Our third magazine each year is always in September and the celebration continues in this issue for the 50th birthday of the first Residents moving onto the Estate.  Thank you to everyone who sent us updates to - and feedback from - the June issue; it warms the cockles to know that you all enjoyed it, and sets my bar high for future issues.  I’m excited to let you know that one of our Residents is in touch with someone who worked on the original construction of the Estate.  I’m planning to  interview him before our December issue, so here’s hoping for more revealing background stories for us … [Read more...]


Our second issue each year is always in June and this summer we are celebrating the 50th birthday of the first Residents moving onto the Estate, but before I start with all that – a toast - here’s to a Goldilocks summer; not too hot to scorch the lawns again, but just the right amount of heat to make autumn something that we start looking forward to. We began prepping this special 50th birthday celebration issue at the end of last year so that we allowed enough time to interview our longer-term Residents.  Thanks to my trusty recorder (which we purchased in order to quantify tube rumble for … [Read more...]


Our first issue each year is this one we produce in March so although it’s a little late, may I wish you all the best for the remainder of 2019. Here at Barbican Life base camp, as your new editor, I am in at the deep end and enjoying every minute of it. I’ve made a few tweaks this issue; feedback greatly appreciated either way. Fortunately, Lawrence (who is looking healthier than ever) is also watching over me. I tell myself that I’m keeping him active by requesting that he continues with a couple of the regular parts of the magazine for now, but really I’m using him because I know he doesn’t … [Read more...]

The Time is Nigh

Just over a year ago in a Barbicania article entitled Mortality and Succession (those with internet access can read this by entering the following link into their web browser - ) I broached the inevitability of my handing over Barbican Life to a new editor. This after 15 years from my devising, designing and producing the magazine and the editing of every single issue through thick and thin. Over that period of time I have managed to get this quarterly magazine out, always on time, around a quadruple heart bypass operation, two strokes – the second of which kept me … [Read more...]

Well Connected

Well Connected: One very specific attribute of living on the Barbican Estate is that it has to be already one of the best connected residential complexes in the country with respect to transport links.  It has both east-west and north-south underground lines at Moorgate, not to forget the Great Northern commuter lines out of the same station; the Liverpool Street rail terminus only a short walk away giving access to the east of the country, Bank and the Docklands Light Railway and the Waterloo and City line, with its direct connection to Waterloo serving the south and the southwest, while … [Read more...]

Encroachment and Solidarity

What gets the residents of the Barbican up in arms – or perhaps those of any other similar urban village?  In one word – Encroachment.  In the Barbican it is the constant sense of being in some kind of fishbowl as new office, and residential construction is built around us, sometimes interfering with long established pedestrian and road accesses, and occasionally with an adverse impact on light!  But when the proposed change is actually within the complex, hackles rise, perhaps disproportionately. The latest such bête noire for Barbican residents is the proposal by the City of London School … [Read more...]

Coming of Age

The Barbican Estate was primarily constructed between 1965 and 1976 and most of us owner-occupiers have leases which have between 85 and 90 years to run before the properties are reclaimed by the freeholder, in nearly all cases the City of London.  While that timescale is presumably more than adequate to see most of us out, the shorter the lease life remaining, the more difficult a property becomes to sell, and the lower the price it is likely to command.  Generally 80 years on one’s lease is the tipping point at which values tend to start to decline sharply, or the freeholder can be entitled … [Read more...]

The Culture Mile, Beech Street and the RSC

Went to see the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Tempest – a quite remarkable staging.  The special effects were awe inspiring and was pleased to hear a week or two earlier that the RSC was being involved in the talks revolving around the Culture Mile – the latest reworking in the development of what was previously known as the Cultural Hub.  If the talks are successful in bringing the RSC back to making the Barbican its principal London venue – to the theatre which was built for it - that will be another great feather in the Culture Mile’s cap.  There is already seemingly a strong rapport … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

47 Years On

It can be quite humbling attending a memorial service in St Giles Church, particularly for someone who had such a remarkable life as late Barbican resident Douglas Woodward who died late last year at the ripe old age of 92, but still in possession, even in such advanced years, of an extremely strong intellect.  Readers of Barbican life will have been aware of Douglas who graced these pages on a number of occasions.  The most recent was with a somewhat controversial guest editorial article in last year’s Summer issue entitled ‘Rattle’s Folly’.  Douglas opposed the construction of the proposed … [Read more...]