Wine and food pairing tips

After a successful English Wine Week earlier this year, Gert Pienaar - Audley Group Head Chef - has tips for us on how to pair wine and food. With thousands of wine regions across the world and hundreds of types of grapes, getting to grips with wine pairing can seem like a daunting task. And while there is no denying that a beautifully paired wine can really bring out the flavour in a dish, the truth is that no meal is ever ruined by a wine that isn’t quite right. However, if you are looking to start matching your wine choices with food, Gert Pienaar, Audley Group Head Chef, shares his … [Read more...]

Keep on clubbing

Phil Ellaway takes a closer look inside some of the more notable London Clubs. The ‘London Club’ stereotype in fiction and historical drama is a male only institution with dark interiors, deep leather armchairs, and ancient members, almost as crusted as their after-dinner port.  In this quiet and secretive environment, the people who really run the country meet away from the eyes and ears of the general public. This image has been both fueled and lampooned in fiction.   Clubs were an important part of the 19th Century landscape of power and featured in the works of authors such as … [Read more...]

Three Generations

A PERSONAL REFLECTION ON THREE GENERATIONS OF FAMILY LIFE IN THE BARBICAN by Nadine Waddell “And up there” said my daughter pointing high up to one of the famous tooth edge balconies of the Barbican tower, and speaking with the authority of a Barbican tour guide…  “is where my Aunt’s visiting cat prowled its way along the balcony edge ….” This is evidently going to be a Barbican architecture tour with a difference. “Over there is the lift door where my mum’s veil nearly snagged on her wedding day, there’s the car park where Dad fitted the car seat for me when I came home from hospital … [Read more...]

The First Barbican Baby

(interview with Valerie Healey transcribed by Helen Hudson) We moved into Andrewes House in 1969. Our second flat was in Willoughby House but due to my ill health at the time the stairs over the four level flat proved too much. We moved from there to Lauderdale Tower and after some time, and largely by accident, we noticed that for the same rent (the apartments were still rented at this time) there was a very large flat duplex flat at the end of Ben Jonson House.  It had larger bedrooms than our tower block flat which suited us better at the time so we decided to go with that one.  It … [Read more...]

Our Concrete Utopia – Revisited

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 2016 edition of N for Norwegian, the in flight magazine for Norwegian Air Shuttle.  With the 50th Anniversary of the first residents moving into the estate it is worth revisiting this view of how an outsider views the finished product. 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 … [Read more...]

Barbican Life – The First 15 Years

Barbican resident Lawrence Williams recounts the founding and 15 years of editing of this magazine which has built up from an initial 32 page plus covers issue back in  March 2004 to a much larger, and ever more profitable, version nowadays. The Barbican Estate residential complex may have reached its 50th year of occupancy, but Barbican Life magazine has only been going for 16 of these years, and is now being edited by the second editorial incumbent, Helen Hudson, who took over from me at the beginning of this year.  15 years is probably sufficient time to remain in post, but in my … [Read more...]

Liveries unmasked

Helen Hudson unravels the mysteries of the City’s Livery Companies and Guilds and the origins and history behind the formation of these venerable City institutions.   The impressive main staircase at the Goldsmiths' Company Hall decorated for Christmas First of all, let me get this important item out there if you are looking for quirky Christmas gifts: the City and Livery website sells a drawn and decorated jigsaw puzzle map of livery halls in the City costing £30. That done, I’m going to go back to the basics on livery companies, selfishly, for my benefit, but hopefully … [Read more...]

New Era for the Charterhouse

Barbican residents should perhaps be well aware of the nearby historical and architectural gem which is the Charterhouse. It is now entering a new era with the appointment of its first female ‘Master’ and has begun to admit women to the residential almshouse for the first time. The Charterhouse is steeped in history and many of the people associated with it jump out of the pages of school history books. It was originally built as a chapel and hermitage next to a Black Death plague pit in the mid 14th Century, but in 1371 it was granted as the basis for a Carthusian monastery, which gave it … [Read more...]

The Barbican Estate

Former Barbican resident, Stefi Orazi is marking the 50th Anniversary of the first residents moving into the estate, with a new book, due out in October, which is a comprehensive guide to the estate and includes detailed plans for each of the 140 different flat and house types, along with beautiful photography of the building’s exteriors and interiors by Christoffer Rudquist. Stefi has interviewed Barbican residents and employees, past and present, giving a rare insight into how life on the Estate has changed over the decades. Stefi Orazi I remember very vividly the first time I … [Read more...]

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...]