In this two-minute read, we discover five ways to keep calm during these uncertain times.
Well it’s fair to say that none of us have ever lived through such uncertain times.
The Coronavirus outbreak has caused global uncertainty, panic and anxiety.
It would be disingenuous of us if we said that as a local business impacted by this, we weren’t worried. We all are. It’s a natural response to extraordinary events.
But there are positives. For every panic buying report, there are plenty more incidents of kindness, generosity and community spirit.
And heroes are coming to the fore.
The outstanding work of the NHS staff, retail workers and our emergency services across London is something we all respect and appreciate at AW Childs.
Their selfless actions help bring some reassurance to our current lives and below are five ways, recommended by the NHS on how we can all reduce our anxiety levels.
1) Keep a diary of your thoughts and what is making you feel anxious.
2) To avoid feelings of being overwhelmed, set specific ‘worry time’ in the day to go over what’s on your mind.
3) Shift your focus. The outbreak has seen a significant rise in meditation apps. There are also plenty of free resources on the internet to help learn more about mindfulness and useful breathing techniques.
4) Challenge your thoughts. By asking ourselves ‘is what I’m thinking helpful?’ you can start challenging your ideas and coming up with new solutions.
5) Talking helps. We’re all in this together so call a friend or loved one and have a chat with them about what’s on your mind. Chances are they have the same concerns.
To find out more about what the NHS has to say on this subject, please visit:
As an independent local business, we’re doing all we can to help people in the Barbican get through these challenging times, and we will get through this together.
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay positive, and if you know someone who might benefit from the information in this article, please share it with them.
Homeschooling ideas and free resources for families in the Barbican.
In this 90 second read we share a useful list of free internet resources which might prove VERY useful as parents and carers in the Barbican start homeschooling.
Out of all this uncertainty and anxiety has come plenty of positives.
The news yesterday that schools in the U.K. were to shut for the foreseeable future was met with a wave of companies and organisations offering up learning resources for free.
For every instance of selfishness, there’s been plenty more stories of community spirit and kindness.
Here’s a list of some websites people have been generously sharing which will keep the younger members of our community in the Barbican entertained, interested and motivated. Useful for adults too.
Especially useful for maths and computing for all ages but other subjects at Secondary level. Note this uses the U.S. grade system, but it’s mostly common material.
This site is old and no longer updated and yet there’s so much still available, from language learning to BBC Bitesize for revision. No T.V. licence required except for content on BBC iPlayer.
Free to access 100s of courses, only pay to upgrade if you need a certificate in your name (own account from age 14+ but younger learners can use a parent account).
For those revising at GCSE or A level. Tons of free revision content. Paid access to higher level material.
Free taster courses aimed at those considering Open University but everyone can access it. Adult level, but some e.g. nature and environment courses could well be of interest to young people.
Learn computer programming skills – fun and free.
Creative computer programming
All sorts of engaging educational videos
National Geographic Kids
Activities and quizzes for younger kids.
Learn languages for free. Web or app.
Free science lessons
The Kids Should See This
The Kid Should See This – Smart videos for curious minds of all ages
Wide range of cool educational videos
YouTube videos on many subjects
Crash Course Kids
As above for a younger audience
Science awards you can complete from home.
Digital enterprise award scheme you can complete online.
Paw Print Badges
Free challenge packs and other downloads. Many activities can be completed indoors. Badges cost but are optional.
All kinds of making.
Is in U.S. grades, but good for U.K. Primary age.
Listening activities for the younger ones.
A lot of these can be done in a garden, or if you can get to a remote forest location!
Resources for English language learning
Oxford Owl for Home
Lots of free resources for Primary age
Big History Project
Aimed at Secondary age. Multi disciplinary activities.
Blue Peter Badges
If you have a stamp and a nearby post box.
The Artful Parent
Good, free art activities
Red Ted Art
Easy arts and crafts for little ones
The Imagination Tree
Creative art and craft activities for the very youngest.
Educational online games
D.K. Find Out
Activities and quizzes
This is more for printouts, and usually at a fee, but they are offering a month of free access to parents in the event of school closures.
