About Merchant Square

The redevelopment of this part of Paddington Basin has transformed a neglected part of London into a vibrant waterfront neighbourhood.

Merchant Square, Paddington

The Merchant Square Estate

Merchant Square is a mixed-use estate in London’s West End. Once an industrial area with poor public access, the Merchant Square development has transformed this part of Paddington Basin.

Today, the 11-acre site is safe, attractive and accessible with new public spaces, homes and workspace as well as restaurants, bars and shops.

Merchant Square is managed by European Land. The property group is based at Merchant Square and is currently delivering the next phase of the development. Merchant Square is part of the wider redevelopment of Paddington.

Historic photo of Canal Basin construction, Paddington

History

Paddington’s character is shaped by it’s proud heritage as the gateway to London. The Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal opened in July 1801 and it joined with the Regent’s Canal with the formation of Browning’s Pool at Little Venice in 1820. At the time, the canals were the lifeblood of the city, bringing goods and fuel to London from the midlands and the north of England.

The arrival of the railway marked the next chapter in the area’s history. Paddington was the terminus for the Great Western Railway which opened in 1838 and moved to its current location in 1854.

Canal basin at Paddington before redevelopment

An area in decline

As road freight took over in the post-war period, the canals fell out of favour and these once vibrant London “streets” became synonymous with abandoned warehouses, waste ground and empty goods yards. At the same time, the area’s economic base went into decline.

Paddington Basin was inaccessible to the public and formed a barrier between local communities. The environment was blighted with litter and waste.

Redevelopment work at Canal Basin, Merchant Square, Paddington

The catalyst for change

In 1998, with the arrival of the Heathrow Express, the timing was right to redevelop the area around the canal and reestablish Paddington as the gateway to the city.

The Paddington Partnership was formed the same year to coordinate the redevelopment – bringing together multiple landowners, development schemes, funding bodies and communities. The canal basin was drained, cleaned and repaired.

The Floating Pocket Park, Merchant Square, Paddington

Paddington Basin today

Merchant Square is now a buzzing new neighbourhood with homes and workspace for more than 10,000 people, bars, restaurants and cafes. The redevelopment has opened the canal environment to the public once again, and a series of new footbridges connect Merchant Square and the wider area to Paddington Station.

The Merchant Square team oversees a year-round programme of free events for locals and visitors such as fitness classes, movie and sports screenings, live music and more. The next phase will see the development of two residential buildings – 1 Merchant Square and 6 Merchant Square, as well as a new office building at 2 Merchant Square.

 

The Floating Pocket Park flowers, Merchant Square, Paddington

Sustainability

By working together, we are creating a canalside community that has minimal and even a positive impact on our environment.

Find out more
Dragon Boat Regatta, Merchant Square Paddington

Community

Merchant Square works closely with a number of charities throughout the year. Each quarter we support a different cause.

Find out more