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A Short Guide to the Barbican

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The Barbican is Europe’s largest multi-arts and conference venue and is considered one of London’s best examples of Brutalist architecture.

Although it is known for its ‘modern’ appearance, the Barbican site has a long and fascinating history. The word Barbican refers to a fortified outpost or gateway and London’s first Barbican was built by the Romans for protection before it was incorporated in the large London wall built by the Roman’s in AD 200. Over the following centuries it became part of the Cripplegate area of the City of London. After surviving fire and plague it was the power of the Luftwaffe in the Second World War that destroyed the area.

After the war, plans were developed from designs by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon for this particular area of London. There were concerns about the dwindling population in the City of London and it became considered increasingly important that a residential area to be created on the site.

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The 40 acre Barbican Estate developed with residential blocks set on a raised podium and constructed between 1969 and 1976. The Arts Centre was built between 1971 and 1982, consisting of two theatres, a concert hall, a library, an art gallery, three cinemas, a conservatory, offices, restaurant, shops and foyers.

When the Queen opened the Barbican complex in 1982 she pronounced it “one of the wonders of the modern world”. Although few agreed with that particular view, it does represent a unique urban landscape in the City of London.

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Over the last few decades the Barbican Arts centre has developed into a world-class arts and cultural centre which is Europe’s largest arts centre all under one roof. The Barbican is the  base for the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and has close ties with the Royal Shakespeare Company.  The Centre hosts mainly classical and contemporary music concerts, theatre performances, film screenings and art exhibitions but also offers a wide range of activities and festivals.

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The Barbican is located in the heart of the City of London and is accessible by rail, road and underground.

Tube

Within walking distance from a number of London Underground stations, the closest being Barbican, St Paul’s and Moorgate.

Rail

The nearest train stations are Liverpool Street and Farringdon.

Bus

Bus Route 153 runs directly past the Barbican along Chiswell Street.

Walk

You can walk to the Barbican within 30 minutes from all over central London.

For more information, visit the Barbican website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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A Short Guide to The Museum of London

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The Museum of London tells the social history of London from prehistoric to modern times, the museum is located on London Wall near to the Barbican complex.

The Museum of London is an amalgamation of two earlier museums: the Guildhall Museum, founded in 1826 and the London Museum founded in 1912.  Both collections came together after the second world war and the new Museum of London opened in 1976.

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The Guildhall Museum was largely archaeological, whilst the original London Museum had varied interests, collecting modern objects, paintings, and costumes. Since 1976 the Museum of London has operated as a social and urban history museum.

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The museum features a series of chronological galleries containing original artefacts, models, pictures and interactive displays which chart the rise of London and its urban development. A small section of the original Roman London Wall can be seen just outside the museum. The galleries “London Before London” , Roman London”, “Medieval London” and “War, Plague and Fire” concentrate on old London whilst “Expanding City ” , “People’s City” and “World City” are galleries of Modern London.

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The Museum of London opened a second public site in 2003 when the Museum of London Docklands housed in a Grade I listed warehouse at Canary Wharf was officially revealed.

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Although the Museum is still in its original building, the museum recently announced plans to move from its Barbican site to nearby Smithfield Market.

For more information, visit the Museum of London website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here