The Info List - Barbican Estate

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The Barbican
Estate is a residential estate that was built during the 1960s and the 1980s within the City of London
in Central London, in an area once devastated by World War II
World War II
bombings and today densely populated by financial institutions. It contains, or is adjacent to, the Barbican
Arts Centre, the Museum of London, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Barbican
public library, the City of London School for Girls and a YMCA
(now closed),[1] forming the Barbican Complex. The Barbican
Complex is a prominent example of British brutalist architecture and is Grade II
Grade II
listed as a whole[2] with the exception of the late Milton Court. Milton Court once contained a fire station, medical facilities, and some flats but was demolished to allow the construction of a new apartment complex, which also contains additional facilities for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.


1 History

1.1 Post-war development

2 Blocks and towers

2.1 The terrace blocks 2.2 Tower blocks

3 Barbican
complex 4 In popular culture 5 Nearby rail and Tube 6 See also 7 References and notes 8 External links

History[edit] The main fort of Roman London
was built between 90 and 120 AD southeast of where the Museum of London
now stands at the corner of London
Wall and Aldersgate
Street.[3] Around 200 AD walls were built around the city that incorporated the old fort, which became a grand entrance known as Cripplegate. The word barbican comes from the Low Latin word Barbecana which referred to a fortified outpost or gateway, such as an outer defence of a city or castle or any tower situated over a gate or bridge which was used for defence purposes.[4] In this case there seems to have been a Roman specula or watchtower[5] in front of the fort at numbers 33–35[5] on the north side of the street then called Barbican[6] (now the west end of Beech St), which was later incorporated into the fortifications north of the wall. The Normans called it the Basse-cour or Base Court,[7] synonymous with the modern word "bailey" and still applied to the outer courtyard of Hampton Court Palace. The Base Court continued to serve a military function during the reign of Edward I, but Edward III gave it to Robert d'Ufford, 1st Earl of Suffolk[6] who made it his London
home. By the 16th century, it had passed to Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. Brandon married his ward Catherine Willoughby, daughter of Maria de Salinas who had been a confidante and lady-in-waiting of Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon
and after his death was retained by the Willoughby family. The original Base Court seems to have been destroyed and the large building that replaced it was called Willoughby House, a name revived for part of the modern development. Post-war development[edit]

recovered from Bryers and Sons building at 53 and 54 Barbican. The building survived wartime bombing but was demolished to make way for the redevelopment. The Frieze
was preserved as a monument

During World War II, the City suffered serious damage and loss of life. The Cripplegate
ward was virtually demolished and by 1951 the resident population of the City stood at 5,324 of whom 48 lived in Cripplegate. Discussions began in 1952 about the future of the site, and the decision to build new residential properties was taken by the Court of Common Council
Court of Common Council
on 19 September 1957.[8] The estate was built between 1965 and 1976, on a 35-acre (14 ha) site that had been bombed in World War II. The complex was designed by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, whose first work was the ground-breaking Golden Lane Estate
Golden Lane Estate
immediately north of the Barbican. The estate of 40 acres (16 ha) was officially opened in 1969 and is now home to around 4,000 people living in 2,014 flats.[8] The flats reflect the widespread use in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s of concrete as the visible face of the building.

The central public court of the Barbican, Lakeside Terrace, features a café area.

The Minister for the Arts, Tessa Blackstone, announced in September 2001 that the Barbican
complex was to be Grade II
Grade II
listed. It has been designated a site of special architectural interest for its scale, its cohesion and the ambition of the project.[9] The complex is architecturally important as it is one of London's principal examples of concrete brutalist architecture and considered a landmark. Blocks and towers[edit]

The Barbican
Estate features underground parking, making space available for public squares.

A pond features pathways under the water level.

Pond scum has accumulated in a pond.

