An Explanation of Flat ‘Types’ in the Original Barbican Estate

There were originally 2,014 flats in the Barbican Estate. In recent years, 69 new flats were created on the top three floors of Frobisher Crescent, and 74 flats have been created from converting the former YMCA Building in Fann Street, now Blake Tower.

There were over a 100 flat ‘types’ or layouts on the original Barbican Estate. Each ‘type’ was given a number by the City Corporation when the Barbican was built. Some types appear in large numbers in many buildings; some are found only once or twice. If you know the flat type, you know the flat! The name may be:

  • a number – ‘Type 19’ or ‘Type 58’.
  • a letter and numbers – ‘F2C’ or ‘M3A’.
  • a number and a letter – ‘2A’, ‘2B’, 2C’.

It probably sounds thoroughly confusing, but if you are looking for a Barbican flat to buy, the estate agents will talk about ‘type this or that’, as shorthand, and you’ll soon get the hang of it and be doing the same.


These are some ‘rules’ of interpretation.

  • A single number and a single letter – e.g. 1A or 8C. It is a tower flat in Lauderdale, Cromwell or Shakespeare Towers. The number is the ‘type’ – the layout – and A, B, C says which side of the tower it’s on.
  • Letter-number-letter – e.g. F1A or P2B or M3C. It is a north Barbican flat. If the first letter is an ‘F’ it means it’s a studio; a ‘P’ means it’s a penthouse; and ‘M’ means it’s a maisonette. (The letters aren’t exclusive: A ‘P’ penthouse may also be a studio, and an ‘M’ maisonette may also be a penthouse.)
  • Numbers only. It is a south Barbican terrace flat – e.g. 19 or 109.
  • If it is numbers and an ‘H’ – like ’35H’ – it is the mirror version of the numbered type. So Type 35H is a Type 35 but reversed as if a mirror was held next to it. It is ‘H’ for ‘handed’ (left-handed, right-handed).