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.
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. 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 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.