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Paddington Station Including the Lawn, Gwr Office Block on London Street and Offices Along Eastbourn, Westminster

Description: Paddington Station Including the Lawn, Gwr Office Block on London Street and Offices Along Eastbourn

Grade: I
Date Listed: 11 January 1961
English Heritage Building ID: 209557

OS Grid Reference: TQ2655781373
OS Grid Coordinates: 526557, 181373
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5171, -0.1774

Location: A4205, Paddington, Greater London W2 6LH

Locality: Westminster
County: Greater London
Country: England
Postcode: W2 6LH

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Listing Text

11-JAN-61 (Northeast side)
Paddington Station including The Lawn,
GWR office block on London Street and
offices along Eastbourne Terrace

(Formerly listed as:


Also Known As:
Paddington Station including The Lawn, GWR office block on London Street and off
ices along Eastbourne Terrace, LONDON STREET
Railway terminus station. 1851-4 with the addition of a fourth train shed in 1914-16 and other alterations and additions, mainly in the 1930s. By Isambard Kingdom Brunel (engineer), Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt (architect) and Sir Charles Fox (contractor), with assistance with the decoration by Owen Jones, for the Great Western Railway. The fourth shed was designed in-house by the GWR's New Works Engineer, W Armstrong. Added offices of 1881, early C20, 1933-4, c1965. 1930s work designed by PC Culverhouse, Chief Architect of the GWR. 1989-2001 restoration of the trainshed by Aukett Associates. 1999-2000 'Lawn' building by Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners.

EXTERIOR: The exterior of Paddington Station at the London end is completely hidden by the Great Western Royal Hotel (q.v.). This leaves a street fa├žade to Eastbourne Terrace along the south-west and an office block and the 1914-16 trainshed along the north-east side. The north-west, Bristol, end of the station is open.

Eastbourne Terrace Elevation: This elevation has buildings of several periods. From the London (south-east) end: 7 bays of the hotel (1851-3); A: 18 bays of GWR offices (1930-36); B: 7 bays of GWR offices (1881); C: 1960s rebuilding of World War II bomb damage; D: 26 bays; E: 17 bays; F: 2 bays; G: 10 bays; H: 17 bays; (all GWR 1851-4 except F and G which are early C20). They vary in storey height because of the falling ground and the depth of the cutting for the railway.

A: Built in two phases in the 1930s with the eight bays nearest the hotel being the second build (completed in 1936). They share the same cornice and roof lines although other architectural details differ. Probably designed by PC Culverhouse, Chief Architect of the GWR. Six storeys with attic and basement. NB This building is partly or wholly in hotel use and a fuller description is given under the separate listing of the Great Western Royal Hotel (q.v.).

B: This seven bay building, probably of 1881, is incomplete as it abuts the bomb-damaged area on the left. It has probably lost two bays. Of four storeys and attics it is of Portland stone with a Welsh slate roof and would seem to be inspired by the Whitehall Banqueting House.

C: A glass and steel two-storey 1960s structure which fills the gap in B and D caused by a parachute mine in 1941. This is not of special interest.

D: The next twenty-six bays are the survivors of a terrace of thirty-two bays, the right-hand end of which was lost in 1941. Of three storeys with an attic said to have been added c1930. The terrace is rendered, apart from the attic storey which is brick with stucco dressings. The first and second floors have had architectural detailing removed since World War II; chimneys have also gone. The ground floor by contrast has elaborate Victorian stucco decoration designed by Matthew Digby Wyatt on what was the principal original entrance to the main departure platform, Booking Office, First-Class Waiting Room, and for Royalty on the way to Windsor. To the front a light steel roof, post-World War II, over the cab-road (which also runs the length of C above). The roof is supported on the street side by a panelled brick wall topped by rusticated stone piers and elaborate cast-iron railings.

E: The next seventeen bays are set back but are otherwise much as D (above). At the left-hand end the first six bays of the ground floor are obscured by a tented glass and iron porte-cochere with a ridge and furrow roof added in the early C20 (see F below).

