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We move along from Bayswater now, up to Paddington. The Circle line section is in very similar architecture to what we have seen before, with very clean, simple arches extending the length of the platform.
Technically speaking, there are in fact two underground stations, at some distance walk from each other, through the railway station of the same name, but since the other station includes the likes of the Hammersmith & City line we need not concern ourselves with it. What the unwary traveller does need to be aware of, however, is that it is at this point that we see a problem with the Circle line. Since 2009 it has not been possible to undertake a full circle, simply by sitting on one train, due to the extension of the line out towards Ladbroke Grove. It is now necessary to change trains. A departure with which we do not hold (and up with which we shall not put).
Since we are at Paddington, it would make sense to have a look at our place of interest, which is the train station of Paddington itself: a remarkable building, executed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who built the earliest parts in 1854 as the terminus for the Great Western Railway (AKA God’s Wonderful Railway). It is a truly majestic building, with great vaulting and sweeping arches across the width of the platform.
The most famous visitor to Paddington is without doubt the bear who bears the stations name: Paddington Bear, discovered by the Brown family, he having just got off the train from deepest darkest Peru. He also bore a label, by an unknown hand, bearing the legend “please look after this bear. Thank you.” This, together with an almost insatiable desire for marmalade sandwiches, and his ability to drive a hard bargain up the Portobello Road (thanks to the help of his “hard stares”, have made Paddington one of the most enduring children’s characters of the 20th century.
Stepping outside the station, we go in search of the G.E. Street church St. James the Less. A very rare dedication (he’s a very discreet saint), and a most discreet church as well (even Betjeman is silent on the place), located, with a dramatic elevation in the middles of Sussex Gardens, so we shall leave it with a couple of photographs, and see what our readers might know themselves.
All change please.