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Great London Sculptures : Paddington Bear Statue by Marcus Cornish at Paddington Station

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

London railway stations have featured in many books over the years, however in the Paddington Bear books, our cuddly hero is named after Paddington Station. The station plays a very important role in the books because it is within the station where he was first found by Mr. and Mrs. Brown when he arrives in London from Peru and the reason he got his name.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

To commemorate this relationship, there is a life-sized bronze statue of Paddington in the station which was designed by the sculptor Marcus Cornish. The statue was unveiled by the Paddington Bear series author Michael Bond in 2000.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Michael Bond was working as a television cameraman for the BBC that he first came up with the idea for Paddington. He bought a small toy bear for his wife and named it Paddington because they were living near Paddington Station at the time. He began to write some stories about the bear and eventually his very first book “A Bear Called Paddington” was accepted by a publisher and published in 1958. Since the first book, Paddington books have sold more than thirty-five million copies worldwide and have been translated into over forty different languages.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Michael Bond lived in London, not far from Paddington Station where he continued to write until shortly before he died in 2017, aged 91.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

In the books, we found out that Paddington originally came from Peru where he was brought up by his Aunt Lucy. When Aunt Lucy went to live in the Home for Retired Bears in Lima, she decided to send him to England to live. He was found by the Browns sitting on a small suitcase near the lost property office wearing a hat with a label round his neck with the words “Please Look After This Bear. Thank You.” Paddington is famous for his love of marmalade and especially marmalade sandwiches.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The sculpture recreates this scene, with Paddington sitting under a large clock with his suitcase waiting to be rescued.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Paddington has also achieved fame on television and more recently films, one strange but true fact is that the very first Paddington bear soft toy was designed in the UK by Shirley Clarkson who just happens to be the mother of TV personality Jeremy Clarkson. Now Paddington has his own shop on Paddington Station.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Nearby the statue is a colourful Paddington bench and plaque marking the making of the first Paddington film in 2013 and mentions that some of the scenes were filmed in the station.

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

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

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.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

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.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

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.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

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 2020.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

In the station are statues of the great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Paddington Bear who was named after the station.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

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.’

 

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here