Paddington Green in the Eighteenth Century
In Paddington, life was completely different from today. The Bishop of London's Estate Map, dated 1742, a full generation later than the Almshouse Stone, still shows an entirely rural Paddington. The estate was a triangle which stretched along the Bayswater Road, from Hyde Park Corner to Craven Hill, and along the Edgware Road to Kilburn Bridge. It comprised about ten farms and, near Craven Hill, there were Common Fields, presumably still farmed. in strips, much as they had been in medieval times.
We have several pictures of the local Parish Church and by examining them closely, we can imagine what Paddington Green was like in those days. It was not the present St Mary's Church, which was one of the first Greek Revival churches in the country, of course. This St. Mary's was built in 1791, when the earlier church had proved too small for the growing population. Our drawings are of the earlier church, far more modest and built about a century before. We are not quite certain of its name, but it was probably St James's. In the engraving below, Chatelaine calls it simply ' Paddington Church'.
This view, taken from the north-west, shows that the church was correctly orientated, with the porch at the west end and the altar at the east. It was a small basilica church with a square east end and a short, square bell tower over the west entrance.