Home » London Transport » Brunel and a Bear from Peru – A Short History of Paddington Station

Brunel and a Bear from Peru – A Short History of Paddington Station

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Paddington station is a central London railway terminus and London Underground station, it is one of the historic stations of London being  the London terminus of the Great Western Railway and its successors since 1838. Much of the architecture of mainline station dates from 1854 and was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Matthew Digby Wyatt. The station officially opened on 29 May 1854, the impressive roof is 699 feet (210 m) long was originally supported by wrought iron arches in three spans, respectively spanning 68 feet (21 m), 102 feet (31 m) and 70 feet (21 m), however  in 1906-1915 the station was developed and a fourth span of 109 feet (33 m) was added.

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Common to many of the main London stations, a grand hotel was built in the 19th century, The Great Western Hotel was built towards the  front of the station in 1851-1854 by architect Philip Charles Hardwick. In the area behind the Great Western Hotel is the concourse which is called The Lawn, it served as the stations first concourse but has recently received a multi- million pound makeover with a good variety of  shops and cafés.

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The station which deals with over 30 million customers a year  is the London terminus for First Great Western, which provides the majority of commuter and regional services to West London, the Thames Valley region and long-distance intercity services to South West England and South Wales. Destinations served include Reading, Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Oxford, Newbury, Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance, Cheltenham, Worcester and Hereford. Paddington is also the London terminus for the Heathrow Express, which provides fast train services to London Heathrow Airport.

Paddington Underground station has its own piece of history being first served by Underground trains in 1863, as the original western terminus of the Metropolitan Railway, the world’s first underground railway.

Paddington Underground Station is on the Hammersmith and City Line, the Bakerloo line and the District and Circle lines.

Paddington will also be connected to the new Crossrail services when services commence in 2018.

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In the station is  statues of the great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Paddington Bear who was named after the station. In the Paddington books, the little bear travels from deepest Peru to the station where he is found with a note reading ‘Please look after this bear, Thank you.’

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