The Life and Times of Paddington Bear
The famous Paddington Bear character was found 53 years ago at Paddington Station in London with a tag around his neck that simply read, “PLEASE LOOK AFTER THIS BEAR THANK YOU”. The Brown family found the lost little teddy bear and named him Paddington after the train station. They adopted him immediately and took him home to live with them. The Browns have never been the same since they adopted the precocious Paddington Bear. (* All these events are captured in the first TV episode, which you can see at the bottom of this post).
Paddington’s Humble Beginnings
The original creator of the imaginative story of Paddington Bear, Michael Bond, wrote the book, “A Bear Called Paddington” in 1958 and it was awarded the best book of the year for children. The inspiration for the book was a forlorn teddy bear sitting all alone on a shelf in Selfridges Department Store in London where Michael sought shelter from a snow storm. He purchased the bear as a present for his wife and named the bear “Paddington” for the train station nearby.
Originally, Michael wanted Paddington to be born in Africa until the publishers pointed out that there are no bears in Africa, so Paddington’s birthplace was changed to Peru. Paddington Bear ended up in London after his old Aunt Lucy became too old to care for the young bear properly and she sent him to London with the message around his neck hoping that someone would see the little bear and want to adopt him.
Michael Bond not only patterned his stories after his own Paddington, but the Browns in the story bore a slight resemblance to the Bonds. The first book written with Paddington Bear as the main character led to six more collections between 1968 and 1981. Peggy Fortnum illustrated the first book and several of the subsequent books in pen and ink drawings. She modeled Paddington after a Malayan bear living at the London Zoo.
Paddington Bear was a curious teddy bear. The busy city of London is so different from dark Peru. What most Londoners take for granted is pure fascination for Paddington Bear. His observations of life in general have endeared him to fans all over the globe. Paddington Bear is far from naive as he shows wisdom beyond his years after being raised by his matronly Aunt Lucy.
Paddington Bear stuffed teddy bears and other memorabilia became popular when he became the star of his TV series in 1972. He wears a floppy bush hat, a blue coat and wellington boots. Other fashionable garments were added to his wardrobe in later years. The original Paddington Bears are collector’s items.
Facts You Should Know About Paddington Bear
- Paddington was born “Pastuso” in Peru.
- He has two birthdays: June 25 and December 25.
- Paddington loves marmalade and keeps a jar under his old flop hat in case of shortages.
- He arrived in London by sailboat.
- Paddington turned 53 years old on June 25 and Michael Bond turned 85 on January 13.
- The very polite Paddington addresses everyone as “Mr,” “Mrs,” or “Miss.”
- He is never seen without his bush hat, given to him by his uncle in Peru.
Paddington the Beloved Celebrity
The most beloved teddy bear for the past 53 years has starred in his own TV show, movies and books. He and Michael have published nearly 35 million books translated into 40 languages. Who would have thought that bringing home a lonely little teddy bear named Paddington Bear would introduce a teddy bear to the world that children today still love and want to adopt to come live with them.
You can visit the official Paddington Bear website here.
And here is the very first episode of the 1975 original TV series, titled “Paddington – Please look after this bear.”, enjoy!