In the previous post I very briefly alluded to the Mint building in Paddington. Well this is it! Despite being a hospital wing and part of the world famous St Mary’s complex, the Mint in fact began life as horse stables!
This unusual structure was opened in 1878 as a home for railway horses. Paddington is of course the home of the former Great Western Railway and it relied on as many as 600 horses to maintain its London operations. The picture above shows the stables buildings sited right next to the station.
The lower floors were accessed by ramps with cast iron sides. As the horse populace grew, in 1910 extra accommodation was provided on the upper floors. These were reeached way of extra ramps built in ferro-concrete and they still exist.
The westernmost lower ramp is shown in the following view:
The next picture is from the Getty collection and shows the easternmost ramps in 1926. New ramps were added and these were built with concrete during 1910. This is confirmed by the Getty image, although its clear the original cast iron ramps were still in use too.
The easternmost ramps today. Clearly the stables’ two lower ramps built with cast iron sides had these replaced with brick sides, possibly as part of the late 1920s work. The niche in the bottom ramp where the troughs once were, can still be seen.
The buildings were partially re-rendered in the 1920s with new brick facing walls. It also appears extra stables accomodation was achieved by raising the roof in some parts of the complex.
It is not known when the stables actually finished work however by the early 1950s, Victor Wynn (an Australian scientist who came to St Marys to be the UK’s first professor of metabolic studies) had taken over the buildings for his research laboratories.
High level walkways were provided for the horses as the above picture shows. These additions were rendered using the Hennebique ferro-concrete system in 1910-11.
One unacknowledged fact re the stables is there were tunnels beneath London Street giving the GWR’s horses direct access to the station & platforms.
At least one of the ramps had steps too as the picture below shows. It seems these were a late addition and may have been placed during the 1930s.
The Mint stables became part of the St Mary’s hospital complex in 1969, and the buildings continues their work as research laboratories, a diabetes & dermatology unit, and a training centre for nurses.