Studio Flats, Barbican Estate

We don’t count kitchens and bathrooms when we talk about numbers of rooms.

In a studio flat you live and sleep in the same room. The old fashioned word for such a flat was ‘bed sit’. (‘Bed-sitting-room’ is the technically correct word and spelling, but In University slang, it was shortened to bed-sitter, bed-sit, and eventually to plain ugly ‘bedsit’.) Most people nowadays prefer ‘studio’ – with its overtones of the Paris South Bank and La Bohème – whereas ‘bedsit’ suggests coin-operated gas meters and greasy plates.

Most of the studio flats in the Barbican are in the north Barbican, in Breton House, Bryer Court and John Trundle Court. The few in the south Barbican are almost all in Thomas More House.

Breton House has large and small studios. The larger Type F2A studios sit back- to-back, facing east or west. The Type F1A studios are much less deep than the F2A flats because the lift and stairwell take up an equal amount of space between them. There are 66 Type F2As and 33 Type F1As.

John Trundle Court is the same. The larger back-to-back studios are Type F2A and Type F2B flats (which are three inches deeper and with its window on the side, not the front). The smaller flats on either side of the lift are Type F1As as in Breton House. There are 74 Type F2As, 38 Type F1As and five F2Bs.

Bryer Court is different. It’s a shallow building and its studios run from front to back. The Type F1D flats on 1st to 5th floors are typical studios. On the 6th floor there are Type F1E flats which lose a piece of the front room. The 7th floor penthouse flats are Type P1D studios which are similar to the F1Es but with a barrel-vaulted ceiling. There are 40 Type F1Ds, eight Type F1Es and eight Type P1Ds.

Thomas More House has 13 studio flats at upper garden level. There are 11 Type 13s, and one each of Types 12 and 14).

Frobisher Crescent has several studio flat Types: 7.3, 7.6, 7.9,7.10, 8.3 8.3A, 8.3B, 8.6, 8.9, 8.10.

Other scattered studios are: Andrewes House, two Type 78s; Gilbert House, a Type 73; and Seddon House, a Type 44 and a Type 45.

These are the sizes of the main types. They are all the same frontage width – 16′ 9″. So the difference is only in the depth. These are the City’s figures. F2A – 19’3″, F2B – 19’6″, F1A – 10’6″, F1D – 18’0″, F1E – 18’0″, P1D – 18’0″, 13 – 20’3″. They are the ‘maximum’ depth, so they ignore the bite out of the F1E and P1D types. They seem to be measured from the window to roughly the kitchen and bathroom area (which are not part of the measurement).