At City Matters we are always looking to find new ways to serve as the voice for the residents of the City of London. The Barbican Bugle...

At City Matters we are always looking to find new ways to serve as the voice for the residents of the City of London. The Barbican Bugle is a monthly column written by Barbican Association General Council representative Helen Hudson, who has lived in Defoe House on and off since the 1980s. Published in the first edition each month, Helen’s column will keep you informed on the big stories affecting the City’s largest residential pocket.

Busy agenda for council

Happy Autumn! I’ll begin with the latest Barbican Association General Council (BAGC) meeting on 21 September.

Kate Smith and colleagues from the City led members through the Corporation’s draft Corporate Plan. This presentation formed part of a process to share the plan with a diverse range of groups and obtain feedback.

Your BA members provided robust and candid analysis of the draft, and more feedback is being sought from House Groups for inclusion into a written response (the deadline for comments to BA is 10 October). Please contact your House Group for more details if you wish to review.

Another paper being reviewed by the BA is the Mayor’s Transport Strategy for London.
It has now been submitted and House Groups were also recommended to submit their own responses.

Other items of interest from the meeting include:

  • The residents consultation committee is seeking a new chair for the underfloor heating working group, which has done sterling work on the roll out of the new system.
  • The BA is also monitoring the plans regarding the Cultural Mile and has an active working group due to meet shortly.
  • We’ve heard formally that the CCTV being considered for the estate is not going ahead.
  • New fire risk assessments are to take place across the Barbican and will include more detail than prior reports. They will also state whether a fire management plan would be appropriate for any particular building. Residents from tower blocks will be meeting with City officials to share their particular concerns.
  • An exciting new item is that BT is installing fibre optics – however the firm will not be providing a fibre link to each flat.
  • The Banksy murals in the Beech Street tunnel have been protected by Perspex.
news london
Barbican’s Banksy: preservation bid

That’s all for now on the business side of things. It is worth noting that this is only a glimpse of the work being done by the BA behind the scenes on residents’ behalf – I haven’t even mentioned licensing and planning issues that come up all too regularly, but a big thank you to the BA team for all the work you do.

You can always see more details online at and stay up to date on Twitter @Barbican_Assoc.

Looking back in time

On to the fun stuff now! Londinium – The City’s Roman Story continues to impress while Blood Rite on the 20 and 21 October at Guildhall Yard looks like an event not to be missed, with spectacular digitally-animated outdoor dance choreography stealing the show.

The display lasts about 20 minutes and repeats throughout the evening between 6.30pm and 10pm (free and no booking required).

Londinium’s Dark Earth also tempts with its mystery! On the morning of the event you will be told where to meet (flashmob-style!) and be taken through the streets and down into the basement; experiencing an immersive audio curiosity which transports you deep into the debris from the burning, collapse and decay of Roman buildings.

Any interested groups will need to email to register and then be ready from 22-29 October with headphones and a smartphone. I’m also looking forward to the opening of The Temple of Mithras by Bloomberg in October – no dates yet but updates are available online at

Night of frights and delights

Halloween is upon us, so parents of young City residents should take note of this heads-up for London’s Night Owls Halloween sleepover at the Museum of London on 27 October.  Tickets are £60 but it looks so much fun.

Last year, I saw mums and kids with their sleeping bags fortifying themselves at Pizza Express wearing scary costumes.

Inside, there was trick-or-treating around the galleries by torchlight, collecting sweets with fun quiz games all towards learning about London’s history.

There seems to be plenty on offer, including storytelling, crafts, and spooky crime solving.
The kids sleep in the galleries surrounded by the remarkable objects in the museum (how awesome is that!) and wake up to a breakfast and movie.

How I wish mine were young enough to take; I’m going to have to borrow a niece again! The night is suitable for seven to 11 year olds, with a minimum one adult per four children.

That’s just a scratch on the surface of what’s on offer for us in October, so there’s no reason to contract cabin fever in the estate as the nights draw in!

london magazineHelen Hudson has lived in Defoe House on and off since the 1980s, and is the residents’ representative for Defoe on the Barbican Association General Council.





In this article