The governors of the City of London School for Girls have announced proposals for a significant expansion of the school’s buildings within the Barbican Estate. If approved, the expansion will cause substantial harm to this iconic Grade II and Grade II* listed Estate.
This website, which has been developed by a working group of the Barbican Association, explains what the school’s proposals are, why those proposals are so harmful to the Estate and not in the long-term interests of the school, and how members of the public can get involved to help preserve the architectural heritage of the Estate for future generations.
What are the school’s plans?
The school’s plans include:
constructing a new dining hall and kitchens in the sub-podium space below Mountjoy House, thereby filling in a magnificent Grade II* listed vista;
building a large new multi-storey building at lakeside overlooking St. Giles’ terrace that will damage the architecture of the school’s own Grade II listed building; and
constructing a new building made of wood and glass on top of one of its existing buildings, which will overlook the Thomas More gardens.
Details of the plans are available in a leaflet prepared by the school, which can be accessed by clicking here. Unfortunately, the selected illustrations in the leaflet do not give a full picture of degree of in-fill below Mountjoy House or the impact that the other new structures will have, nor does the section on feedback explain what kind of responses they have received so far (including the many objections and significant concerns that have been raised by the local community and other members of the public).
To view a map showing where these sites are located, please click here.
A History of Continual Expansion
These latest proposals are the most recent in a series of expansions by the school over the last 30 years, with each building project further eroding the architectural balance of the Estate. Did you know, for example, that before one of the school’s previous expansion projects in 1992, the “lakes” in the Barbican Estate were originally a single, long canal forming three sides of a rectangle around St Giles’ Terrace? Please read the brief history of these earlier projects to see photos of what has been lost already and to understand these latest proposals in their full context.
Why are we objecting to these expansion plans?
We invite you to view the short video at the top of the page, which shows some of the stunning architectural features that will be irreparably harmed by the school’s proposed new buildings and explains that there are other options available to the City of London (which owns the school) that not would not only preserve the architectural heritage of the Estate but would also provide the school with the space that it will need for further development and expansion in the future.
Why is it so important to preserve the Barbican? In this short video, three experts discuss its architectural heritage as the Estate celebrates its 50th anniversary. A transcript of the video is available by clicking here.
The working group of the Barbican Association has also recently sent a leaflet to residents in the Estate, which summarises some of our principal concerns regarding the school’s plan.
What is the press saying?
Please click on the images below to read the articles that have been published so far. We will continue to update this section of the website as more stories are published.
If you would like to read or download our press release, please click below.
What can you do to help?
To read our “Call to Action” to residents and other concerned members of the public, please click here. The list of action points include the following:
Sign our petition by clicking here (it just takes a few seconds).
If you are a resident of the Barbican Estate, you can complete a survey by clicking here (there are just four simple questions).
Please write to Catherine McGuinness, the Chair of the Policy and Resources Committee of the City of London (which is one of the most powerful positions in the City), to express your concerns about the impact of these plans. Her contact details for email and letters are available by clicking here. Even a short email of a couple of sentences would help.
If you work in the City, write to the Common Councillors who represent the Ward in which your employer is based. To find out which Ward that is, and the names and contact details of the Common Councillors, click here to search.
In due course, the school will apply for planning permission, which we anticipate will be submitted in September 2019. At that point, we will update this website to provide a link to the online planning application so that people can view the plans in detail and submit their comments if they wish.
We will continue to update this website with additional information, so please come back regularly to see what’s new.
How can I be kept up-to-date on the latest developments?
If you would like to be added to an email list to be notified of significant developments regarding the school’s expansion proposals (including when the planning application has been submitted and is open for public comment) and updates to this website, please provide your name and email address below and then click “submit”.
If you complete and submit the form above, your details will be used only for the purposes of communicating with you about the proposed expansion of the school and to alert you to updates to this website. If at any time you wish to be removed from this list, please email CLSGexpansion@gmail.com and include the word “unsubscribe” in the subject line or the body of the email.
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