fbpixelcode Skip to main content


Collecting first-hand accounts of people’s experiences, memories and perspectives is a unique and impactful way to deepen insight and build a detailed and accurate record of people’s everyday lives, their attitudes to social issues, and changes to a community.

North Paddington is an area that is often overlooked and isolated due to its fragmentation and diversity. It has high levels of poverty, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with neighbourhoods of great wealth. It is also an area that has experienced enormous change – through the arrival of major transport infrastructure and generations of migration.

This project aims to commit the voices and stories of people who have lived and worked in North Paddington to the historical archives, to strengthen a shared sense of pride, belonging and connectedness. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and summarised by Heritage Pioneer Volunteers, supported by Sarah Gudgin, Oral Historian.

The selected extracts have been chosen to represent a diverse range of cultural backgrounds, values, and life experiences.

Click on the themes below to explore North Paddington’s living heritage:

St Mary Magdalene Church

Parishioners, former clergy and residents reflect on St. Mary Magdalene’s heritage, its longstanding significance within the community and its revitalisation via partnership with Paddington Development Trust.

Our Community

Community activists and neighbours recall the struggles and pleasures of life in North Paddington through the years.

Local Changes

The North Paddington neighbourhood reflects physical, social and economic changes in the UK over the last century, as well as its own unique cultural developments. This collection features tales of change, destruction, development and rebirth throughout our historians’ lives.


Neighbours who endured the deprivations of World War II remember the hard work, sacrifice and community cohesion which enabled their survival.


Residents tell their stories of living in cramped communal housing in the first half of the 20th century, the demolitions and relocations of the 1960s and the grassroots activism which brought about housing reforms in the area.


Childhood and Family Life

Our community members reminisce about their family backgrounds, the values their parents imparted and the ways in which they played, learned and grew as children.



North Paddington is composed of a rich diversity of cultures, from Irish to Caribbean and Arab immigrants. Here, residents speak about their early experiences in London and the challenges of maintaining their heritage identities whilst adapting to a new environment and lifestyle.

Working Experiences

A vibrant mix of local professionals and labourers describe their careers in teaching, dancing, television, community work, health care and trades.



Voices of North Paddington Exhibition

In September 2021 these stories were made shared for the first time in an Oral History exhibition, Voices of North Paddington. This exhibition explored the lives and memories of our community, the changes to the area of North Paddington through time and the St Mary Magdalene’s and Paddington Development Trust partnership and role in the community.


“It is most necessary to avoid rusticity in any way, whether in material, design, or execution.”

George Edmund Street