📎 Audrey Watters: Paddington Bear was a refugee.
Bond created the character after buying a rather lonely looking teddy bear, so the story goes, and imagining what would happen if an unaccompanied bear turned up at a train station. At the time, Bond lived near Paddington Railway Station, which had been the site from which many London children were evacuated during World War II. Bond said that he had memories of those children with labels around their necks and all their possessions in a suitcase. And so Bond gave us a bear from Peru, found at Paddington Station by the Brown family, sitting on his suitcase with a note attached to his coat: “Please look after this bear. Thank you.” Paddington was a refugee, of sorts. He’d come all the way to London in a lifeboat, he told the Browns. He insisted hotly that did not make him a criminal. We should look after refugees, you know. We should take them in and feed them and care for them and protect them from unfriendly, prying neighbors.