Paddington Brown: A Very British Bear

Posted on by Lizzie Watson

This humble bear, with his marmalade storing hat, perfect etiquette and iconic duffle coat, is as British as the railway station he was named after – despite being from deepest darkest Peru.

This story actually begins on a very lonely shelf in a London store on Christmas Eve in 1956, where author of the Paddington bear books, Michael Bond, discovered the lonesome teddy bear and swiftly purchased it as a present for his wife. Deeply inspired by the huge possibilities of this Christmas bear, in just ten days, Bond had written his first Paddington Bear story.

This is the stuff that true stories are made of, and what makes Paddington so very, very British is his eloquent politeness, and his British etiquette is really rather marvellous, for a bear!

We can all take a leaf out of Paddington’s book by emulating his good manners and saying please and thank you, offering to share our marmalade sandwiches, and by saying “good day” to strangers. One must adhere to the social etiquette of drinking tea and not drink it from the spout of the teapot, which is considered, along with licking cream off the scones, very rude; this rudeness can be counteracted by the ‘hard stare’, which is most uncomfortable for its recipients.

And when it comes to the discussions we British have about the weather, Paddington is famed for his quotes such as “a real brolly-buster’ and ‘perfect weather for ducks’.
As a much loved British icon, Paddington Bear was chosen by British tunnellers as the first object to pass into France when they built the channel tunnel. (I do hope he had his marmalade sandwiches for that journey!)

Everything about Paddington is beautifully British, and Michael Bond, who died on the 27th June this year at the grand old age of 91, would have been enthralled by Paddington 2 which is released in cinemas on the 10th November.

The marvellousness of the duffle coat – with it’s British origins in keeping sailors warm at sea – is a coat for any age. From your tiniest-tot to your toughest adult adventurer, the duffle-coat is delightful across the ages.

Burberry’s Greenwich Duffle references original Royal Navy styles and it’s classic hooded silhouette is made in Castleford from a warm wool-blend faced with their signature check, finished with gabardine sealed seams and traditional rope and beechwood toggle closures.

British brand Original Montgomery, who have been making duffle coats for around 127 years, are the oldest surviving company chosen by the British Admiralty in the early 1890`s to make the first duffle coats where they were designed to keep out the worst of weather whilst not restricting the movement of sailors. The first fabric used is still very similar to the current boiled wool used for duffle’s, but significantly lighter. Their original duffle coat matches Paddington Bear’s in almost every way; you’ll have to provide your own marmalade sandwiches however, but there are plenty of pockets for storing them…!

The Greenwich Duffle Coat
£995 >

bespoke fashion

Original Montgomery
Women’s Classic Duffle coat in Royal Blue
£195 >

With our love of Paddington as strong as ever, here are some delightful gifts which are perfectly British in every way.

Paddington Bear (22cm) 
£24.95 >

Paddington Bear Pencil Case
£10 >

John Lewis
Mint Paddington Bear Leaving Greeting Card
£2.25 >


Paddington Bear Scooter Backpack
£25 >


John Lewis
Orange Tree Paddington Bear Music Box
£19 >

John Lewis
Paddington Mini Colour On
£7.99 >

John Lewis
Paddington Bear’s Sightseeing Adventure Game
£19.99 >

Nancy & Betty at Harrods
Paddington Crackers (Box of 6)
£29.95 >

We think every family should have a Paddington Bear to make Marmalade with, and if your favourite marmalade isn’t ‘bear made’, then why not try ours;

Fortnum & Mason,
Sir Nigel’s vintage orange marmalade

This classic vintage marmalade was made by Fortnum’s in the 1920s for actor-manager Sir Nigel Playfair, who asked for a bitter, thick-cut preserve for his toast. Fortnum & Mason met his request with this – a strong, substantial marmalade with a deep flavour and lots of chewy peel. 340g / £4.95

Photo credit: Visit Britain 

If you enjoyed reading this, click here to read about some of the Best British Marmalades.

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