The Anonymous Widower

Going Back to the Barbican

Sometimes it is wrong to go back.  But I’m thinking of going back to the Barbican to live.

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I lived there, with my late wife and our three sons from about 1974 to 1980, on the 11th floor of Cromwell Tower.

It was a good place to be and we enjoyed it.  My middle son has said since that he did too and he has encouraged me to think about going back.

The one thing we avoided whilst in the Barbican was seeing the tragedy of the Moorgate Tube Disaster.  We were away with friends in Edinburgh.

This accident, which killed 43, has never been satisfactorially explained.  I don’t have my own theories, except to say that we may learn more in the next few years about how the brain works and this may provide a clue.  Wikipedia says this.

The autopsy found no evidence of a medical problem such as a stroke or heart attack that could have incapacitated Newson; he did not appear to have taken alcohol, although post mortem testing for this was hampered by the 4½ days it took to retrieve his body from the wreckage. Dr P A B Raffle, the Chief Medical Officer of London Transport, gave evidence to the inquest and the official enquiry that Newson might have been temporarily paralysed by a rare kind of brain seizure (known as “akinesis with mutism” or “transient global amnesia”). In this situation, the brain continues to function and the individual remains aware although they cannot physically move. This would certainly go some way towards explaining why Newson held down the dead man’s handle right up until the point of impact and made no attempt to shield his face. This explanation also supports witness statements that Newson was sitting upright in his seat and looking straight ahead as the train passed through the station.

Even if they did find more, it would all be too late.  Remember though, that now we have MRI scans and the one I had at Addenbrooke’s showed I’d had a previous small stroke.

But I did travel back to Whittlesford from Tottenham Hale once with a very experienced London Underground driver/supervisor, who gave me a very plausible theory.  Nothing I have heard or saw in the last twenty years, conflicts with what I was told.

So has the Barbican changed?

When we were in Cromwell Tower nearly forty years ago, we were rather cut off from the main part of the estate, by the construction work for the Barbican Centre.  Now that is complete and forms an integral part of life in the Barbican.

And they’ve now got a Waitrose in Whitecross Street!

Whether I do return is open to question, but it is a fascinating area in which to live, work and explore.

But in some respects it is more than going back to somewhere that I lived.  Many of my mother’s family were born just north of the Barbican in St. Luke’s.  This was because her father, an engraver, had had his business in the area of the Barbican.  The premises and all of the family’s records were destroyed in the bombing of World War II.

April 11, 2010 - Posted by | World | , ,


  1. […] de Beauvoir Town, as C and I nearly moved there years ago, but instead we went to the flat in the Barbican. 52.245212 […]

    Pingback by Back to Square One « The Anonymous Widower | August 24, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hi my brother lived in the Barbican too , about 1976 to 1979 80 , cant rememeber . he also married in the church there, dont be too hasty about going back …

    Comment by jo | September 13, 2010 | Reply

  3. I’m hopefully going to de Beauvoir Town. But I still like the Barbican and my forty-year-old son remembers our time there with affection.

    Comment by AnonW | September 13, 2010 | Reply

  4. always good to have happy memories must go back for yourself though ..its a great place to live ..

    Comment by jo dior | September 13, 2010 | Reply

  5. sounds like you have a lot of roots in the area,

    Comment by jo dior | September 13, 2010 | Reply

  6. Three of my four grandparents came from South Islington. Father’s family were of German Jewish origin, who came to London to work in the fur trade. Mother’s were Hugenote, who came around 1740.

    Being DUTch, you’d like de Beauvoir. Have you see it on Wikipedia?

    Comment by AnonW | September 13, 2010 | Reply

    • it looks very grand !! love the dutch gables ! you have an interesting history

      Comment by jo dior | September 13, 2010 | Reply

  7. The house I might be buying is modern. In my state, I don’t want any trouble. I’ll e-mail you direct if that is OK. Just say that is alrigh here!

    Comment by AnonW | September 13, 2010 | Reply

  8. Oh sounds like you have already made up your mind …yes its ok to mail me

    Comment by jo dior | September 13, 2010 | Reply

  9. […] remember for that holiday we left early in the morning from the Barbican and first stop was Gretna Green at about 7:30 in the morning.  So when people say I push myself, […]

    Pingback by Over the Sea From Skye « The Anonymous Widower | September 30, 2010 | Reply

  10. […] we never had a pub within walking distance, except when we lived in St. John’s Wood and the Barbican.  But in those cases we could not either not afford to go out for a drink, or pay for a reliable […]

    Pingback by Living with Pubs « The Anonymous Widower | December 17, 2010 | Reply

  11. […] through the city back to the Barbican and the Waitrose in Whitecross Street.  When we lived in Cromwell Tower, there were no supermarkets in the […]

    Pingback by London Takes Charge of One of its Lost Sons « The Anonymous Widower | December 22, 2010 | Reply

  12. […] said in an earlier post that I preferred to use the Waitrose in the Barbican, as it is less-crowded and an easy bus ride […]

    Pingback by Going to the Supermarket Past One of Your Heros’ Grave « The Anonymous Widower | December 24, 2010 | Reply

  13. […] then, a few years later when we lived in the Barbican we would often walk up to the Angel to shop walking right past the City Road Basin on the canal. […]

    Pingback by Along the Regent’s Canal to the Angel « The Anonymous Widower | December 25, 2010 | Reply

  14. […] is almost forty years since C and myself moved into the Barbican with our young family. 52.245212 […]

    Pingback by Forty Years On! « The Anonymous Widower | May 10, 2011 | Reply

  15. […] some ways the nearest to it in feel, was our flat in Cromwell Tower, in the Barbican, where we raised our three sons for the first few years of their lives. There we […]

    Pingback by Is The Cause of HIgh Unemployment Our Housing and Transport Policies? « The Anonymous Widower | May 29, 2011 | Reply

  16. […] I sold my first business, we moved to the Barbican and C went to UCL to do a law degree, as Politics from Liverpool, where your tutor was Robert […]

    Pingback by Do Successful Women Have a House Husband? « The Anonymous Widower | July 3, 2011 | Reply

  17. […] kids in a tower block. Good ones certainly work and my middle son looks back on that flat in the Barbican with its superb views and lots of space with affection.  My late younger son liked it so much, […]

    Pingback by Why does regeneration create so many ugly buildings? « The Anonymous Widower | August 17, 2011 | Reply

  18. […] lived on the 11th floor of one of the towers in the Barbican, I’m not sure that this building would be as nice a place to […]

    Pingback by In Search of Strata « The Anonymous Widower | January 13, 2012 | Reply

  19. […] many won’t I fear. Incidentally, when we lived on the eleventh floor of Cromwell Tower in the Barbican, we didn’t bother to grow […]

    Pingback by The Hanging Gardens of Dalston « The Anonymous Widower | February 29, 2012 | Reply

  20. […] Forty years ago, when I lived in the Barbican, I used to walk across this area and take the bridge that then gave access to streets that led down to Bank, where I worked as a consultant on costing software. The buildings in this area were a group of rather unlovely office blocks, that only demolition would improve. I did find this picture taken five years ago, which shows London Wall in a picture set I uploaded, entitled Going Back to the Barbican. […]

    Pingback by Crossrail’s Big Hole In The Barbican « The Anonymous Widower | May 7, 2015 | Reply

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