Thanks to everyone in the Barbican and the U.K., and indeed the World, who has shared useful information such as this.
At AW Childs, we are doing all we can to support the community in these testing times. If we can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.
A two-minute summary of the budget for people in the Barbican and City of London
The new Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his budget earlier.
From a property perspective, a lot of his thunder was stolen by the big news which broke around five hours earlier.
An announcement from the Bank of England (BoE) introduced an emergency cut in interest rates to bolster the economy in the ongoing fallout of the coronavirus outbreak.
The BoE reduced rates from 0.75% to 0.25%, taking borrowing costs back down to the lowest level in history.
This should make it cheaper and easier to get a mortgage. And could help maintain and protect the positive momentum in the housing market in The City of London and Barbican since the election in December.
A little surprisingly there was nothing in this budget on help First Time Buyers and not a whisper about the preciously discussed Mansion Tax.
The Coronavirus Budget
The budget’s initial focus was quite rightly trying to protect the people of the UK against the health and financial impact of the Coronavirus with a £30billion fund to fight the disease and its fallout.
There was nothing on the Stamp Duty front apart from a two per cent surcharge on the purchase of UK investment properties by non-resident overseas buyers. This is set to begin in April 2021.
A potential knock-on effect could be less foreign investors creating an opportunity for first-time buyers and smaller domestic landlords. But that, like a lot of things, remains to be seen.
21st Century Planning
There was also a welcome £650m commitment made to provide more than 6000 homes for homeless people and rough sleepers.
Additionally, the Chancellor promised to bring the UK’s planning system ‘into the 21st century’, and there will be an additional £1 billion allocated for the removal of unsafe cladding from residential buildings taller than 18 metres.
Sunak, who has only been in the job a month, announced a freeze on the duties on fuel and alcoholic drinks including cider, whisky, wine and beer.
One of the biggest cheers he received all afternoon was when he declared that £500m a year would be assigned to fixing 50 million potholes across the UK. We’ll drink to that.
To find out more information about what the budget could mean to you and the Barbican property market, get in touch with us or ask us a question on social media.
What Home in Islington Do You Remember the Most?
Two years ago, this week, one of the world’s brightest minds passed away on 14 March 2018.
Professor Stephen Hawking was a genius and his best-selling book A Brief History of Time introduced readers to scientific theories that he, thankfully for most of us, simplified.
At AW Childs we can’t share our knowledge on the Big Bang or Black Holes, but we can remember Professor Hawking by taking you on A Brief History of Homes.
From Mammoths to Mosaics
In the Ice Age, early humans lived in caves. That progressed to dwellings covered with mammoth skins and supported by mammoth bones.
By around 4000 BC people had ‘upgraded’ to huts made from stone with primitive versions of thatched roofs.
Fast forward to Ancient Rome, where we see the rise, literally, of apartments. Poor Romans lived in blocks up to five stories high, which were often badly built with roofs that regularly caved in.
In Britain, during the Roman days, wealthy people built homes inspired by villas in Rome featuring pillars, mosaics and even a first foray into central heating.
Middle Ages to the 1800s
In the Middle Ages, a typical British home had no windows, had a space for livestock and pillows were a luxury for the rich with peasants making do with resting their heads on wooden logs.
The 19th century is recognised as a time when housing for poor people in Britain was particularly dreadful.
But those who were wealthy lived in Victorian houses, some of which we still live in today. Those homes were built during the reign of Queen Victoria between 1837-1901.
20th Century and Beyond
It’s in the 20th century where we see the introduction of the type of homes, we recognise mostly in Islington today.
In 1900 about 90 per cent of the population rented their homes.
A rise in semi-detached, terraced and bungalow properties changed the landscape of Britain during the 20th century.
Both World Wars sparked building booms to house homecoming soldiers (WW1) and to replace areas which were severely hit by aerial bombings (WW2).
In the early 1950s, indoor toilets were still a rarity and seen as a luxury in most households.
The 1960s saw a surge in the number of tower blocks being built.
While there’s been little change in the way homes look since the middle of the 20th century, futurologists are predicting that homes will become smaller, ran by technology and more sustainably built than ever before.
We hope you enjoyed our very brief history of homes.
