Long before any improvements took place at Paddington station there was an unusual pedestrian route which crossed the tops of the station canopies in order to access the suburban platforms. This little known pedestrian access walkway has never been written about which is a shame.
I used this walkway regularly during the mid 1980s as a useful shortcut to the tube. Sadly I have no photos of it in use.
The remains of the public walkway before it was demolished. March 2010. Compare with below.
The old taxi road was closed and pedestrians directed to use that instead of the narrow walkway. It would be a number of years before the old taxi approach road gained the canopies that are seen today. At the same time, the remains of the walkway have been progressively removed.
Barely anything left of the walkway as seen in this 2016 picture – save for a couple of supports in the distance.
The only map I know of showing the walkway. OS 1954
I’m not sure of the exact origins of this walkway. It was not provided during the 1933 rebuild of the Metropolitan’s Bishops Bridge Road station. The picture below, embedded from Getty’s archive, proves this as the walkway is nowhere to be seen.
At some point, possibly the early fifties, the Bishops Bridge Road entrance was likely closed due to safety concerns. The only access thence was via the main station, entailing an unacceptably long detour. The rooftop walkway restored direct access to Bishops Bridge Road.
Remnant of the old 1933 Bishops Bridge Road station entrance in 2010.
Access to the walkway was via the old taxi ramp from Bishops Bridge down to where it turned across the platforms. At that point the dedicated walkway began and led to the footbridge for platforms 14-16 and the tube.
The old taxi ramp seen in 2003. It was retained for pedestrian access until the new Bishops Bridge was built.
The walkway descended these steps to join the present footbridge leading to the suburban platforms. March 2010
The only remaining bit of the walkway is the short access passage off the footbridge. There’s a sign bizarrely saying ‘Hammersmith and City Line via King’s Cross.’ I dont know why that sign is there as there’s never been access to the tube at this point!
The same view in 2017 – just part of the walkway’s support beam remains.
I believe the walkway remained in use until 1999 when Sir Nicholas Grimshaw’s Paddington Phase 1 began. It was replaced by the old taxi road which remained solely a pedestrian access route until the summer of 2010. The old taxi ramp has now been replaced, and the curving section of taxi access road is now fully pedestrianised.
Anyone who remembers using the walkway, or other information about it, please leave a comment below. Thanks!