Paddington Station, Praed St, London W2

From: Cathedrals of Steam (2020), by Christian Wolmar:

“…Paddington has no magnificent facade; instead the grandeur was in the interior and particularly above, with the extraordinary roof that was in the style of the Crystal Palace, the centrepiece of the Great Exhibition. Brunel sketched out the design for an enormous iron and glass roof but left the decorative detail to (Matthew Digby) Wyatt who used patterns derived from traditional Moorish motifs to adorn the supporting columns and walls. Brunel had been so impressed by the Joseph Paxton-designed Crystal Palace, which had been installed initially on nearby Hyde Park, that he instructed Wyatt to use it as the basis for his design. The key, for Brunel, was that Paddington should be impressive as a gateway to the West but also remain functional. The Illustrated London News summed up its conception perfectly: ‘The principle adopted by them [Brunel and Wyatt] was to avoid any recurrence to existing style and to make the experiment of designing everything in accordance with the structural purpose, or nature of the materials employed – iron and cement.’

…Throughout the station, the detailing was wonderfully intricate and the much-praised colour scheme of brown and cream was retained by the Great Western throughout its existence and is still used today by the train company that has adopted the same name.”

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