The homes we tend to remember most are the ones filled with memories.
The places we grew up in, where our children took their first steps, where we fell in love and where we feel most settled.
At AW Childs, we feel privileged in playing a role in helping people find homes they remember forever.
We’d love to know what’s the most memorable place you’ve ever called home and why?
In this 2-minute read, we discover one of the World’s most expensive palaces and why people in Islington prefer their own simpler home comforts.
Close your eyes and imagine the palace of your dreams.
On second thoughts, don’t close your eyes because you won’t be able to read the rest of this article.
Right then, when you think of palaces the one which springs to mind for many people in the UK, and indeed the World, is Buckingham Palace.
Truly a place fit for a Queen. And here’s why.
Queen Elizabeth’s London home is worth between £1billion and £2 billion depending on what internet source you look at.
Quite a difference in opinion but one thing is for sure, and that’s with the following features and benefits Buckingham Palace is up there with the most desirable residences in the World.
The palace has 775 rooms. That includes 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 78 bathrooms and 19 staterooms.
And if that wasn’t enough to gain a Royal seal of approval it also boasts a cinema, swimming pool, post office, police station, clinic and even a cash machine.
The latter, we find a little ironic as we’ve always been led to believe the Queen doesn’t carry cash.
But according to a survey carried out last year among 2000 homeowners across the UK, you don’t need gold plated taps to make a home comfortable.
The survey, carried out by a hotel company, listed 50 things people said were truly home comforts.
And in our experience in Islington, the findings ring true.
Here are the top ten.
1 – Your bed
2 – A proper night’s sleep
3 – Home-cooked food
4 – Comfortable sofa
5 – Family around you
6 – Your favourite film or TV programme
7 – A cup of tea
8 – Getting into your comfy clothes
9 – Your own toilet
10 – Laptop/tablet/computer
We’d probably add reliable, fast broadband to the list.
What would you add?
We love helping people in Islington find homes where they feel at their best.
So, if you are thinking of buying, selling, renting or letting, get in touch with us.
While we can’t promise you a palace, we will do all we can to treat you royally.
Thanks for reading.
DIY Trouble? Leave it to the experts in Exmouth market EC1R
In this 2 minute read, we will discover some DIY Disasters and why it pays to use professionals.
The Do it Yourself industry in the UK is valued at around £7billion a year.
But according to a survey from consumer champion Which? DIYers are worth considerably more to tradespeople who are called in to rectify and repair some of the calamities left behind by household ‘Have a go’ heroes.
Check out these horror shows as reported by Which? Trusted Traders.
Plumbing the Depths
‘Many people try and fit their bathroom suite and then wonder why the water isn’t draining away. It’s usually down to poorly installed pipework or no fall/drop on the wastewaterpipe. The worst I came across was an incorrectly fitted soil pipe which caused the bathroom to stink to high heaven. It ended up being costly for the homeowner.”
“We were called into a property where the customer complained his new boiler was leaking and he could smell gas. He admitted he had installed it himself, which was illegal because he was not Gas Safe registered. There were several potentially fatal errors he’d made such as pipes not being fitted correctly and the boiler being too close to the ceiling. Thankfully we were able to rectify his errors quickly and make the boiler safe for him and his young family.”
Not such Bright Sparks
‘The worst DIY I have seen was a 1.5mm lighting cable that had been used for a ring circuit in a house when it should have been 2.5mm. A cable like this on a 32Amp circuit breaker is likely to fail or melt under a high load or fault condition before the circuit breaker trips out, putting the whole house and anyone in it in danger.’
Call in the Experts
There are certain jobs around the home when calling in an expert is, without doubt, the best way forward.
It’s the same when you’re selling a property. There’s a lot more to successfully selling your home than meets the eye.Doing it ‘on the cheap’ can prove a nightmare at best and a disaster at worst.
At AWChilds we’ve 20 years’ experience of helping people in Exmouth market sell and buy homes successfully. It’s what we do — day in, day out.
And as local property experts, we can also put you in touch with trusted tradespeople who can do your job properly. Feel free to get in touch, and we will be delighted to introduce you to them.
