Born on the eve of Christmas 1956, Paddington was a stuffed toy bear. It was a present from its creator, Michael Bond, to his wife, Brenda. The toy inspired Bond to quit his job as a camera-person to become a writer and create a fictional character around it. Paddington Bear grew up to become an iconic children’s fictional character, featuring in his own picture books, animation shows and films. The first few stories written by Bond illustrate how an orphaned bear from Peru ends up in London with the Brown family, who take care of him like their own.
Where the Bear Stayed and Where Can You?
Paddington came all the way from Lima to London on a lifeboat. Eventually reaching Paddington Station (yes, that’s where he gets his name from), he was found by the Brown family and taken home to 32, Windsor Gardens, London. If you too have traveled to London and are looking for hotels in Paddington, The Paddington Hotel London is a great budget hotel in Central London, close to many popular tourist attractions of the city, such as Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and more. Don’t try looking for the Browns; they’re probably not taking strangers in anymore!
A Bear’s Journey from Peru to BAFTA
Although the Paddington Bear was Michael Bond’s brainchild, conceived in London itself, the fictional character is said to have come from Peru. Orphaned at a tender age, Paddington is cared for by his Aunt Lucy. But when she goes to the Home for Retired Bears in Lima, she teaches him English and sends him off to England.
On October 13, 1958, Paddington’s very first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was published by William Collins, illustrated by Peggy Fortnum. Less than a year later, it was listed as ‘The Best Children’s Novel’ of 1958 by the UK Book Trade Journal, Books and Bookmen.
In 1959, the second Paddington book by Michael Bond, More About Paddington, was published. In the year that followed, A Bear Called Paddington, was translated into Swedish, Danish, Dutch and Japanese. Gaining popularity nationally and internationally, Paddington Bear saw the launch of its first ever soft toy merchandise in 1972. Having become a successful brand, Paddington Bear got its own television series in 1976.
Taking a huge leap forward, in 2014, the bear also had a film made about it, which went on to receive the prestigious BAFTA at the British Academy Children’s Awards!
The second Paddington movie, Paddington 2, went into production on October 18, 2016.
Places to See in Paddington’s Town
Paddington Bear can testify that great adventures begin at Paddington Station. The station is located in Central London and provides direct connectivity to Heathrow Airport via the Heathrow Express. It is also close to some of the best tourist attractions London has to offer. For instance, Westminster Abbey (2.9 miles), Buckingham Palace (2.2 miles) and Kensington Palace (0.4 miles).
And, if you are visiting Paddington’s town, make sure you check into a comfortable place like Paddington Hotel, London, a budget hotel in Central London near Paddington Station.