Will NoblePreviously Unseen Images Of Barbican Under Construction
Previously archived images of the Barbican under construction are now available online.
The images appear on Historic England's Breaking New Ground — a collection of 2,000 newly-digitised images from the John Laing Photographic Collection.
Laing was established in 1848 as a Carlisle building company by James Laing. It grew to become a major construction company in the UK and internationally. John Laing started work with his father's company at the age of 14, and eventually won the company contracts on some of the biggest projects in the UK, including Barbican.
The company likes to employ photographers to capture its work.
Work began on building London’s Barbican development in 1962, although it wasn't until 1981 — and the opening of the Barbican Arts Centre — that the complex was finally completed.
Another major London project that Laing worked on was London Central Mosque. Its construction was unusual in that the domed roof was built before the walls were.
The mosque's 43-metre-high minaret, meanwhile, was constructed using 'slipforming'; the site team worked in 12-hour long day and night shifts, six days a week, to steadily pour the the concrete that created the tower.
The initial 2,000 images are the first batch of a total 10,000 images that will be accessible to the public by autumn 2020.
Other London images include a photoshoot outside St Thomas' Hospital, feating members of the Laing team working on hospital construction, posing with film star John Wayne. It was taken during the filming of the movie Brannigan.
Among the non-Londony photos on the archive that caught our eye are the construction of the brutalist concrete waves of Preston bus station, the spire-crowning of the modern Coventry Cathedral, and the M1 motorway.
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said: "The Collection offers unparalleled insight into the construction of 20th century Britain... We hope it will shine a light on prominent and everyday British landmarks, and inspire the next generation to enjoy and engage in the built heritage all around us.”