The main fort of Roman London was built between 90 and 120 AD southeast of where the Museum of London now stands at the corner of London Wall and Aldersgate Street. Around 200 AD walls were built around the city that incorporated the old fort, which became a grand entrance known as Cripplegate. The word Barbican comes from the Low Latin word 'Barbecana' which referred to a fortified outpost or gateway, such as an outer defence of a city or castle or any tower situated over a gate or bridge which was used for defence purposes. The station was opened with the name Aldersgate Street on 23 December 1865 on the Moorgate extension from Farringdon. The station's name was shortened to Aldersgate on 1 November 1910 and it was renamed again on 24 October 1924 as Aldersgate & Barbican. On 1 December 1968 the station's name was simplified to Barbican.
The station is mostly open to the elements, though there are some short canopies. The remains of the supporting structure for a glass canopy over all four platforms (removed in the 1950s) may still clearly be seen. At the west end of the central island platform is a disused signal box. Also from this end of the platforms may be seen the beginnings of the complex of tunnels leading under Smithfield meat market. Livestock for the market was at one time delivered by rail and there was a substantial goods yard under the site of the market. Platform 1 is the most northerly, serving eastbound London Underground services. Platforms 2 and 3 form an island platform, with platform 2 serving westbound services. Platforms 3 and 4 are out of use. A display on the history of the station, including text and photographs, is just inside the barriers, on the southern side of the main entrance corridor. The station has a bridge, payphones and wi-fi.
Connections: Hammersmith + City, Metropolitan. London Buses routes 4, 56, 56, 100, 153 and 243, and night routes N35 and N55 serve the station. Furthermore, bus route 243 provides a 24-hour bus service.