Old Images of Paddington, London

Old picture of the view from Paddington Church to the first bridge over the canal published 1801

Glimpse history through old images of Paddington, City of Westminster, London England.

Paddington Recreation Ground (1930s)

In 1931, 57-year-old George Cummings, a veteran, walked 20 miles in 3 hours. He started with some whisky and soda, where we can see some of the buildings in the road beyond.

20 Miles In 3 Hours At 57 Years Of Age (1931) – British Pathé on YouTube

The in 1938, people at Paddington Recreation Ground enjoyed a display put on by Russian Cossacks stunt riders.

Cossacks perform on horseback at Paddington (1938) – British Pathé on YouTube

Bowling Tournaments

Bowling Tournament At Paddington (1937) – British Pathé on YouTube

Paddington Bowls Champs (1945) – British Pathé on YouTube

Wartime Salvage Centre (1941)

In 1941, during World War II, Queen Elizabeth, wife of King George VI and mother of the future Queen Elizabeth II, visited a salvage centre in Paddington. It was part of the war effort, as supply lines were now precarious.

She was accompanied by the Lord Mayor of Paddington, and lots of people came out to cheer her passing car. There’s a few glimpses of nearby buildings.

Queen Visits Salvage Centres (1941) – British Pathé on YouTube

48 Paddington Street (1940s)

In this ‘instructional’ film from the 1940s, the professor talks about the man’s lower jaw. Well, mine was already on the floor with the rude and arrogant attitudes this young man from Sri Lanka (at the time called Ceylon) had to endure from the opening scene onwards!

Teddy Willingdale (1953)

In 1953, a diver called Bram Martin, who was from Orpington, searched the Grand Union Canal for missing 6-year-old Teddy Willingdale. Local people watched on, including Teddy’s father.

We see a lot of the elegant buildings overlooking the water, and the canal bridge.

Divers Search For 6 Year Old Boy (1953) – British Pathé on YouTube

St Mary’s Medical School (1954)

A look at what was Britain’s argest medical training school included new technologies, which are now all routinely used today.

Roger Bannister (23 March 1929 – 3 March 2018), the first athlete to break the 4 minute mile, also appears in some of this footage.

Medical School (1954) – British Pathé on YouTube

Queen Mother Visits St. Mary’s Medical School Reel 1 (1954) – British Pathé on YouTube

Women’s Gym (1954)

20-year-old Mavis, who worked as a clerk, and Jean Elliot, a 20-year-old American housewife who had arrived in Britain two years previously, were both members of the women’s gym.

It was so unusual, the young women train barefoot or wearing small socks, even when lifing weights.

Girl Weight Lifters (1954) – British Pathé on YouTube

Little Venice (1959)

By the 1950s, as waterways turned from industrial to leisure use, the Paddington Canal Junction was quickly becoming known as Little Venice.

Little Venice (1959) – British Pathé on YouTube

Henrietta Watkins (1960)

74-year-old widow Mrs Henrietta Watkins had lived in her flat for 17 years, and the rent was now 14s 6d. a week.

But the historic terraces were being swept away for new offices. Everyone had moved out, the gas and electricity had been cut off, and there was no running water. Demolition was well underway in the street, but Mrs Watkins was stuggling along in slum conditions, waiting to be rehoused.

She’d asked Paddington Council to rehouse her, and they had informed her she had to apply to London County Council. It’s not clear why she didn’t do that.

What’s particularly interesting are the shots of the street as the old houses are about to disappear, along with the flat itself, which looked very primitive by modern standards even before the utilities were cut off.

Mrs Watkins Won’t Budge (1960)- British Pathé on YouTube

Little Venice (1963)

An item about people enjoying their sports on the water also captures lots of people and nearby streets and buildings.

‘venice’ In London (1963) – British Pathé on YouTube

One Mil Race Record Attempt (1964)

Footage includes Mike Wiggs, Derek Ibbotson, and Gordon Pirie.

