On Christmas Eve 1956 cameraman Michael Bond purchased a teddy bear that was sat alone on a shelf in Selfridges. He named the bear Paddington after the station near his house and gave it to his wife as a present.
The purchase of this solitary teddy bear inspired him to write a number of short stories over the Christmas holiday. Over the coming months the stories were worked on and on 13th October 1958 the first book. ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ was published by Collins. In 1959 the book was rated the best children’s book of 1958.
The second Paddington book, ‘More About Paddington’ was published in September 1959 and the third book ‘Paddington Helps Out’ was published in 1960. Further books followed:
1961 – Paddington Abroad
1962 – Paddington at Large
1964 – Paddington Marches On
1966 – Paddington at Work
1970 – Paddington Takes the Air
1972 – Paddington’s Garden
1973 – Paddington’s Blue Peter Story Book
1974 – Paddington on Top
1975 – Paddington at the Tower
1979 – Paddington Takes the Test
1980 – Paddington on Screen
1984 – Paddington at the Zoo
1986 – Paddington at the Palace
2002 – Paddington in the Garden
2003 – Paddington and the Grand Tour
2008 – Paddington Here and Now
2011 – Paddington at the Tower
2012 – Paddington Races Ahead
2012 – Paddington Goes for Gold
2014 – Love from Paddington
In 1971, Shirley Clarkson made two toy Paddingtons for her children Joanna and Jeremy (who grew up to become famous as the controversial Top Gear Presenter). She formed a company to produce the toys and was the first licensee of the Paddington Bear brand. In 1975 Paddington was adapted for TV and was shown on BBC TV.
Paddington Bear remains popular to this day and in 2014 a new film ‘Paddington’ was released.