Mortality and Succession

A lengthy spell in hospital does tend to focus one’s mind and emphasises one’s mortality.  Certainly an eight week stint following a stroke has caused your editor to consider his future involvement with this magazine – or at least to start putting in place some kind of succession plan.  You may have noted an advertisement to this effect in the Barbican Association’s quarterly newsletter

As background, I set up Barbican Life over 14 years ago and although. I passed the publication over to the Barbican Association in exchange for the latter handling distribution and accounting, while retaining full responsibility for the editorial content, advertisement sales, and printer negotiations.  I have been helped over the past few years by Stephanie Ross who has written and sourced some of the editorial content and sold some of the advertising on our behalf.

I am pleased to say that EVERY SINGLE ISSUE of the magazine has been profitable since I set it up.  Indeed I told the BA from the first issue that if advertising could not cover the magazine’s set-up costs, I would do so myself and just not have the magazine printed.  I was championed in this respect by the then BA chair, Stephen Horrocks, and the magazine as you see it today, was born, although now it carries rather more editorial and advertising content than it did at the start.  50% of the advertisers in the very first issue have been with us every issue since!

Page make-up and design has been by a former business colleague of mine, Trevor Sheldon, for every issue – and Trevor nowadays also designs, and organises the printing of, the BA’s quarterly newsletter which has just appeared in colour for the first time.  Incidentally the newsletter’s editor, Maggie Urry, who has been doing a sterling job since she took it over, is standing down and a replacement editor in Cromwell Tower resident, Robert McKay, has already been appointed to take over and has been working with Maggie on the most recent issue.

Thanks are also due to all our regular contributors, without whose inputs, filling each issue of the magazine would have been virtually impossible.  Particular thanks in this respect are due to Kevin Kiernan and Katherine Rumens who were also contributors to the magazine’s predecessor, Barbican Resident, and have written for every issue of Barbican life right from its start.

Over the 14 years it has been published, profits from Barbican Life magazine flowing into the BA have probably totalled around £200,000 enabling the Association to afford expert professional advice when deemed necessary and has helped keep BA membership fees down.

I will probably be looking at standing down from editing Barbican Life some time next year – 15 years of running the magazine seems like a good time to detach myself from what has very much been ‘my baby’. Anyone interested in taking over editing the publication should contact laidlaw.gillian@btinternet.com.  We will be looking for someone with relevant editorial and magazine publishing experience – full details of our requirements  are set out in the May BA newsletter.

So it’s not quite yet ‘Goodbye from me’, but that day is getting closer and will probably be within the next 12 months or so.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed designing, launching, editing and publishing the magazine over the years.  Giving up will be quite a wrench.

Lawrence Williams