Tuesday, December 21, 2010

London Paddington

Paddington railway station, also known as London Paddington, is a central London railway terminus and London Underground station complex in the Paddington area of London, England.

The site is a historic one, having served as the London terminus of the Great Western Railway and its successors since 1838. Much of the current mainline station dates from 1854, and was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The site was first served by Underground trains in 1863, and was the original western terminus of the Metropolitan Railway, the world's first underground railway.

The complex has recently been modernised, and now has an additional role as the London terminal for the dedicated Heathrow Express airport service. Paddington is in Travelcard Zone 1.
The main Paddington station between Bishops Bridge Road and Praed Street was designed by Brunel, who was later commemorated by a statue on the station concourse (it has since been moved to Platform 1, by the exit to the taxi rank), although much of the architectural detailing was by his associate Matthew Digby Wyatt. The station opened on 29 May 1854. The glazed roof is supported by wrought iron arches in three spans, respectively spanning 68 feet (21 m), 102 feet (31 m) and 70 feet (21 m). The roof is 699 feet (210 m) long, and the original roof spans had two transepts connecting the three spans. It is commonly believed that these were provided by Brunel to accommodate traversers to carry coaches between the tracks within the station. However recent research, using early documents and photographs, does not seem to support this belief, and their actual purpose is unknown.
The Great Western Hotel was built on Praed Street in front of the station in 1851-1854 by architect Philip Charles Hardwick, son of Philip Hardwick (designer of the Euston Arch). The station was substantially enlarged in 1906-1915 and a fourth span of 109 feet (33 m) was added on the north side, parallel to the others. The new span was built in a similar style to the original three spans, but the detailing is different and it does not possess the transepts of the earlier spans.
On Armistice Day 1922, a memorial to the employees of the GWR who died during the First World War was unveiled by Viscount Churchill. The bronze memorial, depicting a soldier reading a letter, was sculpted by Charles Sargeant Jagger and stands on platform 1.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Are there any Paddington hotels in the vicinity of the station?