Paddington Bear is taking over the British Library this summer with exclusive exhibition

Paddington Bear is taking over the British Library this summer with the launch of a special, family-friendly exhibition celebrating 60 years of one of the world’s most beloved bears.

Paddington: The Story of a Bear will run at the library from July 9th to October 31st with an exhibitions spanning the 60 years since the character was first published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in 1958. The exhibition will feature over 50 books, documents, film clips, and original artworks as it explores the creation of Michael Bond’s Paddington in full.

The exhibition will also feature activities for visitors to practise their hard stares, take their own self ‘pawtrait’ and follow the trail of marmalade left by Paddington, as well as a special printed guide for families. Two local primary schools in Camden – Argyle Primary School and Edith Neville Primary School – have been working with the Library since November 2020 to create new content for display in the exhibition for all visitors to enjoy. 

Paddington is a timeless and universal story of desire for home, acceptance and a sense of belonging, which appeals to all ages. Featuring books, documents, film clips and original illustrations, highlights will include, a First Edition of A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond, illustrated by Peggy Fortnum, the original review of A Bear Called Paddington by Barbara Ker Wilson in 1958, and a selection of photographs and memorabilia of Michael Bond on loan from his family.

It will also feature clips from the Paddington movies and sound recordings such as Michael Bond talking about the process of creating Paddington’s stories, as well as original illustrations of Paddington stories by artists including Peggy Fortnum, David McKee and RW Alley.

Alison Bailey, lead curator of Paddington: The Story of a Bear, said: “Paddington: The Story of a Bear is a fun, family-friendly exhibition recalling the many faces of Paddington we’ve come to know and love in original artwork, books, and scenes from TV and film adaptations.

“This exhibition reminds us why, over 60 years on from his creation, Paddington still resonates with people of all ages, wherever they are in the world. We hope visitors enjoy following this loveable bear on his adventures and discovering his stories.”

Sophie Kopaczynski, CEO at Copyrights Group said: “As Paddington brand owners we are delighted to be working with the British Library on this fantastic exhibition. 

“The exhibition invites families and fans – old and new – into the world of Paddington, full of adventure and kindness, through a wide variety of mediums, books to original artworks, letters to objects, film footage to exclusive TV clips. 

“It is always a pleasure to be able to introduce Paddington to a new audience and to offer new and exciting content for existing fans.”

There will be a series of events and adult learning courses inspired by the exhibition, as well as workshops for families and relaxed openings for children on the autism spectrum.

School groups can enjoy exclusive timed slots including free, activity-led facilitated workshops for Primary students.