F and G: This block, although of similar character, appears to have been built in the early C20. It is taller, with five storeys and attics, although the first two bays have only four floors.

H: The final section of the terrace, reaching nearly to Bishop's Bridge, is of four storeys, the uppermost probably added in the early 1930s.

The north elevation facing the cab-road and London Street: following the hotel and its 1930s extension is a six-storey office block of 1933, probably steel framed, faced in artificial 'Victoria Patent' stone. This was designed by PC Culverhouse, Chief Architect of the GWR. The attic floor, which is blind, has giant Gill Sans bronze lettering G.W.R. PADDINGTON G.W.R., the second G.W.R. being on the return.

Opposite the station buildings is the panelled brick retaining wall of London Street, on the other side of the cab-road, which drops to the arched entrance of the span added to the 1854 trainshed in 1914-16. The arch is glazed and carries the arms of the GWR on its crown. The shed has a steel outside wall and is roofed in a patent tiling system with four glazed lights along the ridge.

A metal-sheeted rail depot (in 2008 operated by Red Star) which forms the north-west corner of the station is not of special interest. The structural deck beneath (fronting onto the raised section of London Street and covering the underground northernmost platforms) dating from 1906-14 is, however, of special interest and included in the listing.

The north-west (Bristol) end of the station reveals the glazed ends of the four sheds, their roofs of corrugated steel sheeting, corrugated glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) and glazing (the roofs were covered originally with corrugated iron, with ridge-and-furrow system glass along the ridge.) The 1916 screen is carried on a large steel lattice girder and the join between the plain steel arch of this span and the decorated iron arch of the 1854 span is of interest. All the platforms were extended in concrete out towards Bishop's Bridge in 1930-34 and given steel island canopies.

INTERIOR: The office range along Platform 1 and Eastbourne Terrace contained Royal, First and Second Class Waiting Rooms, the Rooms of the Board and Directors of GWR, as well as the Booking Office and Refreshment Rooms. Some of these uses still survive but the spaces have all been altered and divided up. There are several stone staircases with wrought iron balustrades. The frontage of these buildings to Platform 1 is single-storey and has an arcaded treatment as on the street facade, designed by Matthew Digby Wyatt. Features include a 5-bay open arcade through to the street with the centre carrying the fine three-faced station clock supported on elaborate brackets; the Stationmaster's balcony which is an elaborate triple oriel with arched openings and Moorish style ironwork; and the GWR War Memorial of polished granite and Portland stone designed by TS Tait, with a fine bronze figure of an infantryman by Charles Sarjeant Jagger. This is inscribed on the base 'In honour of those who served in the World Wars 1914-1918, 1939-1945. 25,479 men of the Great Western Railway joined His Majesty's forces, 2,254 gave their lives.'

Beyond the east end of the trainshed is an area traditionally called 'The Lawn', originally open, which was roofed over in 1933-4 and is now filled with a two-storey glass and steel envelope of 1998-2000 designed by Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners. Within this is the rear wall of the Great Western Royal Hotel (q.v.), which was given a new wing running across this elevation in 1936.

In the concourse to the south of the platforms are a number of late C20 kiosks; generally, these are not of special interest.

Roof structure: The roof is in four spans, three designed by Brunel and constructed 1852-4 (contractors Fox, Henderson and Co), with the fourth and largest added by the GWR in 1914-16. All were restored in the years either side of 2000. The five-centred arches are carried on hexagonal steel columns, which replaced the original cast-iron ones in 1916-24. Wrought-iron arches above have bolted-on decorative work in the Moorish style by Matthew Digby Wyatt and Owen Jones. The arches were originally untied; the curved wrought-iron ties were added in 1916. All were fully restored 1998-2000, including the Bristol end screens. The roof members are pierced by stars, planets and other shapes, these being both decorative and to assist with the fixing of scaffolding etc. The fourth (1916) span has been partly ceiled by a canvas awning of 2000 at the London end designed by Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners. Whilst of lesser historical or engineering significance than the C19 Brunel spans, the fourth span extension was carefully designed to complement the existing roof, is an impressive space in its own right, and forms an integral part of today's station. Another notable feature within this arch is the enormous steel and concrete (Hennibique) support for London Street above, when constructed the largest structure of its type.

