Paddington Area Guide
HISTORY, LOCATION, ARCHITECTURE, EDUCATION & MORE
Paddington is an area within the City of Westminster, in central London. Formerly a metropolitan borough, it was integrated with Westminster and Greater London in 1965. Three important landmarks of the district are Paddington station, designed by the celebrated engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and opened in 1847; St Mary's Hospital; and Paddington Green Police Station. A major project called Paddington Waterside was to regenerate the former railway and canal land between 1998 and 2018 and the area is seeing many new developments, including Balmoral Apartments and the more recent phases of Merchant Square.
In the 19th century the part of the parish most sandwiched between Edgware Road and Westbourne Terrace, Gloucester Terrace and Craven Hill, bounded to the south by Bayswater Road, was known as Tyburnia. The district formed the centrepiece of an 1824 masterplan by Samuel Pepys Cockerell to redevelop the Tyburn Estate (historic lands of the Bishop of London) into a residential area to rival Belgravia. The area was laid out in the mid-1800s when grand squares and cream-stuccoed terraces started to fill the acres between Paddington station and Hyde Park
Paddington Basin & Grand Union Canal
Commercial traffic on the Grand Junction Canal (which became the Grand Union Canal in 1929) dwindled because of railway competition in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, and freight then moved from rail to road after World War II, leading to the abandonment of the goods yards in the early 1980s. The land lay derelict until the Paddington Waterside Partnership was established in 1998 to co-ordinate the regeneration of the area between the Westway, Praed Street and Westbourne Terrace.
Paddington station is the terminus for commuter services to the west of London (e.g. from/to Slough, Maidenhead, Reading, Swindon) and mainline services to Oxford, South-West England (including Bristol, Bath, Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth and Cornwall) and South Wales (including Cardiff, Bridgend and Swansea). The Heathrow Express serves Heathrow Airport. In the station are statues of its designer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and the children's fiction character Paddington Bear.
St Mary's Hospital in Praed Street is the site of several notable medical accomplishments. In 1874, C. R. Alder Wright synthesised heroin (diacetylmorphine). Also there, in 1928, Sir Alexander Fleming first isolated penicillin, earning the award of a Nobel Prize.
British painter Lucian Freud had his studio in Paddington, first at Delamere Terrace from 1943 to 1962, and then at 124 Clarendon Crescent from 1962 to 1977.
In the first story, Paddington is found at Paddington railway station in London by the Brown family, sitting on his suitcase (bearing the label "Wanted on Voyage") with a note attached to his coat that reads "Please look after this bear. Thank you." Bond has said that his memories of newsreels showing trainloads of child evacuees leaving London during World War II, with labels around their necks and their possessions in small suitcases, prompted him to do the same for Paddington. Bond originally wanted Paddington to have "travelled all the way from darkest Africa", but his agent advised him that there were no bears in darkest Africa and thus it was amended to darkest Peru, home of the spectacled bear. As of June 2016, Paddington Bear and its copyright and trademark across the world are now owned by Vivendi's Studiocanal. Bond, however, still owns the publishing rights to his series.
Padddington continues to grow and is attracting more and more people to the area with it is eclectic mix of live/work developments. Sheldon Square, Balmoral Apartments & the more recent Merchant Square buildings are amongst the most popular. The Grand Union Canal adds some tranquillity to the area and softens yet reflects the new shiny fronted buildings that face on it. Transport links and the coming Crossrail continue to push the area forward.
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