From ‘watering hole’ to cosmopolitan hub
In 1653 the so-called ‘common field at Paddington’ was described in a parliamentary grant as ‘near a place commonly called Baynard’s Watering’. It is believed that this portion of ground was part of the parish of Bainiardus, the Norman associate of William the Conqueror who gave his name to Baynard’s Castle. It became renowned for its springs of quality water and is now known as Bayswater.
In the 17th century the area was a little hamlet which featured a number of inns and buildings from the neighbouring Upton Farm. When still semi-rural in the early 1800s, the area attracted artistic and literary figures, including the poet Sarah Flower, writer Charles Dickens and composer Vincent Novello.
In the ten years between 1852 and 1862 a ‘great and aristocratic town’ had developed, apparently faster than all other London suburbs.
Today one of London’s most cosmopolitan areas, Bayswater’s population ranges from ancestral Britons to a sizeable Arab population towards Edgware Road, a large Greek community, Americans and London’s main Brazilian community.