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Summer returns to the Barbican Barbicania


ne of the huge benefits of living in the Barbican is access to the open spaces provided by the two gardens and the lake. Even those who may be disparaging about the Barbican’s architectural design and ambience will recognise that the planners, in building in this fantastic enclosed, and therefore safe, green space into the design may at least have got something right!

The gardens are used throughout the year by Barbican residents and their friends, but it is in Summer where they really come into their own hosting children’s – and adult’s parties and in particular for the children giving them play areas where they can stretch their legs and socialise with other children in totally safe surroundings – a particular bonus in this day and age (at least as far as parental perceptions are concerned). As a resident with an apartment (in Brandon Mews) overlooking the smaller of the two

gardens, which has become the preferred recreational area for families with very young children, one really sees the benefits of this environment. Working from home running a global financial- oriented website one gets to see – for the most part (and there is no intention to stereotype here) mothers and perhaps nannies with young children making great use of the gardens as a whole and the play area (swings, slide, climbing frame etc.) during mornings and afternoons – and then in the early evenings fathers and working mothers also take the opportunity to come down and play with their offspring as well. It has to be great to have this availability so close to home. The cover picture this issue of Barbican Life shows a typical afternoon in the smaller Speed House garden showing many families making good use of the space and play areas. When the weather is fine and warm, as it has been for most of this Spring and early-Summer

this year, it is lovely to see children’s parties on the lawns in the afternoons and at weekends. The trees provide plenty of shade where needed to protect delicate skins, while the surrounding buildings provide shelter from any chilly breezes. Nirvana for the young. But one shouldn’t forget the benefits for the adults the spaces provide. We have seen early morning Tai-Chi being practiced – although admittedly this could just as well be done on the podium, but perhaps then without the welcome surrounding green environment. The larger garden tends to provide the quieter space during the day for people to work perhaps on their laptop computers, or just sit and read, picnic or soak up the sun (although here again the small garden comes into its own in the sun stakes as it is the more open of the two – not so many big mature trees). Evenings generate the occasional social gatherings and space just to relax at the end of the day. But going back to bringing up children in the Barbican, we have a short item on the Barbican’s own children’s playgroup in this issue on p34. The Barbican Playgroup has now been run for 36 years by its founder, Mary Rose Clackson. We have heard recently that its future existence may be threatened by cutbacks in the City Corporation’s budget – a problem which could be being faced by other Barbican organisations which are subsidised directly, or indirectly. We sincerely hope this is not the case and that this Barbican institution – as it now very definitely is – can continue its wonderful work in helping our young get a great start to their lives.

Lawrence Williams 5

Lawrence Williams Editor

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