A waterfall in the Barbican

Concrete columns in the pond next to Lakeside Terrace

The residential estate consists of three tower blocks, 13 terrace blocks, two mews and The Postern, Wallside and Milton Court.[10] The terrace blocks[edit]

Part of the estate viewed from above

These are grouped around a lake and green squares. The main buildings rise up to seven floors above a podium level, which links all the facilities in the Barbican, providing a pedestrian route above street level. Some maisonettes are built into the podium structure. There is no vehicular access within the estate, but there are some car parks at its periphery. Public car parks are located within the Barbican Centre. The terrace blocks are named:[10]

Andrewes House – named after Lancelot Andrewes
Lancelot Andrewes
a 16th-century English bishop and scholar Breton House – named after Nicholas Breton a 16th-century English poet and novelist Bryer Court – named after W. Bryer & Sons gold refiners and assayers premises were Numbers 53 and 54 and demolished to make way for the building[11] Bunyan Court – named after John Bunyan, a 17th-century English writer and Baptist preacher Defoe House – named after Daniel Defoe Frobisher Crescent – named after Martin Frobisher Gilbert House – named after Humphrey Gilbert Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
House – named after Ben Jonson Thomas More
Thomas More
House – named after Thomas More Mountjoy House – named after Christopher Mountjoy a French wig-maker who let a room to William Shakespeare[12] Seddon House – named after George Seddon Speed House – named after John Speed John Trundle Court – named after John Trundle Willoughby House – named after Catherine Willoughby

Tower blocks[edit] The estate also contains three of London's tallest residential towers, at 42 storeys and 123 metres (404 ft) high. The top two or three floors of each block comprise three penthouse flats. The towers are (east to west):

Cromwell Tower, completed in 1973 – named after Oliver Cromwell[13] Shakespeare Tower, completed in 1976 – named after William Shakespeare[14] and Lauderdale Tower, completed in 1974 – named after the Earls of Lauderdale[15]

Once the tallest residential towers in London, they were surpassed by the Pan Peninsula
Pan Peninsula
development on the Isle of Dogs. Barbican
complex[edit] The Barbican
Estate also contains the Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre
(an arts, drama and business venue), the Barbican
public library, the City of London School for Girls, the Museum of London, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. A YMCA
building was constructed between 1965 and 1971[9] to link the Barbican
and Golden Lane Estate; it is also listed. In popular culture[edit] The Barbican
features in Michael Paraskos's novel In Search of Sixpence as the home of the lead character, Geroud, and also a bar called "The Gin Bar" loosely based on the Gin Joint bar at the Barbican
Centre.[16] The final scene of the 1983 vampire film, “The Hunger” directed by Tony Scott and starring David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon, was filmed in the Cromwell Tower at the Barbican.[citation needed] Nearby rail and Tube[edit]

Public Transport

Service Station/Stop Line/Route

National Rail
National Rail
Liverpool Street


Underground Liverpool Street



St. Paul's


See also[edit]

Centre Museum of London St Giles-without-Cripplegate Garchey

References and notes[edit]

^ "Finsbury Hostel Closure". Islington Gazette. Retrieved 2 February 2012.  ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1352667)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 12 June 2011.  ^ "Quarterly Review (June to August 2002) Greater London
Archaeology Advisory Service" (PDF). Quarterly Review. Greater London
Archaeology Advisory Service. June–August 2002. p. 30. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 January 2009.  ^ http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/housing-and-council-tax/barbican-estate/concept-and-design/Pages/History-of-Barbican.aspx ^ a b Britton, John. The Beauties of England and Wales, or, Delineations, topographical, historical, and descriptive, of each county, Volume 10, Part 3. Vernor and Hood. p. 216.  ^ a b Strype, John (1720). "6". Survey of London. 3. Retrieved 19 March 2014.  ^ Goff, Cecilie (1930). A woman of the Tudor age. John Murray. p. 277.  ^ a b "History of the Barbican
Estate". City of London. Archived from the original on 7 December 2006. Retrieved 11 January 2007.  ^ a b "Listing of the Barbican
complex". City of London. Archived from the original on 8 October 2006. Retrieved 11 January 2007.  ^ a b Jennifer Clarke (1990), The Barbican
Sitting on History, Corporation of London
Records Office, ISBN 9780852030301, OCLC 24713108, 0852030304  ^ http://www.londonremembers.com/memorials/barbican-frieze ^ http://www.barbicanliving.co.uk/blocks/mountjoy-house/the-mountjoys/ ^ "Cromwell Tower". Emporis Buildings. Retrieved 11 January 2007.  ^ "Shakespeare Tower". Emporis Buildings. Retrieved 11 January 2007.  ^ "Lauderdale Tower". Emporis Buildings. Retrieved 11 January 2007.  ^ Michael Paraskos, In Search of Sixpence (London: Friction Fiction, 2015) ISBN 9780992924782

