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This is a 35mm film canister hidden near the entrance to London
London Paddington Station
London Paddington station, also known as London Paddington, or just
simply Paddington, is a major National Rail and London Underground
station complex in the Paddington area near central London,
England. It is the seventh busiest rail terminal in London.
The site is a historic one, having served as the London terminus of
the Great Western Railway and its successors since 1838. Much of
the current mainline station dates back to 1854, and was designed
by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The site was first served by
Underground trains in 1863, and was the original western terminus
of the Metropolitan Railway, the world's first underground
Despite its historic nature, and the need to preserve many of its
features, the complex has recently been modernised, and has added a
new role as the terminus of the dedicated Heathrow Express service
to Heathrow Airport. The complex is in Travelcard Zone 1.
The station complex is located in, alongside and under a long thin
city block bounded across the front by Praed Street and to the rear
by Bishop's Bridge Road, which crosses the throat of the main line
station on the recently replaced Bishop's Bridge. The west side of
the station is paralleled by Eastbourne Terrace, whilst the east
side is constrained by the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal.
The main line station is located in a shallow cutting, a fact that
is obscured from the front by the frontal hotel building, but which
can be clearly seen from the other three sides.
The station's location is something of a back street one, with none
of the bounding streets being major traffic thoroughfares. The
surrounding area is largely residential, and contains many of
London's hotels. Until recently there has been little in the way of
office accommodation in the area, meaning that most of Paddington's
commuter traffic interchanges between National Rail and the London
Underground to reach its eventual destination in the West End or
the City. However, recent redevelopment of nearby derelict railway
and canal land, marketed as Paddington Waterside, has resulted in a
number of new office complexes in the area.
The first station to open in the Paddington area was a temporary
terminus for the Great Western Railway on the west side of Bishop's
Bridge Road. The first GWR service from London to Taplow, near
Maidenhead, began at Paddington in 1838. After the opening of the
main station in 1854, this became the site of the goods depot.
After years of dereliction, it is now being redeveloped as part of
a mixed residential and business area called Paddington
The main Paddington station between Bishops Bridge Road and Praed
Street was opened in 1854 and was designed by Isambard Kingdom
Brunel who was later commemorated by a statue on the station
concourse (known as "The Lawn"), despite the fact that much of the
architectural detailing was by his associate Matthew Digby Wyatt.
The glazed roof is supported by wrought iron arches in three spans,
respectively spanning 20.70 m (68 ft), 31.20 m (102 ft) and 21.30 m
(70 ft). The roof is 213 m (699 ft) long, and a particular feature
of the original roof spans is the presence of two transepts
connecting the three spans. It is commonly believed that these were
provided by Brunel to accommodate traversers to carry coaches
between the tracks within the station. However, recent research,
using early documents and photographs, does not seem to support
this belief, and their actual purpose is unknown.
The Great Western Hotel was built on Praed Street in front of the
station in 1851-1854 by architect Philip Charles Hardwick, son of
Philip Hardwick (designer of the Euston Arch). The station was
substantially enlarged in 1906-1915 and a fourth span of 33 m (109
ft) was added on the north side, parallel to the others. The new
span was built to a similar style to the original three spans, but
the detailing is different and it does not possess the transepts of
the earlier spans.
On Armistice Day 1922, a memorial to the employees of the GWR who
died during the First World War was unveiled by Viscount Churchill.
The bronze memorial depicts a soldier reading a letter which was
sculpted by Charles Sargeant Jagger and stands on platform 1.
In 1961, the decomposing body of a male child was found in a case
at the station. Paper stuffed into his mouth was the cause of
death. His identity has never been discovered.
A very early construction by Brunel was recently discovered
immediately to the north of the station. A cast iron bridge
carrying the Bishop's Bridge Road over the Paddington Arm of the
Grand Union Canal was uncovered after removal of more recent brick
cladding during the complete replacement of the adjacent bridge
over the railway lines at the mouth of the station.
The Station Today
Today Paddington has 14 terminal platforms, numbered 1 to 14 from
west to east. Platforms 1 to 8 are located below the original three
spans of Brunel's 1854 train shed, whilst platforms 9 to 12 are
located beneath the later fourth span. Platforms 13 and 14 are
within the Metropolitan Railway's old Bishops Bridge station,
immediately alongside the two through platforms, numbered 15 and
16, used by the Hammersmith & City Line of the London
Platforms 6 and 7 are dedicated to the Heathrow Express, and
platforms 13 and 14 can only be used by the 2 or 3 car Turbo trains
used on local services. All the other platforms can be used by any
of the station's train services. However in normal usage the
tendency is for long distance trains to use the western platforms,
and local trains (including Heathrow Connect) the eastern
The station concourse stretches across the head of platforms 1 to
12, underneath the London end of the four main train sheds.
Platforms 13 and 14 can be reached directly from the country end of
platform 12, or from the footbridge which crosses the country end
of the station and gives access to all platforms.
The area between the back of the Great Western Hotel and the
station concourse is traditionally called The Lawn. It was
originally unroofed and occupied by sidings, but was later built up
to form part of the station's first pedestrian concourse. The Lawn
has recently been reroofed and separated from the concourse by a
glass screen wall. It is now surrounded by shops and cafes on
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