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A Bear Called Paddington at Museum of London

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
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a bear called paddington, museum of london
A Bear Called Paddington Display


Notorious for having sticky paws, wearing a tatty old hat, keeping marmalade sandwiches under his hat, and causing (unintentional) mischief, you may not think at first to look at him that Paddington Bear is particularly cultured - but looks can be deceiving. Paddington is very polite, has a strong sense of right and wrong, and loves visiting new places and learning new things.

a bear called paddington, museum of london, peggy fornum


One of Paddington's latest adventures is a trip to the Museum of London, where he has taken up residence until the 4th January. Wherever Paddington goes, hew always draws attention, and this occasion is no different. Visitors can go to the Museum of London to admire, learn, and enjoy spending time with the most famous bear in London.

a bear called paddington, museum of london, paddington trail


The small display downstairs features various teddy bear designs, book covers, props, and the history of how he was brought to life by author Michael Bond. There is also a reading corner, where you can chill on some bean bags, read some of the Paddington Books, search through his suitcase of belongings, and enter a drawing competition.

a bear called paddington, museum of london, gabrielle designs


I enjoyed looking at all the different collectible bears on display, which included the original Gabriel Design version. I own one two Gabrielle Design bears, and this one looked exactly the same, only in much better condition.

a bear called paddington, museum of london
Translated Books


There was also a German-made bear (my favourite), and a Japanese-made bear. The first Japanese translation of A Bear Called Paddington was in 1965, and since then they have released tons of related merchandise, amongst which include a yoghurt drink and campsite.

a bear called paddington, museum of london


What I found most interesting was seeing the original puppet from 1975 stop motion television series. He was standing on a model of the 32 Windsor Gardens set. You can also see the cardboard cutouts use for the 2D characters in the show, and pages from the scripts.

a bear called paddington, museum of london


Paddington has been interpreted in many ways by different illustrators over the years, and you can compare their style in various published books.

a bear called paddington, museum of london, letters


Just like children send letters to Santa, children have also sent letters to Paddington, with the address 32 Windsor Gardens. Although they never reached Paddington, they did eventually reach Michael Bond.

a bear called paddington, museum of london, letters


A Bear Called Paddington exhibition is all part of the celebrations promoting the newly released movie, and so there is also a cabinet display of the hat and coat costume for the film. It does not actually appear in the film (that's CGI), but was used on a physical model for guidance.

a bear called paddington, museum of london, paddington trail, sherlock bear
Sherlock Bear


Last, but not least, before leaving, don't forget to go upstairs and find the which is part of the Paddington Trail. Sherlock Bear was designed by Benedict Cumberbatch.

As well as being able to browse the display, on the 29th & 30th November, The Museum of London will be holding Paddington's Picnic Weekend, which will be full of free family activities. You can listen to talks given by Michael Bond's daughter and Pablo Grillo, who will explain how he helped with the visual effects for the new movie. There will also be lots of craft activities and storytelling.
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Why? Learn about the history of Paddington Bear
When: Until 4th January
Phone: 020 7001 9844
Where: Museum of London
Cost: Free
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