Happy 50th Anniversary Paddington!
Fifty years ago today, on 13th October 1958, "A Bear Called Paddington" was first published. in the United Kingdom.
To celebrate his 50th anniversary today, Paddington himself is taking a tour of London in a black cab. Oh to be in London today...or any day for that matter!
Paddington Bear is a very popular character in children's literature.
He has been featured in several books, most recently in 2008, written by Michael Bond and first illustrated by Peggy Fortnum.
The polite immigrant bear from Darkest Peru, with his old bush hat, battered suitcase and marmalade sandwiches has become a classic English children's literature icon. Paddington books have been translated into thirty languages across seventy titles and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. Paddington is always polite (always addressing people as "Mr.", "Mrs." and "Miss" and very rarely by first names) and well-meaning (Though he inflicts hard stares on those who incur his disapproval, something taught to him by his Aunt Lucy.), likes marmalade sandwiches and cocoa, and has an endless capacity for getting into trouble. However, he is known to "try so hard to get things right".
Mr. Bond based Paddington Bear on a lone
teddy bear he noticed on a shelf in a London store near Paddington Station on Christmas Eve, 1956, which he bought as a gift for his wife. The bear inspired Mr. Bondto write a story, and in ten days, he had written the first book!
In the first story, Paddington is found at Paddington railway station in London, England by the Brown family. The bear is
sitting on his suitcase (bearing the label "WANTED ON VOYAGE") with a note attached to his coat which reads, "Please look after this bear. Thank you." Bond has said that his memories of newsreels showing trainloads of child evacuees
leaving London during the war, with labels around their necks and their possessions in small suitcases, prompted him to do the same for Paddington. He has arrived as a stowaway coming from "Darkest Peru", sent by his Aunt Lucy (one of his only known relatives, aside from an Uncle Pastuzo who gave Paddington his hat, who has gone to live in the Home for Retired Bears in Lima. He claims, "I came all the way in a lifeboat, and ate marmalade. Bears like marmalade." He tells them that no one can understand his Peruvian name, so the Browns decide to call him Paddington after the railway station in which he was found. Bond originally wanted Paddington to have "travelled all the way from darkest Africa", but his agent advised him that there were no bears in darkest Africa, and thus it was amended to darkest Peru! The Browns take him home to 32 Windsor Gardens, off Harrow Road between Notting Hill and Maida Vale.