This Day in History: Paddington Bear First Appeared on Oct. 13, 1958

Paddington Bear

Paddington Bear is a fictional character in children’s literature. He first appeared on 13 October 1958 and was subsequently featured in more than twenty books written by Michael Bond and first illustrated by Peggy Fortnum. The polite immigrant bear from darkest Peru, with his old hat, battered suitcase (complete with a secret compartment, enabling it to hold more items than it would at first appear), duffle coat and love of marmalade sandwiches has become a classic character from English children’s literature.[1]

Paddington books have been translated into 30 languages across 70 titles and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. Over 265 licences, making thousands of different products across the United Kingdom, Europe, United States, Southeast Asia, Japan, Canada, Australia and South Africa all benefit from the universal recognition of Paddington Bear.[2]

Paddington is an anthropomorphised bear. He is always polite—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. He has an endless capacity for getting into trouble, but he is known to “try so hard to get things right”. He is an adopted member of the (human) Brown family and thus gives his full name as “Paddington Brown”.


Michael Bond based Paddington Bear on a lone teddy bear which he noticed on a shelf in a London store near Paddington Station on Christmas Eve 1956, which he bought as a present for his wife. The bear inspired Bond to write a story, and in 10 days he had written the first book. The book was given to his agent, Harvey Unna. A Bear Called Paddington was first published on 13 October 1958 by William Collins & Sons (now Harper Collins).[3][4]

Stuffed toy
The first Paddington Bear stuffed toy to be manufactured was created in 1972 by Gabrielle Designs, a small business run by Shirley and Eddie Clarkson, with the prototype made as a Christmas present for their children Joanna and Jeremy (who later became a well-known British TV presenter and writer). Shirley Clarkson dressed the stuffed bear in Wellington boots to help it stand upright. (Paddington received wellingtons for Christmas in Paddington Marches On, 1964.) The earliest bears wore small children’s boots manufactured by Dunlop until production could not meet demand. Gabrielle Designs then produced their own boots with paw prints moulded into the soles.

Shirley Clarkson’s book[5] describes the evolution of the toy Paddington from Christmas gift to subject of litigation and ultimately commercial success.

In the first story, Paddington is found at Paddington Railway Station in London by the Brown family, 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.[6]

Paddington arrives 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)[7] 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. Paddington’s Peruvian name is ultimately revealed to be “Pastuso” (not to be confused with his “Uncle Pastuzo”). 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, home of the spectacled bear.[8]

They take him home to 32 Windsor Gardens, off Harrow Road between Notting Hill and Maida Vale (there is no number 32 in the real Windsor Gardens). Paddington frequents the nearby Portobello Road markets, where he is respected by the shopkeepers for driving a very hard bargain. When he gets annoyed with someone, he often gives them one of his special “hard stares” (taught to him by Aunt Lucy), which causes the person to become flushed and embarrassed.

The stories follow Paddington’s adventures and mishaps in England, along with some snippets of information about his past. For instance, in one story we learn that Paddington was orphaned in an earthquake, before being taken in and raised by his Aunt Lucy.

There is a recurring cast of characters, all of whom are in some way entangled in Paddington’s misadventures. These include:

Mr. Henry Brown: A hapless but friendly City of London worker.
Mrs. Mary Brown: Mr Brown’s more serious-minded yet friendly wife.
Jonathan and Judy: The energetic and friendly Brown children. It is never established if one is older than the other, leading to the perception that they are twins.
Mrs. Bird: The Browns’ stern, but ultimately friendly, nanny and housekeeper. Though she is often annoyed by Paddington’s mishaps, she is very protective of him.
Mr. Gruber: The very friendly owner of an antique shop on the Portobello Road, with whom Paddington has his elevenses every day. He regularly takes Paddington and the Brown children on outings. He is a Hungarian immigrant. He addresses Paddington as “Mr. Brown”.
Mr. Curry: The Browns’ mean and bad-tempered next-door neighbour, who serves as a contrast to Mr Gruber. He addresses Paddington simply as “Bear!” He always wants something for nothing, and therefore often persuades Paddington to run errands for him, and invites himself to many of the Browns’ special occasions just to sample the snacks. He gets his comeuppance as a frequent victim of Paddington’s misadventures.
Aunt Lucy: Paddington’s aunt from South America. She was his former legal guardian up until she had to move into the Home for Retired Bears.
Uncle Pastuzo: Paddington’s wealthy globe-trotting uncle.

