Michael Bond

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Michael Bond

Michael Bond fair use image.jpeg
Bond with a Paddington Bear toy
Thomas Michael Bond

(1926-01-13)13 January 1926
Died27 June 2017(2017-06-27) (aged 91)
London, England
Years active1945–2017
Notable work
Paddington Bear series
  • Brenda Mary Johnson
    (m. 19501981)
  • Susan Marfrey Rogers
    (m. 1981;his death 2017)

Thomas Michael Bond CBE (13 January 1926 – 27 June 2017) was a British author. He is best known for a series of fictional stories for children, featuring the character of Paddington Bear. More than 35 million Paddington books have been sold around the world, and the characters have also appeared in a popular film series (featuring Paddington and Paddington 2 to date) and on television. His first book was published in 1958 and his last in 2017, a span of 59 years.


Early life

Thomas Michael Bond was born on 13 January 1926 in Newbury, Berkshire. [1] He was raised in Reading, where his visits to Reading railway station to watch the Cornish Riviera Express pass through started a love of trains. His father was a manager for the post office. [2] He was educated at Presentation College in Reading. His time there was unhappy. He told The Guardian in November 2014 that his parents had chosen the school "for the simple reason [that his] mother liked the colour of the blazers ... she didn't make many mistakes in life, but that was one of them". He left education aged 14, despite his parents' wishes for him to go to university. [2] The Second World War was under way and he went to work in a solicitor's office for a year, and then as an engineer's assistant for the BBC. [3]

On 10 February 1943 [4] Bond survived an air raid in Reading. The building in which he was working collapsed under him, killing 41 people and injuring many more. [5] [6] Shortly afterwards he volunteered for aircrew service in the Royal Air Force as a 17-year-old, but he was discharged after being found to suffer from acute air sickness. [7] He then served in the Middlesex Regiment of the British Army until 1947. [8]


Art installation depicting Bond in Saint Mary's Square, Paddington with Paddington Bear Michael Bond, Saint Mary's Square, Paddington.jpg
Art installation depicting Bond in Saint Mary's Square, Paddington with Paddington Bear

Bond began writing in 1945, when he was stationed with the Army in Cairo, and sold his first short story to the magazine London Opinion . He was paid seven guineas and thought that he "wouldn't mind being a writer". [2] After he had produced several plays and short stories, and had become a BBC television cameraman (he worked on Blue Peter for a time), his first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was published by Collins in 1958. Barbara Ker Wilson had read his draft at one sitting and she then phoned Bond at the number given. She was put through to Lime Grove Studios. Bond had to tell her that he was not supposed to take calls at work. [9]

This was the start of Bond's series of books recounting the tales of Paddington Bear, a bear from "darkest Peru", whose Aunt Lucy sends him to England, carrying a jar of marmalade. In the first book the Brown family find the bear at Paddington Station, and adopt him, naming the bear after the station. [8] By 1965 Bond was able to give up his BBC job to work full time as a writer. [10]

Paddington's adventures have sold over 35 million books, have been published in nearly twenty countries, in over forty languages, and have inspired pop bands, race horses, plays, hot air balloons, a movie and adaptations for television. [8] [11] Bond stated in December 2007 that he did not plan to continue the adventures of Paddington Bear in further volumes, [12] but in April 2014 it was reported that a new book, entitled Love From Paddington, would be published that autumn. In Paddington , a 2014 film based on the books, Bond had a credited cameo as the Kindly Gentleman. [13]

Bond also wrote another series of children's books, telling of the adventures of a guinea pig named Olga da Polga, who was named after the Bond family's pet, [2] as well as the animated BBC television series The Herbs (1968). [14] Bond also wrote culinary mystery stories for adults, featuring Monsieur Pamplemousse and his faithful bloodhound Pommes Frites. [3]

Bond wrote Reflection on the Passing of the Years shortly after his 90th birthday. The piece was read by Sir David Attenborough, who also turned 90 in 2016, at the national service of thanksgiving to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday at St Paul's Cathedral in June 2016. [15]

On 20 June 2016 StudioCanal acquired the Paddington franchise outright. Bond was allowed to keep the publishing rights to his series, [16] which he licensed in April 2017 to HarperCollins for the next six years. [17]

Television writing

Bond wrote two short films for the BBC: Simon's Good Deed, which was shown on 11 October 1955, [18] and Napoleon's Day Out, shown on 9 April 1957. [19] He also wrote one episode of the series The World Our Stage, an adaptation of the short story "The Decoration" by Guy de Maupassant, which aired on 4 January 1958. [20]

His best known television work is as the creator and writer of the children's television series The Herbs and The Adventures of Parsley , again for the BBC. [14] [21]


Bond was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), for services to children's literature, in the 1997 Birthday Honours [22] [23] and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 Birthday Honours. [24] [25] On 6 July 2007 the University of Reading awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Letters. [26]

On 10 January 2018 GWR named one of their Class 800 trains "Michael Bond / Paddington Bear". [27]

Personal life

Statue of Paddington Bear in Paddington Station following Michael Bond's death. Michael Bond Passed Away Paddington Bear Statue.jpg
Statue of Paddington Bear in Paddington Station following Michael Bond's death.

Bond was married twice: to Brenda Mary Johnson in 1950, from whom he separated in the 1970s; and to Susan Marfrey Rogers in 1981. He had two children. [28] He lived in London, not far from Paddington Station, the place that inspired many of his books. [10] [28]

Bond died in London on 27 June 2017, at the age of 91. The cause of death has not been disclosed. The film Paddington 2 (2017) was dedicated to his memory. [1] He is buried in Paddington Old Cemetery close to where he lived. The epitaph on his gravestone reads "Please look after this bear. Thank you."


Paddington Bear series

Olga da Polga series

Chapter books

Picture books

Monsieur Pamplemousse series

Other books


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  6. "Paddington Bear writer's wartime Reading Podcast now online". Reading Borough Council. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
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  12. Richard Lea (11 December 2007). "Paddington Bear faces questions on asylum status". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
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  15. "Attenborough to read Bond's tribute at Queen's birthday service". BBC News. 8 June 2016.
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  19. 1 2 "Listings: 9 April 1957". BBC Radio Times.
  20. 1 2 "Listings: 4 January 1958". BBC Radio Times.
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  23. "No. 54794". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 1997. p. 10.
  24. "The Queen's Birthday Honours 2015". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  25. "Birthday Honours 2015: Van Morrison and Kevin Spacey head list". BBC News. 13 June 2015.
  26. Malvern, David (6 July 2007). "Oration presenting Michael Bond, OBE for the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters at a Degree Congregation, 6th July 2007" (PDF). University of Reading. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  27. "Our named Intercity Express Trains". GWR. 10 January 2018.
  28. 1 2 Lambert, Victoria (31 August 2016). "Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond: 'I could have pasted my room with rejection slips. But I never gave up'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  29. Nicholas Lezard (19 January 2005). "Classic of the month: A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
  30. "In praise of...Paddington Bear". The Guardian. London. 2 June 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
  31. "Paddington's Finest Hour". HarperCollins. Archived from the original on 19 June 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  32. Michael Bond's last Paddington Bear story out in 2018