Our last magazine each year is always in December.  This issue is dropping into your mailbox slightly earlier than usual, however, so that we can remind you about the Designer Jewellers Group Exhibition which begins on Tuesday December 10th at midday.  The exhibition is being hosted very close by at Salters’ Hall (which is the large white building nestled in St Alphage Gardens facing Andrewes House).  The original home for the show (which started in 1984) was the Barbican Centre  and it ran here for several years.  For me, it triggered joy; I was working too hard to notice flyers of its arrival, but I walked past the Lakeside foyer every day and as soon as I caught sight of the tall glass display cases filled with creative wearables, something inside me switched gleefully into Christmas mode.

As you all know by now, 2019 gave us the opportunity to celebrate the Barbican Estate’s 50th birthday and we have an article for you covering the Barbican@50 Festival Day which was held at St Giles’ back in September.  Special thanks to Guy Nisbett who wins our Barbican@50 Poetry Competition (see below for examples of his creative genius)!

The volunteers did such a good job and I’m hearing rumblings that a festival day might be repeated in 2020.  I’m a fan; we need as many get-togethers as we can because they help to glue our community together in an environment where it is easy to become isolated.  One of the most recent community groups I’ve joined is Barbie World who have just started a meet-up on Sundays for The Old Red Cow pub quiz.  The blind date of their first meeting involved a Barbican Life magazine on the table!  Not everyone makes it every week, but there are generally enough to make a team and to keep the score ticking up.

We have an article by Joanna Lyall who introduces us to more of our gifted local authors.  I pitifully pale in comparison struggling to find the right words to describe their creative mastery.  Like many of our Resident artisans, they must all (at one time or another) have been inspired by our Estate and our Gardens, so we pay tribute to all the volunteer green fingers out there: we have a report back from Ruth Cooke-Yarborough on the great strides, steps and spottings in the Barbican Wildlife Garden and we’re looking forward to what else is possible in this precious place.  We also have a report back from Julien Waite on the very fruitful Barbican@50 bug hunt.

With gardens in mind, we recognise the outstanding influence of William Howard, a previous Chair of the Barbican Horticultural Society, who passed away earlier this year.  We are paying tribute to him and his gardening in our next issue in March.

Warm and wonderful winter wishes and cheers for 2020 from all of us on Team Barbican Life!


14 Barbican Haikus by Guy Nisbett

I’m lost yet again

The infernal Barbican

There is no way out


They’ll never get it

They prefer Georgian

It’s their loss really


Tower cutting sky

Morning light against concrete

It seems strangely flat


Utopian dream

Like an alternate future

In an old movie


On Sunday morning

No one seen from Gilbert Bridge

Sparkling waterfall


It’s like a portal

To another dimension

Our magic cupboard


They dreamed of this day

Did Parker, Powell and Bon

My morning coffee


A sinking feeling

Bank balance suddenly gone

Ah the service charge


Five in the morning

Heat like Saharan desert

Underfloor heating


‘The Barbican’ think

City of London Girls’ School

‘We must destroy it’


The residents here

Is it the architecture?

They are all quite mad


Should I just pop home

And have a quick glass of wine

In the interval?


A bridge to nowhere

Perhaps Twenty twenty-two?

Elizabeth Line


Within ancient walls

And protected by dragons

Pull up the drawbridge