The first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was published in 1958. Although the books are divided into chapters and each book has a time frame, the stories all work as stand alone stories, and many of them were used like this in the TV series. In order of publication the titles are:[9]

A Bear Called Paddington (1958)

The stories in the first book in the series are:
Please Look After This Bear – The Browns first meet Paddington at Paddington station.
A Bear in Hot Water – Paddington’s first attempt at having a bath is a disaster.
Paddington Goes Underground – Paddington’s first journey on the Underground causes chaos.
A Shopping Expedition – Paddington gets lost during a shopping trip.
Paddington and “The Old Master” – This story introduces Mr Gruber. After hearing Mr Gruber talk about painting, Paddington decides to try his hand at it himself.
A Visit To the Theatre – Paddington goes to see a play with the Browns.
Adventure at the Seaside – Paddington takes part in a sandcastle competition.
A Disappearing Trick – Paddington receives a magic set for his first birthday with the Browns. This story introduces Mr. Curry.
More About Paddington (1959)

The stories in the second book in the series are:
A Family Group – Paddington takes a family photo of the Browns.
A Spot of Decorating – Paddington tries to help Mr. Brown by decorating his room whilst the family are out.
Paddington Turns Detective – Paddington investigates the disappearance of Mr. Brown’s prize marrow.
Paddington and the Bonfire – The Browns hold a bonfire party at No. 32 Windsor Gardens.
Trouble at No.32 – Paddington catches a nasty chill when a winter prank goes disastrously wrong.
Paddington and the Christmas Shopping – Paddington buys presents for the Brown family.
Christmas – Paddington enjoys his first Christmas with the Browns
Paddington Helps Out (1960)

The stories in the third book in the series are:
A Picnic On The River – Paddington gets more than he bargained for when the Browns hire a boat for a day on the river.
Paddington Makes A Bid – Mr Gruber takes Paddington to an auction sale.
Paddington and “Do It Yourself” – After reading a DIY magazine, Paddington tries to make presents for Mr Brown and (reluctantly) Mr Curry.
A Visit To The Cinema – The Browns go to see a cowboy film. When the special attraction is cancelled, Paddington comes to the rescue.
Trouble At The Launderette – A reluctant Paddington takes Mr Curry’s laundry to be cleaned.
Paddington Dines Out – The Browns organise a special meal for Paddington’s birthday.
Paddington Abroad (1961)

The stories in the fourth book in the series are:
Paddington Prepares – Mr Brown announces a holiday in France.
A Visit to the Bank – A misunderstanding causes uproar at the bank.
Trouble at the Airport – Airport officials suspect Paddington is travelling without a passport.
Paddington Saves the Day – The Browns’ car gets a puncture and Mr. Brown organises an al-fresco meal.
Paddington and the “Pardon” – Paddington takes part in a local festival.
A Spot of Fishing – The Browns and Paddington go on a fishing trip and get marooned.
Paddington Takes to the Road – Paddington participates in the Tour de France.
Paddington at Large (1962)
Paddington Marches On (1964)[10]

Paddington and the Cold Snap
A Most Unusual Ceremony
Paddington Makes a Clean Sweep
Mr Gruber′s Mystery Tour
Paddington Saves the Day
A Day by the Sea
An Unexpected Party
Paddington at Work (1966)
Paddington Goes to Town (1968)[11]

A Day to Remember
Paddington Hits Out
A Visit to the Hospital
Paddington Finds a Cure
Paddington and the “Finishing Touch”
Everything Comes to Those Who Wait
Paddington Goes to Town
Paddington Takes the Air (1970)[12]

