In 2016 I visited London and ended up exploring Little Venice and Paddington Station, and of course my trip to South Africa meant I would invariably end up in the area again. I had spent the morning of the 22nd at the Natural History Museum in London (most of it in the queue), and on my arrival back in London I had roughly 3 hours to kill depending on when I got back from Heathrow. I had more or less decided to spend that time looking around close to the station as it was not really feasible to head down to anywhere else. Paddington and Little Venice were my best options because I really wanted to see whether I could find any Paddington Bear statues in the area.
I left my very heavy luggage at the Station and armed with a map of “The Pawprint Trail” headed onwards. The weather was not really great, and I was not dressed warmly as I had not taken much warm clothing with me on the trip. I had two places I wanted to find and hopefully to photograph the Paddington Statues at those spots. I already had 3 of the statues mentioned on the map:
The first Paddington I was after was near Sheldon Square and close to the one corner of Paddington Station. Unfortunately it was rush hour and very difficult to find the statue in the rush of people heading to and from the station. Fortunately I found him, and he was feeling kind of blue by the looks of it. Taking an image of him was also difficult as he was under a bridge with sunlight on one side and darkness on the other, and did I mention people walking past just as I hit the shutter button?
The image to the left has been lightened a bit as his face was mostly in shadow. My pic taken I was about ready to head out looking for number 2, but I was also intrigued to see mention of a Michael Bond statue on the map I had been given at the Paddington Shop on the station. It was not too far away and involved crossing the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal where I was and heading towards Paddington Green. It did look do-able so I turned my bows into the general direction and off I went. I had roughly 90 minutes to complete the job and I would also be able to have a look at the Church of St Mary on Paddington Green while I was in the area.
The area around Paddington Station looks like this:
I headed towards a footbridge that theoretically came out close to where the Michael Bond statue was, this is the view looking back from where I had come.
The bridge crossed under Westway but instead of heading to where the statue was I headed off on a tangent which lead me away from where I should be going. It was quite a pretty area though with many old buildings in it.
Parking was at a premium and cars were stuck bumper to bumper as drivers tried to nab a spot that somebody was trying to vacate. The building above is part of “St Mary’s Mansions”
I continued walking along St Mary’s Terrace until I reached the Regents Canal. It was home to many narrow boats and quite difficult to get an image that encompassed the whole canal.
Behind me was the very imposing Catholic Apostolic Church in Maida Avenue but I was unable to get anywhere close to it as the grounds were firmly locked.
I could not quite work out how this area related to where I wanted to be so I decided to return the way I came and see whether I could find the statue again. Returning to the footbridge I walked in the opposite direction from which I had come and duly found the statue of Michael Bond and two others. Actually it was not a statue but a laser cut silhouette artwork and one of three artworks. It appears as if there are associated plaques at the artworks, but I did not look too closely.
Close by was the Church of St Mary on Paddington Green and an associated hall that appeared to be a nursery school. The church was not a large one and it had an associated graveyard. Unfortunately it was not open so I could not go inside to warm up. It was becoming decidedly miserable by now and I was seriously considering returning to the station.
The church was built between 1788 and 1791 and burials ceased in the churchyards in 1857 when the space ran out. There are two burials areas, the first being around the church and the original area next to the church grounds depicted below.
The church under my belt I headed back towards that station and the Paddington basin where the other Paddington statue was. It was not too long a walk, but a very chilly one.
The statue was shown as being on the left bank and close to the “Fan Bridge” which was in the down position. I could however not find the statue and had to ask for help from a yellow hi-vis vested person.
Instead of being outside the statue is actually inside a building which explains why I couldn’t see it.
Mission accomplished it was time to head off to catch my train, although I did have an hour to kill till it left and I spent that reading, pacing and looking at my watch, the departure boards and the passing crowds. Once again the train was one of the new British Rail Class 800’s and I had travelled in one on my way to London on the 22nd. I was able to grab a pic of the old and the new on this occasion, and in 2016 when I was here only the Class 43’s were evident.
I finally boarded my train at 11.25 and at 11.36 the train started to move and I was on my way home. I still had 4 hours of travel ahead of me, but was getting closer all the time. I had originally considered staying in London overnight and only returning home on the 8th, but given the weather and my own state of tiredness it is a good thing I did not.
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