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...]

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...]

A Royal visit for a Barbican Anniversary

A visit from Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, to the Barbican in conjunction with a London Gardens Society tour of City gardens and their ecological impact, was the highlight of the Barbican Horticultural Society’s 35th Anniversary.  The Hortisoc’s Chairman, William Howard, describes the visit. Monday 8th June 2015. A fine summer’s day and at 12 noon a mini cavalcade stopped in Lauderdale car park. Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex had arrived in the Barbican as Patron of The London Gardens Society (LGS) to which our Barbican Horticultural Society (BHS) is affiliated. The Prince was … [Read more...]

Ways to walk in London

Writer and illustrator Alice Stevenson, in her new book Ways to Walk in London, explores the capital on foot and includes her walks along our own Barbican Highwalks. Kate West traces her footsteps.   Alice Stevenson London-based Alice Stevenson is an illustrator, designer and educator who has created designs and illustrations for numerous brands and companies - from Volvo to Vogue, Tesco to Kellogg's, Crabtree & Evelyn, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Hugo Boss. Alice does not drive, nor does she cycle or jog. She walks. Often for miles. For the last few years, she has been exploring … [Read more...]

Tunnelling under the Barbican

BA Chair, Jane Smith, recently had the opportunity to visit one of the tunnel boring machine sites under the Barbican and this article gives her impressions of what she found to be a fascinating experience.  There aren’t too many perks from being chair of the Barbican Association – but I think visiting a Crossrail tunnel boring machine probably counts as one. Certainly, when I was offered the chance to visit TBM Elizabeth digging the eastbound tunnel under the estate on her way to Farringdon, I jumped at it. Jane Smith in full Crossrail visitor gearin one of the TBM tunnels under … [Read more...]

Blake Tower – the Barbican’s new tower block

Barbican residents will mostly be well aware that the Estate is being extended by the redevelopment of the former YMCA building on the corner of Fann Street and Aldersgate Street.  The official launch of the new development, to be called Blake Tower, took place at the end of May and now we have much more detail on the design, and what the new apartments will be put on the market for in terms of price. Blake Tower exterior The development is being handled by Redrow London, and the approved plans involve the construction of 74 one, two and three bedroom apartments and studios within … [Read more...]