A Visit to the Dentist
A Stitch in Time
Riding High
Paddington Stikes a Bargain
The Case of the Doubtful Dummy
Paddington Recommended
The Last Dance
Paddington’s Garden (1972)
Paddington’s Blue Peter Story Book (1973)
Paddington on Top (1974)
Paddington at the Tower (1975)
Paddington Takes the Test (1979)
Paddington on Screen (1980)
Paddington at the Zoo (1984)
Paddington at the Palace (1986)
Paddington in the Garden (2002)
Paddington and the Grand Tour (2003)
Paddington at the Tower (2011)
Paddington Goes for Gold (2012)

Special publications
Paddington Rules the Waves (2008) A £1 World Book Day Book[13]
Paddington Here and Now (2008) Published as part of the series’ 50th anniversary celebrations.[14][15][16]
Paddington’s Cookery Book (2011)
Blue Peter and beyond
Author Michael Bond was also a BBC TV cameraman who worked on the popular children’s television programme Blue Peter. After this was revealed in 1965, a special Paddington story—in which he got mixed up in the programme itself—appeared in the Blue Peter Annuals for many years. They were collected in the novel-length Paddington’s Blue Peter Story Book in 1973. A second book based around Blue Peter was titled Paddington on Screen.

The BBC television series Paddington, produced by Michael Bond and London-based animation company FilmFair, was first broadcast in 1975. The storylines were based on comedic incidents from the books, chosen to appeal to the TV audience which included much younger children than those the books were written for. This series had an extremely distinctive appearance: Paddington was a stop-motion puppet moving in a three dimensional space in front of two-dimensional backgrounds (which were frequently sparse black-and-white line drawings), while all other characters were 2D drawings. In one scene, Mr. Brown is seen to hand Paddington a jar of marmalade that becomes 3D when Paddington touches it. Animator Ivor Wood also worked on The Magic Roundabout and Postman Pat. The series was narrated by Michael Hordern. In the United States, episodes aired on PBS, on the syndicated series Romper Room, on Nickelodeon as a segment on the program Pinwheel and on USA Network as a segment on the Calliope (TV series) in the late 1970s and early 1980s, as well as in between preschool programming on the Disney Channel throughout the 1990s. The series also aired on HBO in between features, usually when they were airing children’s programmes. The series won a silver medal at the New York Film and Television Festival in 1979—the first British animated series to do so.

Paddington Bear’s 1989 television series was the first by a North American company, Hanna-Barbera. This series was traditional two-dimensional animation and featured veteran voice actor Charlie Adler as Paddington and Tim Curry as Mr. Curry. The character of an American boy named David, Jonathan and Judy Brown’s cousin who arrived in London on the same day as Paddington, was added to the stories in the 1989 cartoon.

The most recent series, produced by Cinar Films, was first broadcast in 1997 and consisted of traditional two-dimensional colour animation. The show was called The Adventures of Paddington Bear.

Paddington Bear also appeared in The Official BBC Children in Need Medley with Peter Kay along with several other animated characters. In the video, Paddington makes a grand appearance by winking at the cameramen when they take photos of him; Kay tries to put a cloak on Paddington, but it keeps sliding off. He also joins the rest of the group for the final act.

Home media
In 2011, Mill Creek Entertainment under the license of Cookie Jar Entertainment, released the complete original 1975 Paddington Bear series on DVD. The 3-disc set also featured three half-hour television specials, “Paddington Birthday Bonanza”, “Paddington Goes To School” and “Paddington Goes To The Movies” along with 15 bonus episodes of The Wombles and Huxley Pig. It also had special features for children on DVD-ROM.

Film adaptation

In September 2007, Warner Bros. and producer David Heyman announced a live action film adaptation of Paddington Bear. Hamish McColl, who penned Mr Bean’s Holiday, will write the script. The film will not be an adaptation of an existing story, but “will draw inspiration from the whole series” and will feature a computer generated Paddington Bear interacting with a live-action environment. [17]

On 25 June 2012, an official teaser poster was released for the film.[18] It states that the film will be released sometime during 2014.

