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London's commuters find themselves in Cornwall during Occupation Paddington

It takes a lot to distract London commuters intent on their journey to work – but that's what happened at Paddington station this week.

What made them stop in their tracks was Occupation Paddington – a clever and innovative three-day exhibition, run from 2nd – 4th April, held in the station's main concourse. It forms part of a major rebranding project enticingly called 'Find Yourself in Cornwall', which has been developed by Cornwall Arts Marketing (CAM) to promote Cornwall's cultural distinctiveness to visitors.

CAM, which is supported by European funds from the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly works with around 50 arts organisations, including theatres, galleries and promoters, to help develop the visitor market for their businesses.

Commuters arriving at Paddington, either by train or on foot, were surprised to find a beautifully restored 1950s VW camper van parked in the middle of the concourse, surrounded by plasma screens showing a stunning video montage of a dynamic and creative Cornwall. Images of festivals, theatre performances and art were intermingled with snapshots of Cornwall's stunning coastline, fresh food, most famous landmarks and, of course, surfers riding the waves.

Four huge, brightly coloured, sails - reflecting Cornwall's nautical heritage - were hung from the concourse ceiling arches above the van and further video images were projected onto the walls and ceilings by platforms at the far end of the concourse.

CAM director, Richard Glover, explained: "We're trying to show that Cornwall has a distinct lifestyle, as well as a new energy and a hidden side that's worth exploring. It's the Cornwall that those of us who are lucky enough to live there all know and love, and we want to encourage visitors to explore and enjoy it too.

"Paddington Station has a footfall of 500,000 passengers every week – many of them heading west already, so it seemed like the ideal place to try and reach potential visitors."

The exhibition seems to have achieved its aims - wistful travellers could be found gathered around the camper van throughout each day, with many commenting on the contrast between their current environment and those portrayed on the plasma screens.

Pankaj Raichura, a 28 year old sales manager from Reading, said: "That camper van is amazing. If I had the choice between commuting on the train from Reading to London everyday or riding to work in the camper and stopping off at the end of a busy day for a walk on a hidden beach or to hear some great music on the way home, I know what I would rather do! I've never been but I am definitely going now."

Molly Morris, a 61 year old volunteer for Age Concern from Putney said: "I'm ashamed to say I have never been to Cornwall in my life, but after seeing the brochure and pictures here at Paddington today I'd really like to go - and take my grandchildren too!"

Even those travellers from further afield were impressed by what they saw. John Burke, 32, a Cinema Manager from Bridgend, Wales commented: "I have been to Cornwall before and love its traditional values and relaxed atmosphere. However, the beauty of this campaign is that it shows the strong cultural aspect of Cornwall - I'm more than happy to eat a pasty and enjoy a cream tea with the best of them but there's lots more to Cornwall and Occupation Paddington reinforces it."


Editor's notes:

CAM's full funding package of £6 million has been met with an Objective One European Regional Development Fund grant of just over £2.9 million, nearly half the costs, with additional partner support from Cornwall County Council, South West Arts and Cornwall Enterprise. The project will run until December 2004.

Cornwall Arts Marketing Ltd is part of the Arts Centre Trust (Charity No. 293238).

Further information about live events in Cornwall can be obtained from

For further information please contact:
Richard Glover
Cornwall Arts Marketing
Tel: 01872 274427


Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388

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