Unravelling the Captivating History of the Barbican Centre


The Barbican is undoubtedly one of the best examples of brutalist architecture in London. Developed in the years 1971-1982, know more about the Barbican Centre’s history, its development and more as you read through our guide!

The Origin of its Name

The name Barbican originates from the Low Latin word ‘Barbecana’. Authentically, the term Barbicana refers to a gateway or a fortified outpost which acts like an outer defence of a castle, or a city situated over a bridge and solely serves a defence purpose! It was originally known to be situated between the northern side of the St. Giles Cripplegate church and Fann Street.

The Building of Barbican

Did you know that the Barbican Centre known for its conservatory, art gallery, offices, concert hall, theatres, shops, foyers, and restaurants as of today was once a part of a utopian vision? The aim was to transform a London area that was left devastated during the time of World War II. Reserve a luxurious stay at The Montcalm Royal London House and explore a plethora of adventures that give you a closer look at London’s glorious history and its vibrant culture today.

  • Back in the day, the arts centre took about a decade to build and was inaugurated by The Queen back in the year 1982. It was then declared as one of the ‘modern wonders of the world’.
  • Now, you must be thinking about how the Barbican Centre rose to become a Grade II listed, multi-venue arts centre in London today. It was during the mid-1970s that Peter Bloomfield, a popular photographer was commissioned by the first managing director of the Barbican, Henry Wong. This was done to document the last stages of the iconic building’s development and some of the first public events held in the building.
  • The Barbican Lakeside was once the main Centre entrance, accessible through an elevated pathways series, known as ‘high walks’, intended to run across the city.
  • While they might not be the highest buildings on the City’s skyline when the towers were first built, the Barbican Towers were the highest residential buildings in Europe.
  • The London skyline has dramatically changed since the year 1982. However, the Barbican Centre remains the same with its unique architecture standing amongst the many eminent buildings in the city.

History and Present of The Barbican Centre

The Concert Hall

The concert hall is one of the most striking venues of the Barbican Centre, also historically known as the Barbican Hall. With your stay at one of the opulent hotels near Old Street Station, look out for a contemporary music programme or an immersive international orchestra event here as the Concert Hall is home to the famous London Symphony Orchestra.

The Concrete

One of the most iconic features of the historical Barbican Centre’s architecture that makes it so unique even today is the trademark textured concrete that covers both the exteriors and interiors of the building.

The Art Gallery

The Barbican Centre’s art gallery has always been a space for curators to display their art. Even today, the gallery showcases the work of internationally renowned artists from fashion and photography to contemporary art and design.

The Conservatory

Barbican Centre is home to the second-largest conservatory in London. It is situated above the arts centre, in the heart of the residential estate with primely located hotels in the city of London.

The Theatre

Located right behind the conservatory, you’ll find a 120-foot-high theatre fly tower and the renowned Barbican Theatre with 1110 seats, as of today.

Look out for the best hotel packages in London to reserve an impeccable stay in a city that has so much to offer for everyone on a historical and cultural front!