Paddington was built as the terminus
of the Great Western Railway in 1850 - 54.
Its design was a collaboration
between Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Matthew Digby Wyatt.
The spectacular train shed has an iron girder roof with three-bays,
these have 189 decorative wrought iron ribs and are supported
by a cast-iron column every third rib.
When a fourth bay was added in
1916, in keeping with Brunel's originals, the iron columns
were replaced with steel stanchions.
Paddington is unusual in that
it does not have a principal exterior facade. In its
place is the Great Western Hotel, designed by P.C. Hardwick
and opened in the same year as the station. Brunel is
remembered by a seated statue that can be seen beside the
side entrance to platform 1.
Children all over the world know
the name of the station through the famous 'Paddington Bear'
created by Michael Bond.
An ambitious £63 million overhaul
has recently given Paddington Station a new lease of life.
The centrepiece of this scheme is 'The Lawn', an up-market
glass and steel area with cafés, shops and airline check-ins
desks for passengers using the Heathrow Express.
The area around the station is
also undergoing redevelopment and the Paddington Basin office
complex is being built on former railway land to the north
of the station