New Property In Westminster’s Historic Ashley Gardens
Some property buyers are looking for a home with more than a little wow factor. Our new instruction, at London’s stunning Ashley Gardens, more than fits that bill. Based in the heart of London’s exclusive and historic Westminster, this home is distinctive, to say the least. Located within a short walk of Westminster Cathedral, the building shares the same design cues and brickwork as its illustrious and iconic neighbour. Ashley Gardens is situated next to Morpeth Mansions, the former home of illustrious characters such as Lloyd George and, most famously, Winston Churchill.
We are delighted to offer for sale this contemporary architect designed two double bedrooms, two-bathroom apartment located in the prestigious Ashley Gardens.
The property benefits from – high ceilings and sash windows – and the modern needs of a home. The design makes optimal use of the provided space, with neat design features and a vast array of built-in cupboards.
The property has been created with little expense spared, with hardwood flooring throughout (apart from the tiled bathroom) and neutral décor.
There is an open plan kitchen/living room with a modern, well thought out kitchen, which provides ample storage options, and everything that an amateur chef could need. The room benefits from well-placed sash windows which provide welcome natural light.
There is a master bedroom with ensuite and a smaller bedroom that will easily accommodate additional guests. As well as the ensuite in the master bedroom, there is also a separate bathroom complete with shower and WC.
All in all, this is a well thought out apartment that optimally uses its space. The modern feel is complemented by the apartment’s period features, and the amazing location means that this home will not be around for long!
Located in Westminster, the property is surrounded by numerous travel and entertainment options. The property has several underground and overground stations within walking distance, not to mention the bus links. There are also historic monuments galore, many of which will be on your doorstep, including Westminster Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. There is easy access to other fantastic local amenities such as amazing schools (the property is a short walk to Westminster School) and an array of gyms, there are also a surprising number of supermarkets located close by, including a large Sainsbury’s that is 10 minutes away. Like to eat out? There are numerous highly regarded restaurants located close by, including Michelin starred A. Wong and the ever-popular pizzeria Franco Manca. The area’s amenities mean it is incredibly vibrant while still managing to maintain a sense of historic importance as the focal point of Britain, as it has been for centuries.
While the local amenities are great, what about the amenities that come with the property itself? Well, for starters, there is a 24-hour porter, a modern video-phone entry system, a lift and even an estate manager to help to deal with problems quickly and efficiently. There is also a communal hot water system, the cost of which is included within the annual service charge for the property. As well as benefiting from this communal hot water supply, you will also benefit from some of the lowest council tax rates in the country.
If you wish to find out more about this distinguished apartment, call AW Childs today.
American Icon To Play The Barbican
Cult American rocker Iggy Pop is set to play an exclusive show at local events hub, The Barbican Centre, on the 21st of November. The show, which is part of EFG London Jazz Festival 2019, is set to feature the singer’s newest album, Free, in its entirety. The album, Iggy’s 18th solo effort, has received critical press acclaim with NME noting “Free is a liberating collection that unshackles the star from his past and his insecurities, and slowly cracks open a door to version (sic) of the future that will inevitably arrive when he’s ready.”
The choice of venue is not really a surprise, The Barbican Centre has played host to many top names over the years and houses the world-renowned London Symphony Orchestra. It has also been renovated over the years to ensure that it provides one of the best acoustic backdrops in the capital. The centre is also famous for its art exhibitions and has featured such highlights as Jean-Michel Basquiat’s first-ever large scale exhibition in the UK. The show was so culturally important that elusive artist Banksy even created a mural close to the centre in order to pay homage to the late artist’s work. Basquiat’s distinct style certainly seems to have been a factor in the way that Banksy creates his work, and his mural is a fitting tribute to the tragic rise and fall of an American icon.
While this specific one-off gig is to be played at The Barbican Centre, the rest of the EFG London Jazz Festival is based at another thriving local arts hub, King’s Place. The North London centre will be home to nine days of music featuring artists from across the globe. Starting on the 15th of November and ending on the 24th, the festival offers a fantastic opportunity to enjoy live music from various acts across the jazz spectrum. As well as live music, there are also stunning audiovisual experiences and even shows aimed at getting kids into music from as young as three years old.
