Fire Brigade exercise in Cromwell Tower

Jane Smith, Chair of the Barbican Association,  reports on the recent Fire Brigade high rise training exercise conducted in Cromwell Tower  I once said one of the highlights of being chair of the Barbican Association was the opportunity to see unusual things. That was when I witnessed a Crossrail tunnel boring machine on its journey under the Barbican. My latest unusual thing was observing a training exercise by London Fire Brigade at Cromwell Tower. This had been planned since before the Grenfell Tower fire and was designed to give the firefighters experience of fighting a fire in a … [Read more...]

The Elizabeth Line Reaches The Barbican – and its likely benefits

Barbican resident Peter Savage updates us on the construction of the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail), which runs under the estate, and offers Barbican reidents direct access to the new rail link with stations at both the eastern (Liverpool Street/Moorgate) and western (Farringdon) ends.  Peter visted the Farringdon site to view the latest progress. Later this year we can look forward to 82,000 people a day using the new Elizabeth Line Farringdon station when it opens in December. 150,000 people a day are expected to use the Farringdon interchange to connect with the London Underground and … [Read more...]

Electric Vehicles and the Barbican

The big problem about writing an article on Electric Vehicles (EVs) is that the technology is advancing so fast and new announcements coming out of manufacturers so frequently that anything written in terms of model availability may well be completely out of date by the time the article is published.  Please bear that in mind when reading. The Tesla Model 3, the iconic EV manufacturer’s first ‘affordable’ car The Barbican, given its location on the northern edge of the City of London, would seem to be ideally placed for residents to switch to EVs provided that charging facilities can … [Read more...]

The Culture Mile

How the City sees its cultural centre growing over the next decade The Barbican Centre, with its Theatres, Galleries, Cinema and Library, is arguably the most significant cultural centre in Europe.  Perhaps what it currently lacks is a Concert Hall to match the best in the world and the development of such a concert hall is one of the driving forces behind what has now been Christened The Culture Mile.  This involves the linking of the various cultural developments in Farringdon and around the Barbican itself into a co-ordinated centre for cultural activities centred on the City of … [Read more...]

First residents move in to Blake Tower

Named after the poet, artist and mystic William Blake, who is buried in nearby Bunhill Fields, and not the Marvel Comics lawyer for the righteous of the same name, Blake Tower, is, as readers of Barbican Life magazine will well know, the Barbican’s fourth tower block although considerably shorter in elevation than the estate’s main tower blocks – once Europe’s tallest residential towers.  And, after three to four years of construction it has been converted from a 218 room YMCA hostel to provide 74 high specification residential units to be added to, and run by,  the Barbican Estate. The first … [Read more...]

The London Symphony Chorus

Barbican resident Liz Reeve tells us how she ended up joining the London Symphony Chorus and what is involved. When Liz Reeve moved into the Barbican 20 years ago, she cannot have realised how many opportunities would present themselves so close to home. Liz explains, ‘We decided to move into central London, as we were a bit fed-up with the time taken to commute.  My husband already loved the Barbican as his father used to live here back in the 1970s, and we ended up buying the flat next to where he used to live! I was even happier when my company decided to move my department to Golden … [Read more...]

Sir Thomas More – Martyr and Saint

The 19 Barbican residential blocks of apartments - soon to be 20 when Blake Tower is completed – are, with the exception of the Postern and Wallside - all named after historically significant persons associated with the Barbican area and/or the Parish Church of St. Giles Cripplegate. Thomas More House on the southwest of the estate is no exception, although perhaps More’s direct association with the area is stretching it a little in that he was born in Milk Street, a location several hundred metres south of the area on which the Barbican has been constructed, although there is a good chance … [Read more...]

Our Concrete Utopia

It is always interesting to see how the Barbican is viewed by outsiders in terms of both architecture and as a living space.  The following article was first published in the September edition of N for Norwegian, the in flight magazine for Norwegian Air Shuttle A maze of 21 residential blocks and a world-renowned arts centre, London’s Barbican was designed as a radical solution to urban living – but only now, 50 years after building started on the residences, is the world fully coming to appreciate it Text by Peter … [Read more...]

Rattle’s Folly – Response from Sir Nicholas Kenyon

A response from Sir Nicholas Kenyon, The Barbican Arts Centre’s Managing Director, to the last issue’s guest editorial by Douglas Woodward regarding the plan to construct a new concert hall on the site currently occupied by the Museum of London when that moves to it’s proposed Smithfield site at the end of the decade.   Sir Nicholas Kenyon – Photo credit and copyright Sheila Rock It was interesting to read Douglas Woodward’s guest editorial in the last edition of Barbican Life about the proposed new Centre for Music at the Barbican, especially as Mr Woodward has been such an important … [Read more...]

Architecture and Light at the Barbican

Architectural photographer, Alan Ainsworth, discusses the hugely significant importance of light in the context of the Estate’s architectural design and ambience. Alan Ainsworth Barbican residents often speak about the special nature of the Barbican as a place in which to live. As an architectural photographer I am always looking for that special factor which makes people feel there is a ‘sense of place’. I’m very familiar with the Barbican – I’ve lived nearby for 15 years - but recently I began to notice how the Barbican space is transformed by the light which emerges from between, … [Read more...]