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Barbican

The history of the Barbican
Estate Corporation of London: Barbican
Estate Barbican
Life magazine "Secret bits of the Barbican", Londonist

v t e

City of London

City of London

Parks and open spaces


Aldersgate Aldgate Bassishaw Billingsgate Bishopsgate Bread Street Bridge Broad Street Candlewick Castle Baynard Cheap Coleman Street Cordwainer Cornhill Cripplegate Dowgate Farringdon Within Farringdon Without Langbourn Lime Street Portsoken Queenhithe Tower Vintry Walbrook


Inner Temple Middle Temple


Barbican Bishops Square Blackfriars Broadgate Farringdon Holborn Minories Smithfield Temple


20 Fenchurch Street Bank of England
Bank of England
Museum Barbican
Centre Clockmakers' Museum College of Arms Dr Johnson's House Finsbury Circus Guildhall Art Gallery Leadenhall Market London
Mithraeum London
Stone Mansion House The Monument Museum of London One New Change Prince Henry's Room Royal Exchange St Paul's Cathedral Smithfield Market

Notable structures

2 Hare Court 2 King's Bench Walk 30 St Mary Axe Aldgate
Pump Bank of England Bevis Marks Synagogue Golden Boy of Pye Corner Guildhall Heron Tower Holborn
Circus Lloyd's building London
Stock Exchange Merchant Taylors' Hall National Firefighters Memorial Old Bailey Old Billingsgate
Market Tower 42

Civil parishes

List of civil parishes in the City of London


Blackfriars Bridge Blackfriars Railway Bridge Cannon Street Railway Bridge Holborn
Viaduct London
Bridge Millennium Footbridge Southwark Bridge

Rail and tube stations

 Aldgate   Bank–Monument  Barbican    Blackfriars   Cannon Street  City Thameslink  Fenchurch Street     Liverpool Street  Mansion House   Moorgate  St. Paul's  Tower Gateway


Coat of arms Flag History Listed buildings

at Grade I at Grade II*

Livery companies Lord Lieutenants Lord Mayors Lord Mayor's Show Public art and memorials Sheriffs Street names

Category Commons

v t e


Buildings and structures


Albert Bridge Blackfriars Bridge Hungerford Bridge and Golden Jubilee Bridges Lambeth Bridge London
Bridge Millennium Footbridge Southwark Bridge Tower Bridge Vauxhall Bridge Waterloo Bridge Westminster Bridge

Entertainment venues


Empire, Leicester Square BFI IMAX Odeon, Leicester Square

Football stadia

Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium
(national stadium) Craven Cottage
Craven Cottage
(Fulham) The Den
The Den
(Millwall) Emirates Stadium
Emirates Stadium
(Arsenal) Loftus Road
Loftus Road
(Queens Park Rangers) London
Stadium (West Ham United) Selhurst Park
Selhurst Park
(Crystal Palace) Stamford Bridge (Chelsea) The Valley (Charlton Athletic) White Hart Lane
White Hart Lane
(Tottenham Hotspur)