Whatever your age group, there is something to see at EFG London Jazz Festival and it is a great opportunity for jazz lovers to explore the edges of the genre with performances from legends such as Courtney Pine and Omar Puente.
The exhibition location really shows that our corner of London really is very culturally rich. As well as these venues, much of what is great about London’s art scene is right here on our doorstep. For culture vultures, this little corner of London is paradise.
While tickets for Iggy Pop’s concert are now sold out, tickets for the EFG London Jazz Festival are available from King’s Place’s website here. There are a huge number of shows over the nine-day festival and there really is something to suit every age and every taste. So for more information, visit the King’s Place website and check out some of the amazing options that are available to see over festival period.
The Barbican Estate At 50
2019 marks a very special birthday for one of London’s truly iconic, if underappreciated, works of architecture. We are, of course, talking about the stunning Barbican Estate. While Britain had been victorious in the Second World War, in the capital, London, you would have struggled to tell. Much of the original City of London had been razed to the ground during repeated aerial bombardments and was desperately in need of reconstruction.
In 1957 the decision to build a brand new estate on the former ward of Cripplegate was taken. 35 acres (the eventual project would actually use 40) were given to the project which took 11 years (1965 to 1976) to complete. The architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon were tasked with creating the estate after their groundbreaking work on the nearby Golden Lane Estate. Their utopian, brutalist design was not without criticism; the design was ahead of its time and divides opinion to this day. The estate officially opened in 1969, though building work and improvements continued for years.
As well as being aesthetically pleasing with its wide-open spaces, stunning water features and intriguing architecture, the estate was also designed with its inhabitants in mind. Features such as a launderette, a nursery, one of London’s largest libraries and even a supermarket meant that the estate’s inhabitants had a great range of amenities on their doorstep which allowed them to have a better quality of life than was available in much of the rest of the city. Indeed the addition of a nursery encouraged the possibility of both parents going out to work, which was the dawn of a new world indeed, and somewhat rare before this point.
Fast Forward To Today
Due to its relatively high cost of rent (set by the City of London), the estate had always been inhabited by the city’s high earners. Today, the estate features many privately owned properties (the Right To Buy Act of 1980 meant that many former council-owned properties were sold) and is no longer under rent controls. This means that the Barbican Estate, as one of London’s iconic pieces of architecture, is priced at the higher end of the capital’s property market, but there are added benefits such as built-in heating that is free for the residents. There is also its location – being so close to the City of London means that many of its residents have very short commutes, saving them money.
The estate has been home to many who work in the city’s financial district and even some MPs. Today, the diverse nature of London is reflected in the estate’s inhabitants. Though priced at the upper end of the market, the estate is home to inhabitants from across the globe and has families of all shapes and sizes living there due to the close proximity of nurseries and schools. Also, somewhat out of keeping with the rest of London, there is a palpable sense of community that can only be fostered by people living in such close proximity and in such a beautiful setting.
The amazing thing about the Barbican Estate is that as the world changes around it, it has kept its appeal. This really is a testament to the quality and ingenuity of the original design. With the design being so far ahead of its time, it has taken the rest of London 50 years to catch up! The estate now sits within one of London’s most desirable areas, this certainly wasn’t the case when it was built. This, you have to say, is an incredible testament, as the development of the estate certainly appears to have positively affected the development of the area around it.
The estate still has some fantastic amenities to this day including its own school, a church, a launderette, a nursery and the iconic Barbican cultural centre. All of this, as well as the incredibly well-kept gardens, a children’s playground and of course the iconic lake, means that to this day, the Barbican Estate is still one of London’s best places to live.
So, here at AW Childs, we salute the Barbican Estate on its half-century. With the estate based on our doorstep, we have years of experience helping people to move into this iconic piece of London’s architectural heritage, and hope that it will continue to grow in popularity as more and more people appreciate the quality and unique living experience that the Barbican Estate provides, 50 years after its groundbreaking inception.
Willoughby House, Barbican
Sometimes a very rare property comes onto the market. A place that has a real wow factor, and could have only been completed by someone who had the vision to create something totally different. Here at AW Childs, we have been tasked with selling a property that fits this description perfectly. Based on our doorstep here in the Barbican, this extremely rare and very unique two bedroom penthouse apartment is the ideal home for those who want space, views and an ideal location in the City of London.
