Maisonettes, Barbican Estate

“Where the term ‘maisonnette’ is used, this implies a dwelling on two levels connected by an internal private staircase; it is a form of planning which has many technical advantages as well as being popular with some tenants.”

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

North Barbican maisonettes

Ben Jonson House and Bunyan Court contain the North Barbican maisonettes. The are very similar. Both have maisonettes of Types M2A, M2B, M3D, M3E, and penthouse triplexes of Types M3A, M3B, M4A. Types M2A and M2B are the main maisonette types, and Types M3A and M3B are the main triplex penthouse types. (Ben Jonson has in addition two Type M2C maisonettes and two M3C triplex penthouses.)

Breton House has 12 one-bedroom penthouse maisonettes of Type P2A.

John Trundle Court and Bryer Court don’t have maisonettes.

All the flats on the 9th floor of Frobisher Crescent are penthouse maisonettes with at least one extra bedroom up internal stairs.


The towers each have three duplex or triplex penthouse maisonettes (Type 4A, 4B, 4C).

South Barbican maisonettes

Gilbert, Mountjoy and Seddon Houses have Type 35 and 36 duplex penthouses, taking up all most of the 6th and 7th floors. The ends are single level penthouses, except for Seddon House which has one Type 42 and one Type 43 duplex penthouse at the ends.

Willoughby House has a lot of different maisonettes – Types 9091, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99. Types 90 and 91 are the basic one-bedroom types and Types 96 and 97 are the basic two-bedroom types; others are mainly variants of these. It has a lot of duplex penthouses too – Types 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109110, 111, 112, 115. The most frequently encountered duplexes are 110 (one-bedroom) and 109 ( two-bedrooms).

The four blocks round the gardens, facing east-west  – Andrewes, Defoe, Speed and Thomas More Houses – don’t have maisonettes. The exception: Speed House has nine Type 84 sub-podium (or garden) maisonettes.)

The correct spelling is ‘Maisonnette’ – that’s how Chamberlin, Powell & Bon, the Barbican’s architects, spelt it in their reports – but the second ‘n’ has generally fallen out of use.