Attempt On Record One Mile Race (1964) – British Pathé on YouTube

Dickens Restaurant (1964)

In the cellar of a Paddington pub was a restaurant based on the theme of Charles Dickens. It may have been called ‘Our Mutual Friend’.

The cast from the ‘Oliver!’ musical also make an appearance, in costume and stage makeup, joined by Lionel Bart himself.

Dickens Restaurant (1964) – British Pathé on YouTube

North Paddington Comprehensive School (1965)

In 1965, Queen Elizabeth II visited the North Paddington Comprehensive School, which had about 1,000 pupils. There were roughly equal numbers of male and female students, and about 200 children from families who had moved to Britain. Children joined at the age of 11, and could stay until the age of 18.

At the time, London had 75 Comprehensive Schools.

Royal Visit (1965)- British Pathé on YouTube

Paddington in the 70s

It’s surprising how empty the roads were in this film footage of Paddington in the 1970s.

Paddington (1970-1979) – British Pathé on YouTube

Paddington Green Police Station (1981)

On Saturday 10th October 1981, an explosion in Ebury Bridge Road killed two people.

On 5th November 1981, several people including four students from Middlesex Polytechnic were held at the police station in Harrow Road, in connection with investigations under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

5.11.81 BOMBS Eleven people are detained at the Paddington Green Police Station – Thames News on YouTube

Holy Trinity Church Demolition (1984)

On 16th August 1984, Thames News reported on the battle for a building site being created by the demolition of the Holy Trinity Church.

The Paddington Community Association wanted to use the site for old people’s flats, and a Housing Association had plans ready.

But the site was expected to fetch £1.5 million or more when put on the open market by the Church Commissioners. Another church nearby had been demolished and replaced by penthouse flats.

Holy Trinity | Paddington | Church Demolition | Demolition | Building site | TN-84-110-013 – Thames News on YouTube

Paddington Green Police Station (1986)

On 7th February 1986, 100 members of a Sikh Youth Federation picketed the Paddington Green Metropolitan Police Station at 2 & 4 Harrow Road, following the arrest of two young Sikh men under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

It followed the death of a man who was shot dead in his Southall shop, and the wounding of a second promient Sikh when he was blinded in one eye by a gunman.

Paddington green Police Station | Sikhs Arrested | Shooting | TN-86-025-014 – Thames News on YouTube

Dudley Arms (1987)

In 1987, John Allum walked from his home in Lancashire to London, in a quest to find work. The Dudley Arms at 147 Harrow Road took him on as a barman.

This short, silent footage shows John walking into the pub and pulling a pint behind the bar.

PUBS. – DUDLEY ARMS,Paddington. – Thames News on YouTube

St Mary’s Hospital in the 1980s

Shorts pieces of footage show various shots of the St Mary’s Hospital buildings, filmed for items about closures, the HIV virus, and

St Mary’s Hospital | Paddington | Aids information Leaflets | TN-86-180-011 – Thames News on YouTube

CLOSURES: St.Mary’s Hospital Paddington. – Thames News on YouTube


Beverley Hotel (1989)

On 3rd August 1989 at about 3pm, a explosion at Paddington’s Beverley Hotel killed a man and caused a fire. Guests and residents in nearby buildings were evacuated to a church hall overnight.

The reporting of the time is interesting, as it shows how different the politics of the time were. Commander George Churchill-Coleman, head of Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist squad, said the caualty was a Middle Eastern man killed by his own bomb, and reassured the public that it was not the start of an IRA bombing campaign but an isolated incident in connection with the Salman Rushie controversy.

The press descibed the dead man as an Arab, and the reporting didn’t seem to include his name or nationality, yet alone consider this form of religious extremism as a wider threat.

The news item interviews a number of local people, and there are a number of buildings shown.

Explosion Causes Fire in London | The Beverley Hotel (Paddington) | Thames News Archive Footage – Thames News on YouTube

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