HISTORY: Paddington station was first opened for the GWR in 1838 as a temporary terminus immediately to the west of Bishop's Bridge. This station was largely constructed of timber and used the arches of the bridge as the entries. The new station was built a quarter of a mile east of the old one in 1851-4 to the designs of the Company Engineer IK Brunel, with architectural assistance from MD Wyatt and for the decoration from Owen Jones. Trains began running (on Brunel's broad gauge tracks) in 1861. The last broad gauge one left it in 1892. Paddington had its first major addition in 1863 when the Metropolitan Railway's Hammersmith and City station was added on the north side. This station, originally called Bishop's Bridge, was enlarged in 1876 and later incorporated into mainline Paddington. Increase in traffic led to the quadrupling of the track out to Slough in 1879. In 1880 Paddington was lit by electricity for the first time, the first major London public building to be so illuminated, and this was permanent from 1886 using the GWR's own power station at Park Royal. A major programme of improvements of 1906-16 included rebuilding all ten of the approach over-bridges with large steel spans. That was finished in 1914, and meanwhile the fourth roof span was added to the north side of the station 1912-6. Following this the cast-iron columns supporting Brunel's roof were replaced with the present steel ones in 1922-4; those in the north cab-road had already gone in 1916. This work was designed by Company Engineer WW Grierson and erected by the Cleveland Bridge Company. A second major rebuilding programme of 1930-34 followed the Development (Loan Guarantees and Grants) Act of 1929, designed to alleviate unemployment. The works included the extension of the platforms, the construction of 'The Lawn' as a passenger concourse (now redeveloped again) and the building of two new office blocks and the extension of the hotel (q.v.). The station was badly damaged by bombing during World War II (see above) and not all this damage was made good. With the end of steam traction in the 1960s the station was cleaned up, and the concourse was enlarged in 1968-9 and again in the 1970s. The approach tracks were again re-laid and re-signalled in 1992-4 and at the same time the Brunel roof was progressively repaired and decorated. Finally 'The Lawn' building was demolished in 1999 and has been replaced by a larger and more attractive version designed by Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners (which also supervised the restoration of the end screens of the Brunel shed).

HR Hitchcock, Early Victorian Architecture (1954), 558-61
ET Macdermot, C R Clinker and O S Nock, History of the Great Western Railway, (three volume revised edition,1964-7)
AA Jackson, London's Termini (1972), 322-350
G Biddle, Victorian Stations (1973)
A Vaughan, The Pictorial History of Great Western Architecture (1977), 95-129
G Biddle and 0 S Nock, The Railway Heritage of Britain (1983), 213-21
G Biddle, Great Railway Stations of Britain (1986)
N Pevsner etc., The Buildings of England. London 3: North-West (1991)
J Simmons and G Biddle (eds), The Oxford Companion to British Railway History (1997)
S Brindle, Paddington Station: Its History and Architecture (2004)
Railway Heritage Trust, Annual Reports (1985-2000)

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: Paddington Station is designated at Grade I, for the following principal reasons:
* As one of the earliest major railway termini to survive in Britain, and an important component of the history of the Great Western Railway;
* As a major work by IK Brunel, the foremost engineer of the Victorian Age, in collaboration with Sir Charles Fox and Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt;
* For its outstanding architectural quality, a landmark in railway architecture;
* An historically significant exercise in large-scale wrought-iron construction and one of the major surviving works by Fox, Henderson & Company, one of the most important and innovative firms of iron constructors of the mid-C19;
* An important instance of ornament being developed specially for iron construction, by Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt in collaboration with IK Brunel;
* While of lesser historical and engineering significance than the Brunel spans, the 1914-16 Span 4 also has claims to interest and is included in the listing.


This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.