September 1973. Thomas More House was part of Phase II of the City’s building programme for the Barbican site. It was known as Block XI until completed. The original contractor was Turriff Limited. But after long delays and labour disputes Turriff were allowed to leave the site and their buildings were completed by John Laing Construction Limited.
Thomas More House is a terrace block running east to west along one side of Thomas More Garden, the largest of the Barbican gardens. It runs from Aldersgate Street as far as The City of London School for Girls.
The building consists of eleven and a half bays between giant concrete columns. Each bay contains a staircase and lift. In each bay on each floor there are two flats, one on either side of the staircase unit. The flats ‘wrap round’ the staircase unit at front and back. The bays are subdivided into three ‘room’ spans, so that one of the two flats has a two room span and the other has a one room span at front or back. As a result, on most floors, the flats are ‘L’-shaped and fit together round the staircase units so that one has a two span living room and a one span bedroom and the other has a one span living room and two bedrooms. This pattern is repeated along the building. There are seven storeys above podium with two storeys beneath. The podium is open under the upper structure of the building and has glazed entrances to nine bays. The top floor (which has to be reached by a flight of stairs) contains two penthouses per bay with barrel vaulted roofs and ceilings. At the eastern end the building abuts Mountjoy House. Part of the City of London School for Girls is underneath the building.
Thomas More House is an ‘east-west’ or ‘front to back’ block which means that it runs from east to west and the flats go through the whole depth of the block with living rooms facing south and bedrooms facing north.
Thomas More House is one of four very similar terrace blocks: Andrewes House and Speed House which face each other over Speed Gardens and the lake; and Thomas More House and Defoe House, which face each other over Thomas More Gardens. They each have penthouse flats at the top, ‘garden’ flats below the podium level, and regular flats in between. However, although many of the same flat types make up most of the flats in each house, there are many differences – most markedly in the nature of the ‘garden’ of sub-podium flats which are very different in each block.
Thomas More House contains 155 flats ranging in size from one to four rooms. Above podium level there are six storeys of flats and one storey of penthouse flats. The living rooms of the flats above podium level look south across the tennis courts and landscaped area behind the City of London School for Girls, while the view north is over Thomas More Gardens. There are three storeys of flats below podium level. The flats on the lowest garden level are studio flats. Above, are two upper levels of larger garden flats. All have living rooms facing onto the gardens as opposed to the flats above the podium which are oriented the other way round.
There are glazed entrance doors at podium level on Thomas More HIghwalk for each staircase. There is an entrance at 03 level off the cobbled road at the back which is the road into the car park. (There are two buttons in the lift fort 03 level, one so that the door opens onto the car park, and the other for owners of the lowest garden flats who need the other door to open on the building side where their flats are.). There are gates directly onto Thomas More Garden which provides access from the gardens.
Lifts and staircases
The building is divided into eleven and a half bays between giant columns. Each bay with flats above has a staircase and lift, which serve two flats on each floor. There are 10 staircases numbered 15 to 24.
At 03 level is the Thomas More Car Park, whose entrance is down the ramp off Aldersgate Street. Some cars are also parked right next to the lifts under Thomas More House.
I have not located the tenants’ stores.