Ken White – Swindon’s Mural Man. Known and loved by many Swindonians for the murals that once dotted the Swindonscape. Only one now remains, and that’s his first one, the Golden Lion Bridge mural.

If you haven’t heard of him and think you don’t know his work then you couldn’t be more wrong. An extract from the artist‘s website will explain:

‘Ken White is perhaps best known for his murals, sited in a wide variety of locations all over the world. To date, he has painted over one hundred murals.

He was, for many years, the personal artist for Virgin boss Richard Branson and has completed works for him in many Virgin establishments throughout the world, including record shops, hotels and airport lounges.

With the launch of Virgin Atlantic in 1984, Ken produced what is probably his most well known work: the “Scarlet Lady” emblem which features on all the airline’s aircraft’.  

ken white and golden lion mural
Image by Roger Ogle for Link Magazine

Ken’s early life

Life his brother and his father before him, Ken began his working life in the GWR works aged 15. He started out as a rivet hotter, later getting a move to sign writing in the carriage and wagon works.

As soon as he could he went to night classes at Swindon college to do his ‘O’ and ‘A’Levels in art. Those attained he left the works and entered Swindon’s art college to undertake a full-time art diploma.

Ken White – Swindon’s Mural Man

Ken’s mural painting activity didn’t restrict itself to Swindon though. As the personal artist for Richard Branson he travelled the world painting Virgin Megastores, airport lounges and more. You’ll find a great selection of Ken’s artistic output in this book: Ken White Muralist and Painter.

The Virgin Scarlet Lady

So yep. Not only has Ken painted murals all over the world he is the creator of Richard Branson’s ‘Scarlet Lady’. See, I said you’d know his work. So is he not something to celebrate about Swindon?

Well, as far as I’m concerned he’s worthy of his own place on my personal selection of ‘Ten things to celebrate about Swindon’ list. Which I haven’t compiled in any particular order.

You can read more about Ken’s Swindon murals on SwindonWeb.