Rainy London or 28 things to do on a rainy day in London
Picadilly Circus thru time
Meet London’s Last Gas Lamp Lighters
Secret Hidden Bits Of The West End
Meet the new London Taxi: Hybrid TX5 black cab revealed
15 Victorian Photos Of The London Underground Being Built
Winterville in Victoria Park London
Southbank Centre Winter Festival
Skate at Somerset House this winter
Winter Wonderland 2015 Hyde Park London
Borough Market – 1000 Years old Market in London
Plans for the new Camden Town station
NFL on Regent Street is back
The Oxford Street Christmas lights will be ON in 3 weeks
Things to do: Columbia Road Flower Market
Urban Food Fest in Shoreditch car park

Hidden London – Visit The Barbican Center

Originally a defensive structure atop the City walls (pulled down in 1267), then a street and now a housing estate in the north-west corner of the City

In the 19th century the Barbican was a warren of factories, warehouses, markets and shops. Much of it was razed by fire in 1902 and the remainder was devastated in the Blitz.

In 1956 housing minister Duncan Sandys recom­mended the creation of a model post-war neigh­bourhood with schools, shops and amenities as well as homes. The architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon were appointed to design the complex, and created a focal lake (visible on the left in the photograph below), residents’ gardens and the tallest resid­ential blocks in Britain. With 43 storeys, the Barbican’s three towers were not eclipsed the construction of Manchester’s Beetham Tower in 2006.

An airliner passes Cromwell TowerBalconies on Cromwell TowerThe restored medieval church of St Giles without Cripplegate was retained as a centrepiece. The remainder of the estate consists of low-rise blocks of apartments, plus the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the City of London School for Girls and a handful of shops and service providers.

The first of 2,000 flats were completed in the early 1960s and they were originally available only to rent from the Corporation of London. The idea of living in the City – where everything closed at weekends – met with consid­erable scepticism at first, but soon the waiting list for flats grew to several years. For nearly two decades the Barbican could lay claim to being Britain’s most upmarket council estate. However, the Housing Act of 1980 introduced the right of council tenants to purchase their homes. Many residents bought and sold as soon as possible at a consid­erable profit and the estate progressively became the preserve of well-paid City bankers and the like.

The Barbican’s rain-stained, hammered concrete slabs detract from its aesthetic appeal but it has achieved grade II listed building status by virtue of its distinctive character.

The Barbican arts centre (seen on the right in the photo below) was built between 1971 and 1982 at a cost of £153 million, which sounds like a bargain now but was a lot at the time. Its buildings are on ten floors, the lowest being well below sea level. The centre claims to be Europe’s largest multi-arts and conference venue and presents a diverse range of art, music, theatre, dance, film and creative learning events. It is also home to the London Symphony Orchestra.

The Museum of London has several paintings of the Barbican and its surroundings, notably Harold Hussey’s depiction of the scene before building began but after the clearance of the former bombsite, revealing the colossal scale of the project.Postal district: EC2Station: Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines (zone 1)