Ken Walker’s paintings inspire exhibition on Budleigh’s changing high street

Ken Walker. Picture: Fairlynch Museum

Ken Walker. Picture: Fairlynch Museum - Credit: Fairlynch Museum

The work of Ken Walker, best known for his paintings of Budleigh Salterton high street, will be featured as part of an exhibition at Fairlynch Museum

A display inspired by the paintings of a ‘much-loved’ Budleigh Salterton artist has been hailed by his family as a ‘lovely idea’ by his family.

The late Ken Walker was a familiar figure in the town and was often seen capturing the town’s shops in paint. He was later commissioned by traders in town to create a record of their businesses.

Ken’s work – now recognised as an important archive of the town’s architectural heritage – has been used to illustrate Fairlynch Museum’s latest exhibition entitled ‘The Changing Face of Budleigh Salterton High Street’.

Roz Hickman, event organiser and head of local history at Fairlynch, said: “This is the first time an exhibition of his work has ever been held – I think this is quite important as it is unlikely that this number of paintings will ever be gathered together again and would not have been loaned to us if it wasn’t personal pleading of Alan Tilbury – representing the Chamber of Commerce.”

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Ken and his wife Audrey moved to Budleigh in 1987 after years of spending their holidays in the seaside resort.

His first picture was on the house in Victoria Place which the couple had purchased.

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This spawned his grand scheme of painting al the shops in the town centre when he realised how Budleigh was changing so rapidly.

The exhibition is one of many organised by Fairlynch this year and will also feature photos of many long-gone businesses on the town’s high street with some dating back to 1867.

Following a series of highly-successful events in 2018 to mark 400 years since the execution of East Budleigh-born Sir Walter Raleigh, museum volunteers have staged an exhibition entitled ‘Devon’s New World Explorers’ which looks forward to the Mayflower 400 celebrations in 2020.

Other special exhibitions at Fairlynch during 2019 are based on the museum’s extensive collections of costumes, lace and toys as well as its display of archaeological and geological specimens.

Fairlynch museum opens from 2pm on Friday, April 19 until Thursday, October 31, excluding Mondays except bank holidays.

Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

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