November 1972. Breton House was part of Phase IV of the City’s building programme for the Barbican site. The contractor was Myton Limited, a subsidiary of Taylor Woodrow.
Breton House is a terrace block on the northern boundary of the estate. It runs out at right angles from the middle of Ben Jonson House.
Flats either face east (and overlook Whitecross Street) or west (and overlook the beautiful Cripplegate Free Library building and Golden Lane).
In many ways, Breton House is a mirror image of John Trundle Court. They share virtually the same basic structure, from raised entrances to the buildings up flights of stairs, to virtually identical flat types once you get inside. The stairs lead to lobbies which each serve a cluster of flats.
There are 99 studio flats on 6 storeys (mezzanine and floors 1 to 5), and 12 two-room penthouse maisonettes on the floor 6 and roof-top storeys. Flats are numbered 1 – 111. The studio flats on the lower floors are almost exclusively of Type F1A or Type F2A; and the one bed-room penthouses are Type P2A. (The entrance is on floor 6, and the roof-top storey is the internal upper floor of the maisonette.) There is a sub-podium level but no flats there. Instead if you look down, you peer through sub-basement windows into what looks like the super-villain’s command centre in a James Bond film.
There are several raised entrances up single flights of external stairs which then lead to internal staircases. The lift shaft No. 67 has an 02 level for a fire escape iwhich leads into an area where they heap all the recycling bins and which then opens onto Golden Lane, next to the entrance to the residents car park.
Lifts and staircases
The lifts open on each floor onto lobbies which each serve a cluster of five flats. The lift shafts are ‘South’ No. 65, ‘Central’ No. 66 and ‘North’ No. 67.
There is access to the Ben Jonson House / Breton House Car Park at 03 level.
I am not aware of any stores.
Breton Highwalk (the section of podium surrounding Breton House) has quite extensive flower beds built into the surface, with raised bricked walls. On the west side of Breton House, the bushes have grown into a virtual jungle. On the east side, the flower beds are more orderly but they seem to surround anti-tank pillboxes.
List description of this building issued by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (as it then was) in 2001.
“Block XVIII: 1-111 Breton House. Seven storeys and rooftop, entered from three entrances at mezzanine level above podium, with spinal corridor and rooms at podium level on north-east elevation. The block is supported on paired columns which support the cross walls, with cross beams expressed externally. White painted soffits. Roof-top flats have higher, full-glazed round-arched form, eight to the block, set in pairs save at the ends, set behind balconies, forming a white roof-line. The lower floors have three windows per bay, each with central varnished wood door opening on to balcony, with planting boxes behind metal and glass balustrades. The steps up the mezzanine entrances are tiled, and each has a glass door”