The Barbican is a residential estate built during the 1960s and the 1970s in the City of London.
reet is a road in the EC2A postcode area
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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 on 19 September 1957.
The estate was built between 1965 and 1976, on a 35-acre 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 immediately north of the Barbican. The estate of 40 acres was officially opened in 1969 and is now home to around 4000 people living in 2014 flats. The flats reflect the widespread use in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s of concrete as the visible face of the building.
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 and the City of London School for Girls, forming the Barbican Complex. The complex is a prominent example of British brutalist architecture and is Grade II listed as a whole with the exception of the former Milton Court. Milton Court once contained a fire station, medical facilities and some flats and was demolished to allow the construction of a new apartment complex which also contains additional facilities for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
The residential estate consists of 13 terrace blocks, 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 the periphery of the estate. Public car parks are located within the Barbican Centre.
What is now Barbican station was opened by the Metropolitan Railway in December 1865 when they extended their original route between Paddington and Farringdon.
The station was first called Aldersgate Street
, this being the name of the street on which it stands. This changed to Aldersgate
on 1 November 1910, then to Aldersgate and Barbican
in 1923, and to the present name from 1 December 1968.
The station replaced an earlier building at 134 Aldersgate Street, which for many years had a sign claiming 'This was Shakespeare's House'. Although the building was very close to the nearby Fortune Playhouse, there is no documentary evidence that Shakespeare lived here; a subsidy roll from 1598 shows a William Shakespeare as owner of the property, but there is nothing to indicate that it is the playwright.