The Paddington Bears by the canal in…. Paddington, London, W2! All of them!
There are quite a number of Paddington Bears around Paddington to commemorate the new Paddington Bear film starring Hugh Bonneville.
This features all of the Paddington Bears to be found in Paddington, W2, with a particular focus on those that are sited by Paddington Basin/Grand Union/Regent’s Canal.
Despite some of these bears not being by the canal, there is indeed a waterways theme that links all nine Paddington Bears in this part of London.
Mayor of Paddington
This is the Mayor of Paddington, right by the canal just outside Paddington Station, adjacent to Bishops Bridge Road, and designed by Costain Skanska/Paddington Partnership. (No 3.) Probably the most popular bear by decree of its location immediately outside the Hammersmith & City line entrance to Paddington Station and on the main walking route from Paddington to Little Venice. Typically the bears around here are sited some short distance from the canal (with the exception of Futuristic Robot Bear and Brick Bear.)
Futuristic Robot Bear
Futuristic Robot Bear at the eastern end of Paddington Basin – by Jonathan Ross. (No 6.) This bear is one of only two out of the six around the canals of Paddington & Little Venice that sit nearest the water’s edge, with Futuristic Robot Bear being just the one that is right by the edge of the towpath.
Original design for the Futuristic Robotic Bear
Jonathan Ross @wossy tweeted this pic on Dec 27 2014: “Here’s the original ‘Future Paddington’ I designed for the NSPCC. They thought the cyber-eye was too scary!”
The striking fluorescent bear that is known as Bearing Up (No. 4) designed by Taylor Wimpey, again near the canal at Paddington Basin on the route that takes pedestrians across the canal from North Wharf Road to St Mary’s Hospital. This bear is one of my favourites.
By the Glass Bridge/The Point at Paddington Basin, just across the canal from Paddington Station, is Brick Bear, designed by Robin Partington & Partners. (No. 5) Brick Bear is sited very near the water’s edge, as shown below.
Love, Paddington x
In Rembrandt Gardens, again by the canal, this time in iconic Little Venice, by Warwick Avenue, is the shiny Love, Paddington x, designed by Lulu Guinness. It’s No. 1 of the 50 bears around London. Number one might seem to many to be in an odd location, for this is Little Venice. Not really – author Michael Bond’s home is just a short walk away overlooking the canal.
Love, Paddington x can be said to be the ONLY bear sited adjacent to the Regent’s Canal. Its certainly very near that canal and its distinctive No.1 bridge at Warwick Avenue. One of the Little Venice based boats, Lady A, can also be seen in the picture below.
Love, Paddington x at Little Venice by Warwick Avenue/Regent’s Canal
In the amphitheatre known as Sheldon Square, deep below the level of the Grand Union Canal is colourful Texting Paddington, designed by Westminster Academy. (No. 2) Its not really near the canal although it is sited within the Paddington Central complex, opposite where British Waterways’ former Sheldon Square HQ was once located.
The three Bears of Paddington that are not sited adjacent to the canal are shown next. However, surprise – there is a strong waterways theme that links these three – and it’s something you wont find in any of the many sources describing these 50 Paddington Bears!
Paddington, the original bear
Paddington, the original bear as depicted in the Paddington Bear books. Designed by Paddington Bear author Michael Bond. Picture taken in a totally empty Paddington Station on Xmas Day. (No. 7.) Its a fair distance from the canal as one walks although the canal is actually very near this point.
In keeping with the waterways theme, this point was at one time where the Kilburn/Westbourne River once flowed (see notes below.) It’s valley was taken over for the construction of Paddington Station and the river diverted to the west.
A bit further away from Paddington station and indeed the canal’s environs are these three bears…
Paddingtonscape designed by Hannah Warren in Norfolk Square, quite near Paddington Station. (No. 8)
Ironically Norfolk Square WAS once part of the canal! Two reservoirs built by the Grand Junction Canal Company stood either side of Praed Street, W2, and these were for supply of water to this part of London. The southern reservoir was sited here, and after its closure Norfolk Square was built.
This one, Paws Engage, is the most distant of Paddington’s Paddington Bears. It’s just inside Kensington Gardens opposite Lancaster gate tube station, just a few minutes walk from Paddington Station. Designed by Canterbury of New Zealand. (No. 10 in series.)
Despite this bear apparently NOT being on any notable waterway, the illusion does not end there. This location was indeed where one of London’s more important waterways, the Kilburn, or Westbourne, River could be found. In fact the Long Water/The Serpentine are the remnant of that waterway.
The Kilburn/Westbourne (also known as the Bayswater Rivulet) soon met the fate of most of London’s rivers and it became known as the Ranelagh Sewer. Its waters still flow through Hyde Park, albeit on a different route from Lancaster Gate under Bayswater Road as far eastwards as roughly the point where the Titchbourne flowed into Hyde Park. It then traverses straight across the park to meet its original route at the eastern extremity of the Serpentine, and acts as an overflow for the Serpentine.
Keen spotters will note part of an original bridge, that once crossed the Kilburn/Westbourne River, still exists in the adjacent Italian Gardens. Its practically the only bridge left from the days when London had many tributaries off the Thames. Its an old structure and one that’s strangely never been listed or viewed as having any historic importance of any sort.