Paddington forms one of London’s most significant historic areas. The iconic station was designed by the illustrious engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel as the London terminus of his Great Western Railway in 1838 and went on to be the terminus of the Metropolitan Railway, the world’s first underground, in 1863. It was also at Paddington’s St Mary’s Hospital in 1928 that Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, one of the most powerful of all antibiotics and in doing so changed the future of disease treatment. In more recent years St Mary’s has been of great importance to the Royal Family with Princes William, Harry and George being born in the hospital’s maternity ward and most recently Princess Charlotte.
Many historic moments
The seat of innovation
Paddington is best-known for local writer Michael Bond’s beloved children’s stories featuring Paddington Bear, who was found at the station after arriving alone from ‘darkest Peru’. Dig a bit deeper and you’ll find that past residents include the great actress Sarah Siddons, theatre designer and film director Cecil Beaton and Victorian poet Robert Browning (who reputedly named Little Venice). Alan Turing, the World War II code-breaker widely acknowledged as the father of modern computer science; and Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement, were also residents.