The Postern in the Barbican Estate

“A terrace of 14 houses has been planned flanking the churchyard to the south of St Giles. This block forms part of the podium, and pedestrian access to these houses is at the top floor level while private garages are provided at ground level at the south side, accessible from the road which divides the residential building from the adjacent office development. Each house has five rooms, in addition, a sixth room may be used either for consulting purposes by, for instance, a doctor, or it may be used as a servant’s room. These houses all have roof gardens.”

Chamberlin, Powell & Bon, Architects “Barbican Redevelopment” April 1959


Front page of the City’s original letting brochure

Building completed

March 1971. The Postern was part of Phase II of the City’s building programme for the Barbican site. 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.


If you follow the Gilbert Bridge over the lake, pass under Andrewes House, and then take a dog leg to the left, you will be on the Postern Bridge heading towards London Wall. Postern Bridge is a covered pedestrian way about 12 feet wide. On your left is Roman House in Wood Street (not a very attractive outlook in the past, but recently improved). On your right – in fact, right on the footpath – are the front doors of the Postern properties. At the other end of the Postern Bridge, the Postern joins Wallside and one branch of the podium pathway turns right into Wallside.


There are 7 town houses (on 4 storeys with garages), a maisonette, a flat and the Rectory of St Giles’ Church. (The Barbican Estate Office classify them all as flats.) They are numbered 1 – 10. I get the impression they are mainly linked to the church or used by businesses. They overlook the church and the extension of the lake which runs between the church and the remains of the City Wall.


At the start of the Postern, there are stairs down to St Giles Terrace, where St Giles’ church is. You are now at street level. The back of a restaurant which was fornerly Crowders’ Well pub opens onto it as well. The Postern houses do not have back entrances onto this terrace, although they overlook it.

List description

List description of this building issued by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (as it then was) in 2001.

“Block IX: 1-10 The Postern. Four-storey houses over basement, all clad in glazed engineering brick, and with flat two-step roofs with higher service duct. The houses can be entered at third storey and from street level two storeys below, where there are garages also. Lowest openings
with inverted round-arched form. Long, narrow plans to living and bedrooms on lower floors, kitchen and dining rooms at podium level, with bedroom and roof garden over, all linked via internal dog-leg stairs with open treads. The podium is finished with round-arcaded pattern to mullions supporting balustrade on the open east side.”