Other major sports venues

All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club The Championship Course
The Championship Course
(rowing) Crystal Palace National Sports Centre Lord's
(cricket) Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park The Oval
The Oval
(cricket) Twickenham Stadium
Twickenham Stadium


Adelphi Apollo Victoria Coliseum Criterion Dominion Lyceum Old Vic Palladium Royal National Theatre Royal Opera House Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Royal, Drury Lane Theatre Royal Haymarket Vaudeville


Alexandra Palace Brixton Academy ExCeL Hammersmith Apollo O2 Arena Royal Albert Hall Royal Festival Hall Wembley Arena


10 Downing Street Admiralty Arch Bank of England City Hall County Hall Guildhall Horse Guards Mansion House National Archives Old Bailey Palace of Westminster Royal Courts of Justice Scotland Yard SIS Building

Museums and galleries

British Museum Cutty Sark Golden Hinde HMS Belfast Imperial War Museum Madame Tussauds Museum of London National Gallery National Maritime Museum Natural History Museum Royal Academy of Arts Royal Observatory Science Museum Tate Britain Tate Modern Tower of London Victoria and Albert Museum

Places of worship

All Hallows-by-the-Tower BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Bevis Marks Synagogue Methodist Central Hall Regent's Park
Regent's Park
Mosque St Martin-in-the-Fields St Mary-le-Bow St Paul's Cathedral Southwark Cathedral Westminster Abbey Westminster Cathedral



Fortnum & Mason Hamleys Harrods Liberty Peter Jones Selfridges

Shopping centres and markets

Borough Market Brent Cross Burlington Arcade Kensington Arcade Leadenhall Market The Mall Wood Green One New Change Petticoat Lane Market Royal Exchange Westfield London Westfield Stratford City

Royal buildings

Partly occupied by the Royal Family

Buckingham Palace Clarence House Kensington Palace St James's Palace


Banqueting House Hampton Court Palace Kew Palace The Queen's Gallery Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace


Tower 1 Canada Square 8 Canada Square 25 Canada Square 1 Churchill Place 20 Fenchurch Street Heron Tower Leadenhall Building The Shard St George Wharf Tower 30 St Mary Axe Tower 42


Albert Memorial ArcelorMittal Orbit Big Ben Cleopatra's Needle Crystal Palace transmitting station London
Eye London
Wall Marble Arch The Monument Nelson's Column Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain
Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain
("Eros") Thames Barrier Wellington Arch


City Airport Heathrow Airport Charing Cross station Clapham Junction station Euston station King's Cross station Liverpool Street station London
Bridge station Paddington station St Pancras station Stratford station Victoria station Waterloo station Victoria Coach Station Emirates Air Line cable car


Estate Battersea Power Station British Library BT Tower Kew Gardens Lambeth Palace Lloyd's building London
Zoo Oxo Tower St Bartholomew's Hospital Smithfield Market Somerset House


Royal Parks

Bushy Park Green Park Greenwich Park Hampton Court Park Hyde Park Kensington Gardens Regent's Park Richmond Park St. James's Park


Battersea Park Burgess Park Clapham Common College Green Epping Forest Finsbury Park Gunnersbury Park Hampstead Heath Holland Park Mitcham Common Osterley Park Trent Park Victoria Park Wandsworth Common Wimbledon Common

Squares and public spaces

Covent Garden Horse Guards Parade Leicester Square Parliament Square Piccadilly
Circus Sloane Square Trafalgar Square


Aldwych Baker Street Bishopsgate Bond Street Carnaby Street Charing Cross Road Cheapside Cornhill Denmark Street Fenchurch Street Fleet Street Haymarket Jermyn Street Kensington High Street King's Road Lombard Street The Mall Oxford Street Park Lane Piccadilly Portobello Road Regent Street Shaftesbury Avenue Sloane Street Strand Tottenham Court Road Victoria Embankment Whitehall

Coordinates: 51°31′09″N 0°05′38″W / 51.51917°N 0.09389°W /