Based over three floors (the fifth, sixth and seventh) of Willoughby House, part of the brutalist masterpiece which is the Barbican Estate, the property benefits from not only amazing amounts of internal space (1,023 sq ft) but also benefits from a rooftop terrace that affords a stunning vista of the City of London – including many of its architectural masterpieces such as The Gherkin. Of course, you do not have to look outside of the Barbican Estate for amazing views, the estate itself is a stunning piece of architecture that you can enjoy from the property.
The home really is stunning and is an ideal example of what can be achieved when there is a spirit to create perfection. This home is not only stunning because of what it is, but it is also stunning because of the high specification of the finish.
The home is ideal for professionals, couples, growing families or even as an investment property. We have previously facilitated the letting on this property so know it, and the vendor, well. Get in touch if you wish to talk about the investment possibility that comes with this property and we can give you a detailed breakdown of rental costs and potential yields.
While the location is ideal, the finish of the property is even better. While it could be easy to lose the feel of a home when it is based over three floors, the care and attention that has been paid here help to ensure a seamless transition from one floor to the next. So, where do we start? Well, you enter the property on the fifth floor and are greeted by the entrance hall which has a coat cupboard and a set of stairs leading you to the main living area. The main living area consists of a west-facing, spacious living room (plenty of room to entertain) with stunning views of the Barbican Estate and its stunning lake (the view is directly above the lake), and also a modern, spacious kitchen featuring gloss worktops and cupboards. The kitchen also features integrated appliances to keep visual clutter to a minimum and maintain the sleek, modern look. A Bosch oven and separate microwave are integrated into the kitchen to ensure maximal usage of space. There is also an electric hob that ensures efficient and easy to clean cooking for the chef of the household.
Between the fifth and sixth floor is a half-landing that houses the large, updated bathroom. The room has been tastefully updated and provides a shower, bath and separate WC. The room is easily big enough to cater to the needs of a growing family if required.
Moving to the sixth floor, there is the second of the double bedrooms, which is spacious and comfortable. Ideal for a growing family, the second bedroom offers plenty of options for guests and family members.
Now onto arguably the best feature of the property: the seventh floor. On this floor are the master bedroom and the rooftop terrace. The master bedroom is extremely spacious and features huge windows that allow in huge amounts of natural light. Being behind the terrace, the room is also well hidden for those who love natural light but also value privacy. The bedroom leads directly out onto the terrace which, due to its size, will comfortably allow several adults to sit outside and enjoy those summer evenings spent just enjoying the amazing views of the cityscape around them.
One of the major attractions of this property is the area in which it is based: the Barbican. Housed inside the Grade II listed Barbican Estate, this home benefits from not only the amazing architecture of the Chamberlin, Powell & Bon designed estate that features a lake and gardens, but also the wider attractions of this most vibrant area of the City of London. There are amazing bars, cafes, shops and even world-renowned cultural hubs such as the Barbican Centre on your doorstep. You are also walking distance from the buzzing neighbourhood of Clerkenwell and the incredible Smithfield Market. For those who love city living, this property really is second to none.
For those who live in the city, transport is vital. This property is also ideal for those who need to travel into the city for work or perhaps even further afield. The following stations are all within easy reach of the property: Barbican (Hammersmith & City, Circle and Metropolitan Lines) and Moorgate (Northern, Hammersmith & City, Circle and Metropolitan Lines). Crossrail will also be connected to Farringdon once completed and will allow for quick fuss-free travel across London. There will be excellent links to both Berkshire and Essex, and there will also be direct trains to Heathrow, allowing an easy way to jet off for business or leisure. Due to its location, getting around the city could not be easier.
Get In Touch
Properties such as these do not come onto the market very often. This property, in particular, is an incredibly rare gem in an ideal location. If you wish to know more then call AW Childs estate agents today on 0203 693 9444 for more information. We have looked after this home as a rental property for many years and are very well placed to help. So call today or email us at [email protected] and a member of our team will be happy to help you with your query.