Visitors to the Smiles dental centre in Upper Stratton now have a fascinating local point of interest to view while waiting for their appointment – thanks to a deal struck with one of the patients.
When artist Ken White, who was recognised as a ‘Swindon Treasure’ in the December 2012 Link, called in to the surgery to have some work done, dentist Stuart Miles saw the opportunity to strike an unusual arrangement.
Right and below, dentists Stuart and Simon Miles with Ken and his self-portrait. Photo: Richard Wintle www.calyxpix.com
Stuart said: “I knew of Ken when he came to us for denture repairs, but I didn’t realise his incredible achievements.
“We got talking about his career, his early days as an apprentice in the railway works, his work as a commercial artist and painting murals for Richard Branson, and we agreed a deal to provide treatment in exchange for one of his paintings.”
Smiles underwent renovation last autumn, and a large wall provided the perfect place to display the painting.
At Ken’s studio in Old Town Stuart chose a picture of Ken with a friend as 10 year olds in front of the now-demolished Moredon Power Station next to the River Ray.
“The picture appealed to me as it features Ken and tells a personal story,” said Stuart. “Many of our older patients will have known the power station and the scene reminds us of those sunny summers of childhood.”
Ken, born in 1943 in the town centre, spent many of his earlier years living in Mulberry Grove, Moredon.
He has clear memories of the area and said: “The power station was huge, and dominated the skyline. All us kids would roam across the area during the holidays; it was always warm and the sun shone back then. We could cycle to Cricklade and back and only be passed by one car.
“We were a bit afraid of the power station. When you got up close it blocked out the light and there would be water running down the walls.
“I’m pleased Stuart decided on the power station picture.”
Smiles provides full dental care, as well as denture repair, implants and facial aesthetic services.
Ken appears on two front pages in March
The Spring edition of Swindon Heritage, features Ken White on the cover with a four page on his life and work. Click to find out where to purchase a copy