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Paddington Station
Praed Street, Paddington, London, UK
Paddington Station
associated engineer
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
date  16th January 1854
era  Victorian  |  category  Building  |  reference  TQ265814
ICE reference number  HEW 301
photo  institution of Civil Engineers
Isambard Kingdom Brunel's magnificent station of cast and wrought iron and glass, designed to serve his broad gauge railway. The picture was taken in 1944. Brunel was the engineer for the Great Western Railway, for which Paddington was the London terminus. The GWR reached Bristol in 1841.
The first terminus at Paddington, also by Brunel, was a temporary timber structure sited to the north-west that utilized the arches of the Bishop's Road bridge. It came into use on 4th June 1838 and Queen Victoria alighted there after her first train journey, from Slough, in 1842.
This terminal was replaced by 1854 with the graceful soaring train shed we can see today. It is thought that Brunel was influenced by Paxton's Crystal Palace in its design. Indeed, both his collaborators, the architect Matthew Digby Wyatt and the contractors Fox Henderson, were involved in the realization of Paxton's Great Exhibition project.
Certainly Paddington Station was meant as a grand statement, a showcase of technical innovation. It was also planned to out-do the Great Northern Railway's London terminus: Euston.
When built the train shed had three parallel semi-elliptical spans of 69ft 7in, 102ft 6in and 68ft, plus two smaller side spans of 50ft each: a total of 700ft of spanned width. A fourth main span, made of steel, was added 1915-16.
The roofs of the three original spans are made of wrought iron arch ribs with glass and corrugated iron, supported on slender columns of cast iron. When the fourth span was added, work began on replacing the columns with steel ones, a project that was not completed until 1924. One or two originals remain.
For lateral stability the train shed uses the station building along the south-west frontage and is propped back to the road embankment to the northeast. Longitudinal stability is provide by cross-bracing between the arches.
In the second half of the 20th century the cladding and glazing were successively replaced, in ways sympatheic to the original. Extensive repairs and strengthening were undertaken in the 1990s.
Architect: Matthew Digby Wyatt (ornamentation)
Contractor: Fox Henderson & Co. (train shed)
reference sources   CEH LonIKBcatIKBOSH
Location

Paddington Station