The 1881 Census shows that some who left Devon settled in Paddington. They got off the train and made new lives where they stood. Just as the East End of London housed the refugees from Russia and Poland; King's Cross attracted the Scots, and Euston/Camden Town housed the Irish, so Paddington seems to have attracted many of the migrants from the West Country brought by the Great Western Railway.

These quotations from Hoskins seem relevant:

‘Of the outward migrants in 1851, who amounted to thirteen per cent of those horn in Devon, exactly half went to London.'

'Between 1861 and 1901 it has been calculated that 208 small parishes fell in numbers by anything up to sixty per cent.'

'Of those who left the county, most went to London, but in the eighteen seventies and eighties there developed a steady trickle overseas to the colonies and to the United States, helped to some extent by the cut-rates of the Atlantic shipping companies and by the railway rate-war on the other side.’



A scatter map showing where the first people
in Oakington Road came from.

One family in Oakington Road started by going to Canada where one child was born, to the United States for the birth of the second, and to Paddington for the birth of the third.

People did not come only from the west. In Elgin Avenue there are people from France, perhaps refugees from the 1870 Franco Prussian War. If so, they were not the first to flee from France. Marc Isambard Brunel had fled from the French Revolution to New York nearly a century earlier. There he became the Chief Engineer and later, while Britain was still fighting France, he came to Britain and set up the block making machinery for the Navy, the first mass production line in the World. He introduced orthographic projection to Britain from France where it had been a state secret for thirty years. (See Graphic Communication, by Jack Whitehead, 1985).

His son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Western Railway, was also one of the greatest engineers Britain has ever had. So the man who built the Great Western Railway, which brought so many people to Paddington, was himself a first generation Englishman, largely educated in France, and is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery with Thackeray and Trollope, two most English of men.

At one time Lucien Freud used to live in this terrace and his Silver Cloud Rolls Royce stood outside. Many of his pictures were painted in the stripped interior of this house, while others show the backs of Elgin Avenue houses nearby.

jj
Part of Thorngate Road, typical of
the 1860s, still standing in AD 2000
after the surrounding area had been
devastated by bombing.

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