In popular culture
Paddington Bear features in the Marmite UK TV advertisement (first broadcast on 13 September 2007),[19] in which he tries a marmite and cheese sandwich instead of his traditional marmalade sandwich.[20]

Paddington was featured on the Royal Mail 1st class stamp in the Animal Tales series released on 10 January 2006, and had previously been featured on one of the 1st class Greetings Messages stamps, released on 1 February 1994.

On 13 October 2008, Google celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first Paddington publication by placing an image of the travelling bear with a sign showing Peru and London incorporated into Google’s logo.[21]



  • Bond, Michael; and, Ash, Russell (1988). The Life and Times of Paddington BearLondon: Pavilion. ISBN 978-1-85145-286-6. OCLC 59889284.
  • Pfeffer, Susan Beth (1999). Who were They Really?: The True Stories behind Famous CharactersBrookfield, CN:Millbrook Press. ISBN 978-0-585-24808-0. OCLC 40230491.
  • Sheridan, Simon (2004). The A to Z of Classic Children’s TelevisionLondon: Reynolds & Hearn. ISBN 1-903111-27-7.OCLC 56448513.


  1. ^ Happy birthday little bear – Sunderland Echo
  2. ^ Paddington brand
  3. ^ Paddington returns to his station as children’s favouriteAndy McSmithThe Independent, 24 May 2008
  4. ^ Paddington bear celebrates 50th birthdayJack RileyThe Independent, 13 October 2008
  5. ^ Shirley Clarkson, Bearly Believable: My Part in the Paddington Bear StoryHarriman House Publishing, 23 June 2008ISBN 978-1-905641-72-7
  6. ^ [1] Icons of England – Paddington Bear. Accessed 2008-07-12
  7. ^ Michael Bond, ‘Paddington Here and Now’, Harper Collins, London 2008 ISBN 978-0-00-726940-2
  8. ^ Michael Bond and R.W. Alley’s Paddington Bear
  9. ^ The Books
  10. ^ ISBN 0-395-06642-5 published by Houghton Mifflin Company
  11. ^ ISBN 0-395-06635-2 1968 published by Houghton Mifflin Company
  12. ^ ISBN 0-618-33141-7 First American edition published 1970 by Houghton Mifflin Company
  13. ^ World Book and Copyright Day
  14. ^ “Paddington Bear’s birthday book”BBC News. 8 December 2007Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  15. ^ Paddington Bear: a welcome immigrant – Daniel Hannan, Daily Telegraph. Accessed 2008-07-12.
  16. ^ Houghton Mifflin company 1999.
  17. ^ Adam Dawtrey (2007-09-13). “‘WB bears down on ‘Paddington’ film”VarietyRetrieved 2007-09-14.
  18. ^ Semlyen, Phil de (25 June 2012). “New Paddington Bear Teaser Poster”Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  19. ^ Paddington Stars in a New Series of Marmite Ads
  20. ^ Sweney, Mark (2007-09-12). “Paddington gets taste for Marmite”London: 2007-09-13.
  21. ^ Paddington image at google

One thought on “This Day in History: Paddington Bear First Appeared on Oct. 13, 1958

  1. Bearly believable “think” again!
    Most appreciative of this article and a childhood still residing and it’s known now that this took on an entirely new perspective of what this reality actually is. While wonders never cease astonishing most of us.
    With gossamers thread from the Dao of Pooh for it bares a faint resemblance of A.A. Milne.
    So lays an old worn teddy bear who is purposly dis’ played covering his face with his paws. Laying upon a pillow on the bed, along majestic visions of lollipops dances through my heart yet was buried in what may seem forever ago.
    This brought a belly full of some laughter “Oh the Boy’s n’Berries jam” and quite often while in Barrie is a laid development which is repressed. Still it’s effects have an everlasting love when our eyes engaged our souls are bear”
    In Awe Hollyn suddenly appears with One-Way Conversations~


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