On Christmas Eve in 1956, Michael Bond saw a small toy bear left on a shelf in a London store. Feeling sorry for the bear, left alone, he purchased it as a gift for his wife and named it Paddington, as they lived near Paddington Station. For fun, he wrote some stories about the bear and after 10 days, Michael Bond realised that he had a book on his hands. Whilst not written specifically for children, he wrote about similar things to those he liked to read when he was young.
After being turned down by several publishers it was eventually accepted by William Collins and Sons (now Harper Collins). An illustrator was commissioned and on the 13th October 1958 the very first Paddington book, “A Bear Called Paddington’ was published. By 1965 there was a whole series of Paddington books. Since then, over thirty-five million Paddington books have been sold worldwide.
Since the first book was published and Paddington’s arrival in London, from Peru, his popularity has continued to grow. Found by Mr and Mrs Brown with his small suitcase, his old bush hat and a label around his neck with the words “Please Look After This Bear. Thank You.” How could they resist? They took him home to live with them.
Often found wearing his blue duffle coat (a gift from the Browns), Paddington is never seen without his old bush hat, a marmalade sandwich that he is oh-so-fond-of can usually be found tucked underneath, ‘in case of emergencies’. Whilst he often finds himself in sticky situations, with his good intentions and polite manners, there is something about Paddington that is loved by all.
The Steiff Paddington Bear collection pays homage to this marmalade-loving bear. From a plush Paddington waiting for adventures or a limited edition ornament, our Paddington Bear collection is just waiting to be explored.