At least once a day, I find myself feeling very grateful to be living in our Barbican community. It could be when I’m collecting a parcel from the car park attendant (who is always there for deliveries even when I’m not), or when I’m walking in the gardens thinking of the poor souls who have been enduring shielding without a balcony or a decent view. The City and Barbican Estate Office isn’t always perfect and we might not agree with every policy and decision they make, but there can be no doubt that we are fortunate to have their supporting tentacles looking out for us during lockdown, not forgetting the neighbours volunteering on Helplines, food banks and residential committees.
In looking at this issue’s content, one neighbour organisation which always has our back is the 20th Century Society which campaigns for the preservation of C20 buildings like ours. It was only when reading through their article this month that I realised how close their offices are over in Cowcross Street. This month they share past projects they have worked on with us and renew our confidence that they are ‘on the case’ with the museum move and concert hall.
Breton House resident Hazel Brothers’s photo was the perfect choice for the front page to accompany this article and thanks also to Joanna Lyall from Bunyan Court for her interview with Polly Powell, daughter of Geoffry Powell (of Barbican architect trio Chamberlin, Powell and Bon fame).
In late 2018, we had the announcement that “The Culture Mile includes the essential improvement of Beech Street, new public space around a new Museum of London at West Smithfield, making Moor Lane an urban oasis where visitors can pause and relax and the proposed Centre for Music.”
In the Culture Mile concept, recently Studio Egret West unveiled concept designs for the reworking of the buildings at Smithfield Market. At the same time, Finsbury Circus was handed back to the City of London following the completion of Crossrail construction work on the site. So, in expectation that the Culture Mile project will gain momentum in line with commuters finding their way back to work, we invited the project team to share what we can expect in the coming months.
With no firm dates for theatres to reopen, our Theatre reviewer Gary Donaldson continues to direct us to the excellent online shows at unrestrictedtheatre.co.uk. Just search for ‘watch now’ on his site for a list of currently available shows. We can be grateful that things are picking up on the arts and exhibition front, and Janet Wells shares her choicest exhibition picks for the autumnal months ahead.
Let’s enjoy the outdoors before we say goodbye to summer; spiders are the order of the issue for Julien Waite as he focuses us on our nearby nature reserve gardens.
Sadly, a few of our local businesses have closed down, and we have updated our Barbican Association Discount Page to reflect. It’s not all gloom, though, and we have new partners joining every month. This month we welcome Thomas More resident and chocolatier, Raffaella Baruzzo; just in time for Christmas presents!
Last but not least, we say goodbye with a massive salute to our beloved electrician Vic Hebblewhite who passed away recently. Somehow, because my grandfather died too young, he was the proxy I could always call on in an electrical-related crisis. Vic could fix anything to do with Barbican electrics and knew the place inside out because he used to be a resident engineer. He could also source a replacement hotplate in a heartbeat – a skill which I have called upon on many times. We’ll miss you, Vic! Induction hob next time then!
Have an awesome autumn from team Barbican Life