With over two millennia of history behind it, London has been home to plenty of famous inhabitants over the years, and the beautiful neighbourhood of Paddington has seen its fair share of notable residents.
From iconic children’s characters to inspiring artists, ground-breaking scientists and important actors, Paddington has been home to them all. Read on to find out about some of the area’s most celebrated residents from the past and present.
Though the Peruvian bear might only be a fictional character, he has captured the spirit of Paddington for over 60 years. A stowaway who was discovered in Paddington Station, Paddington Bear became a beloved character of the children’s books by Michael Bond, when he first emerged in 1958 and has stayed in the popular imagination over the years, through countless books, animated versions, and even a big-screen rendition.
If you’re staying in hotels close to Paddington Station, you’ll have the chance to check out the statue commemorating Paddington Bear, right in the heart of the station itself.
The celebrated Victorian poet, Robert Browning, made Paddington his home through much of the late 19th century, living at the juncture of the two main canals in the city.
While the neighbourhood might be a little more upmarket and refined than the Paddington Browning knew in his time, it still remains as compelling as it was, back in his day.
Grandson of the famous psychiatrist, the artist Lucien Freud moved to Britain in 1933 and studied at Goldsmiths College in London. As his career as an artist progressed over the years, he became most well known for his portraits, which would bring the subject to life with enormous paintings, often larger than life.
Freud painted several notable people over his 60-year long career, including other important artists at the time, as well as the supermodel Kate Moss, and even the Queen herself. For guests staying at The Chilworth Paddington, one of the best places to check out his work in London is the Tate Modern, where you’ll find a great collection of work by Freud and his contemporaries.
The explorer Edward Wilson, is better known for his part in the doomed expedition to the Antarctic, alongside Captain Robert Scott. But before he picked up his ice-trekking boots, Wilson lived in Paddington accommodation where he used to practice as a doctor.
But it was his experience as a doctor that took him on the expedition in the first place, as he accompanied the team as their junior surgeon and artist. After an initial expedition in 1901 to the Antarctic, he set out once again with Scott in 1910, but the difficult winter journey the following year led to them being trapped by blizzards, exhausted and unwell. While they reached the pole in 1912, the return journey proved to be too much, and the team’s bodies were sadly discovered in November that year.
Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte
Paddington has been home to all kinds of notable figures, including one of Napoleon’s own nephews. Though the Prince was born in England, he spent much of his youth in Italy and France, before moving to London in the mid 19th century. He was passionate about language and politics, making his name in the study of linguistics and dialects.
Staying in hotels close to Paddington Station means you’re in prime position to explore more of London’s rich and fascinating history, with many of the city’s most renowned museums just a short train ride away. To find out more about the history of the city itself, and some of its incredible inhabitants, check out the Museum of London, which tells the story of London from the prehistoric era, through to the modern-day.
Born in Paddington in 1959, the award-winning actress is one of the UK’s finest, and you can always be sure of getting an outstanding and inspiring performance, whenever she features in a film or TV production.
With a string of Academy and BAFTA awards to her name, she’s still a London resident. As well as being a fantastic actress, you’ll also see her regularly campaigning and speaking up about important social and environmental issues, including on human rights and environmentalism.
Currently starring in several big-screen productions, you can often find her latest films at local cinemas. For guests staying in accommodation in Paddington, you can find some fantastic local theatres and cinemas to catch her most recent movies on the silver screen.
Paddington has been the birthplace for many of London’s finest athletes and sports stars, and the former renowned footballer, Les Ferdinand, had an impressive career before retiring and becoming a coach.
Ferdinand was awarded an MBE in 2005, and was the eighth-highest scorer in the Premier League, with 149 goals to his name. As a striker, he played for several teams, including Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Queens Park Rangers, for whom he now works as a Director of Football.
Sir Alec Guinness
One of the most renowned British actors of the twentieth century, Sir Guinness was born in Paddington in 1914 and started his career as an actor early on in life. Beginning as a stage actor, he honed his craft in Shakespeare, alongside other contemporary greats including Laurence Olivier. After World War II, he made the shift from stage to screen, immediately becoming a blockbuster star.
Guinness won several awards over his lifetime, including Academy Awards, BAFTAs, and Golden Globes, as well as being given his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. In 1959, he was given a knighthood, in recognition for his services to the arts, and he continued to star as a notable actor, most famously as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars trilogy.