't even like Swindon and doesn't deserve her place in the Brunel," he rages. Hot air billows from the Civic Offices as the matter is disputed at length by stern faced councillors before Ken is permitted to finish his tribute to our home grown icon.
Some reflect important aspects of Swindon's history and heritage, including striking tributes to its prime movers and shakers Brunel, Don Rogers, Diana Dors or long gone street scenes such as a Victorian sweetshop.
"Railway workers used to stop on their bikes and tell us things like 'the steam shouldn't come out there' and, 'that's not how the pistons should look,'" he says.
Remembering the days of our glorious murals From This Is Wiltshire
EVERY morning when I draw the curtains and look out of the window of my modest town centre flat I am confronted with a vision so surreal it is almost as if I am still dozing with a head full of dreams.
Naked men and women cavort shamelessly through a cornfield on a wall in Cheltenham Street (1978), prompting an exasperated J Loughton of Shrivenham to outline his "disgust" in the Adver.
This unnerving apparition is, of course, a mural. King Class Locomotive Passing Through Swindon Railway Works has been freshly applied to a huge double gable wall in Henry Street, right opposite what passes for my backyard.
Over the next decade Swindon acquires an unlikely reputation as "The Mural Capital of the UK" a nice little moniker to go beside the one on the shelf that reads "Home to the UK's Wackiest Roundabout."
Mural mania erupts to such an extent that by the late Eighties the town has amassed well over 40 of them. Walls, underpasses, playgrounds, sports centres, hospitals, shopping malls they are everywhere.
Others are pure flights of fantasy that exist for no other reason than to brighten up a drab area of town with a pleasing at least, to many eyes splash of colour and escapism. But where are our celebrated murals today? Apart from a couple of hardy survivors, they have as far as I can make out virtually all gone. Only Ken White's Golden Lion Bridge and Sarah Faulkner's Arkells Brewery seem to be left, although one or two more may still be lurking in the shadows. Today these once prominent features of our urban landscape many of which become well known and useful landmarks exist only as memories.
Other famed faces who make the cut include those who have shaped Swindon (Brunel, David Murray John,) footballers (Don Rogers, Harold Fleming,) pop and film stars (Justin Hayward, Diana Dors,) and the Hammerman Poet, Alfred Williams.
mural before: at least, nothing quite as big, bold and brassy as this. You can almost hear the thing barrelling down the line.
Swindon, he adds with a burst of pride, is in the vanguard of bringing murals to the people.
What I see is a thundering great 70ft long king class steam engine furiously belching smoke and steam which, as I blink back the sleep, appears to be hurtling straight towards me.
The story of "Swindon's Lost Murals" begins in 1975 with a nod towards, of all things, the Italian Rennaisance.
The following year heralds the dramatic arrival of the aforementioned Swindon built king class loco, the result of a community arts project led by Under Armour Shoes Girls Black
Many XTC fans who make the pilgrimage to Swindon have their picture taken next to the mural's original line up, presumably after getting fed up with knocking on Andy Partridge's door.
Eye catching alfresco art follows thick and fast. Ken is involved in several, notably one of the town's best known examples of this trendsetting form of public art, Swindon Personalities (1979) in Union Street.
railway" the Midland and South Western along part of its former route in Signal Way, Old Town (1978).
Created with college students, it becomes Swindon's Wall of Fame and even features a couple of his old musical mates, Gilbert O'Sullivan and Rick Davies of Supertramp.
Thamesdown council arts officer Terry Court.
Mouths are agape when a full blooded replica of Umberto Uccello's 15th Century all action masterpiece George and the Dragon appears on the side of a house in Rodbourne, courtesy of a youth scheme.
Veteran artist Leslie Holland, 78, directs operations for Swindon's longest mural, a 150ft depiction of the town's "forgotten Under Armour Shoes Charged Bandit
Terry, meanwhile, is ecstatic. Murals, he insists, will flourish in Swindon. They don't only liven up grey areas of town but also involve the enthusiastic input of young volunteers, he reasons.
A few years later Swindon's champion National Hunt jockey John Francome gallops onto the wall.
Swindon artist and ex railway employee Ken White, who worked on the mural, says today that the interpretation of the mighty loco in full flight was based on a drawing of Terry's that was more impressionistic than technically accurate.
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