One of the most ambitious housing projects in the City of London is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary since its first resident moved in. London’s Barbican Estate is a post-war housing project located in the heart of the city. Barbican Estate is known for its brutalist architecture design and was built on the ground which was destroyed by the Nazis during World War II. According to reports, the estate speaks of a “unique spirit”.
Nadine Waddell, a resident since 1983 says, “It has a unique spirit in that it’s an open, democratic space and its history is public-spirited as a gift to the nation by the city.”
On December 29, 1940, thirty –six acres of land in old London called Cripplegate became part of a corporation which was ripe for development. In 1969, the first residents moved into the Barbican Estate. Today about 4000 residents live on the estate.
Stuart Morganstein was one of the first residents to move in. “We had one neighbor. The rest was completely deserted. There was more staff than there were residents and it was all very new. In the early days, all residents were acting as guides pointing people in the right direction.”
Moreover, the post-war estate also has its own magazine. “It’s more the people than the articles for me,” says Helen Hudson of Barbican Life Magazine, “because we’ve got a plethora of people here who have often been very high-flying career people.”
It was really an upmarket council estate,” agrees Lawrence Williams of Barbican Life Magazine. “I mean very upmarket actually. In terms of the hierarchy of the people.”
Reports suggest, ironically the estate would have never been possible if it wasn’t for Hitler.