Paddington Station in London is one of Britain’s most splendid and historically significant railway termini, as the home and headquarters of the Great Western Railway, and as one of the masterpieces of its chief engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806–59).
Steven Brindle’s comprehensive history, the first full-length study of the station to be published, first appeared in 2004. Around the same time, in the course of research for the book, the author discovered Brunel’s earliest surviving cast-iron bridge, which spanned the Regent’s Canal just outside the station but had hitherto been unrecognised, just in time to prevent its destruction for a major new road bridge and negotiate its salvage by dismantling.
The second edition of the book, richly illustrated from a wealth of historic sources and now published in a larger format, has been updated to take account of a series of momentous recent developments at Paddington: the reprieve and restoration of the station’s Edwardian ‘fourth span’; the project to create a new entrance on its north side; and the impending redevelopment of its south side to serve as one of the principal stations on the new Crossrail route across London.
The book concludes with a detailed account of the project to rebuild the Bishop's Road Bridge project and the author’s discovery and salvage of Brunel’s iron canal bridge: a rare instance when writing the history of a historic place directly influenced its future, and led to the saving of a unique part of the past.
‘Read this book because it is about passion for Brunel, a celebrated engineer, and a celebration of Victorian and twentieth-century virtuosity of achievement.’
'The text has been revised and updated to include the recent refurbishment of the 1913-14 roof span at Paddington .... There is also an account of the virtual last-minute discovery of a cast iron canal bridge designed by Brunel in Bishops Bridge Road, hitherto concealed by brickwork until it was about to be demolished .... The numerous illustrations, a number of which are new, are excellently reproduced. Most of them have considerable historic value, which together with original drawings and plans, many in colour, combine to form an attractive book.'
Gordon Biddle, Railway & Canal Historical Society Journal
Railway & Canal Historical Society
Paddington ... is a detailed monograph, to be read not only by the railway historian, but by those interested in the built environment in general, in which railways ... are such an important ingredient.
Graham Kent, Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society