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The Paddington Trail

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by Bastion 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
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Paddington trail, paddington bear, love paddington x, lulu guinness
Love Paddington X

To celebrate the release of the Paddington movie, which will be in cinemas from the 28th November, Visit London has commissioned fifty artists, celebrities, and organisations that design their own Paddington Bear statue. These statues have been dotted around London for people to hunt down. It is a chance to see famous landmarks, museums, parks, and shops visited by the capital's most loved bear after he was adopted by the Brown family when they found the stowaway on Paddington Station.

During the summer, there was a similar arts project called Books About Town, in which fifty benches were designed for a trail. The benches were then put on auction with the proceeds going to charity. The Paddington Trail lasts until the 30th December, after which they will be auctioned, with all the money going towards the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

With fifty bears to search for, it is more than can be done in just one day, so the trail has been divided into four. These include Paddington in Paddington, The Royal Parks, River and Historical London, and Christmas. The map of these trails can be downloaded from the website, but I would recommend taking an A-Z with you as well because I discovered that a lot of the road names are missing from the map, which isn't helpful when trying to orienteer your direction.

I decided to do the Paddington in Paddington Trail of three reasons:

1. Paddington Station is where it all began in 1958 when Michael Bond wrote first book in the series, A Bear Called Paddington.
2. This trail features statues one through eight, and the OCD in me likes to do things in the correct order.
3. It looked like the quickest trail to do (foolish me).

paddington trail, paddington bear, michael bond
Paddington by Michael Bond

I started my journey at the fitting location of Paddington Station, where the first statue can be found. Naturally the designer here is Michael Bond, with the traditional Paddington look.

Paddingtonscape by Hannah Warren is in Norfolk Square Gardens. Warren decided to paint Paddington like the big busy London he travels through.

paddington trail, paddington bear, futuristic robot bear, jonathan ross
Futuristic Robot Bear by Jonathan Ross

I then began my search of Futuristic Robot Bear by Jonathan Ross, and it was no easy task, I can tell you. I circled the area listed on the map at least three times, to no avail. After about half an hour I finally gave up. Maybe since it was a bear from the future, it did not exist yet. It was not until I had discovered two more bears that I actually then found the statue in a completely different place than stated on the map. According to the trail, he is on Merchant Square, North Wharf Road, in reality, he is by the canal, adjacent to Paddington-Underground. Trust Jonathan Ross to cause trouble.

paddington trail, paddington bear, brick bear, robin partington
Brick Bear by Robin Partington & Partners

Before this, I found Brick Bear, unsurprisingly made by Robin Partington from the construction company, European Land. It is supposed to represent the regeneration project of Merchant Square.

paddington trail, paddington bear, bearing up, taylor wimpey
Bearing Up by Taylor Wimpey

At first, Bearing Up by the Taylor Wimpey housebuilding company looks like a pretty uninspired bear, simply being painted completely blue. It is not until you take a closer look, however that you realised that it is not blue paint but blue felt (or like material), and represents the company's interior design for families.

paddington trail, mayor of paddington, Costain Skanska and The Paddington Partnership
Mayor of Paddington by Costain Skanska and The Paddington Partnership

Crossing St. Mary's Footbridge and making my way to the front of Paddington-Underground, I encountered my favourite bear of the trail. The Mayor of Paddington. Since the role no longer exists, I think it a fine idea for Paddington to take up the position. The costume definitely suits him.

paddington trail, paddington bear, texting bear, westminster academy
Texting Bear by Westminster Academy

On to Sheldon Square, I saw the patriotic colours of this statue from afar. At first I wondered why Westminster Academy's statue was called Texting Bear. Surely a more appropriate name would be Union Paddington? I then paid closer attention, and saw lots of speech bubbles and quotes from the books printed on him.

paddington trail, paddington bear, love paddington x, lulu guinness
Love Paddington X by Lulu Guinness

Last but not least was Love Paddington X by Lulu Guinness, who showed affection for the bear with her signature lipstick mark.
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Why? Entertaining treasure hunt
When: Until 30th Dec
Where: Across London
Cost: Free
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