Wednesday 18th November may have been just another digging day for the dozen regular volunteers who turned up on a very wet and windy morning at Paddington but it was also a notable anniversary. It was exactly on this day three years ago in 2012 that the first skip was delivered on site and the diggers, who had waited 14 years for this time to arrive, made a start on emptying the Paddington cellars of their tons of in-fill. None of us knew at that time what we were up against, but now three years later, skip number 132 is being filled and well over 1000 tons of material has been removed from 4 levels of cellars and approaching 50 feet below road level. There’s still a long way to go, and now we’re battling with water too as we continue digging at something approaching 10 metres below the roof of our level 4 chamber. All of this has been undertaken by willing volunteers working only with shovels, plastic buckets, ropes and gin wheels.
By coincidence, our anniversary coincided with a very sad occasion, that being the final day of occupancy of The Bear’s Paw, by Sandra, Jenni, Dave and their staff. They had officially closed a week earlier but today was the day they closed the door behind them for the last time and handed over the keys to the new owners. This was a very sad day for them and for us, as Sandra and her crew had always been very good to us during the seven years that they had run the pub. They will be greatly missed by all of us.