Barnes, London

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Barnes from Bridge.JPG
Barnes riverside from the bridge
Barnes is located in Greater London
Barnes shown within Greater London
Area4.50 km2 (1.74 sq mi)
Population21,218 (Barnes and
Mortlake and Barnes Common wards 2011)[2]
• Density4,715/km2 (12,210/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTQ225765
• Charing Cross5.8 mi (9.3 km) ENE
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLONDON
Postcode districtSW13
Dialling code020
EU ParliamentLondon
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°28′27″N 0°14′07″W / 51.4741°N 0.2352°W / 51.4741; -0.2352Coordinates: 51°28′27″N 0°14′07″W / 51.4741°N 0.2352°W / 51.4741; -0.2352

Barnes is a district in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It is located in the extreme northeast of the borough (and as such is the closest part of the borough to central London). It is centred 5.3 miles (8.5 km) west south-west of Charing Cross in a bend of the River Thames.

Its built environment includes a wide variety of convenience and arts shopping on its high street and a high proportion of 18th- and 19th-century buildings in the streets near Barnes Pond. Together they make up the Barnes Village conservation area where along with its west riverside, pictured, most of the mid-19th century properties are concentrated. On the east riverside is the WWT London Wetland Centre adjoining several fields for the three main national team sports. Barnes has retained woodland on the "Barnes Trail" which is a short circular walk taking in the riverside, commercial streets and conservation area, marked by silver discs set in the ground and with QR coded information on distinctive oar signs. The Thames Path National Trail provides a public promenade along the entire bend of the river which is on the Championship Course in rowing. Barnes has two railway stations (Barnes and Barnes Bridge) and is served by bus routes towards central London and Richmond.

Geography and transport[edit]

Hammersmith Bridge at the north end links Barnes to the centre of Hammersmith, the nearest entertainment and high-rise office area.

Barnes adjoins the South Circular Road and Putney, which forms a rival commercial hub to Hammersmith. Unlike Mortlake and Hammersmith, Barnes has no dual carriageways. The locality is one of a minority at its radius from the centre of London in the early 21st century to be defined as suburban by a Greater London Authority paper.[3]

Barnes has two mainline railway stations:

Its nearest tube station is Hammersmith, which also has bus connections to central London.

London Buses serving Barnes are:

Bus map
72 & 283 – East Acton
Hammersmith Bridge
419 – Richmond
Lonsdale Rd.
209 – Mortlake
The Spinney
Barnes Bridge Station
Washington Rd.
Barnes High St.
Newport Rd.
Barnes Pond
Red Lion
Glebe Rd.
Wetlands Centre
Beverley Rd.
Ranelagh Ave.
485 – Wandsworth
265 – Putney Bridge
Barnes Station
33 – Fulwell
72 – Roehampton
265 – Tolworth
London Buses route 209 Barnes Green
Other notes
  • The section with all 3 bus companies is called Castelnau
  • On Church Rd. (The section with Metroline & Go-Ahead) the bus stops are
    from west-east: Barnes Pond, Glebe Rd., Red Lion.
  • The section with only London United that contains Ranelagh Ave. is called Rocks Lane.
  • Route 419 goes on a windy 'round the houses' route between Hammersmith Bridge
    & Barnes Bridge. This is predominantly a hail and ride section.
  • Some 283 buses go to Barnes Pond instead of Wetlands Centre.
Route Start End Operator
33 Fulwell Hammersmith London United
72 East Acton Roehampton London United
209 Mortlake Hammersmith Metroline
265 Putney Bridge Tolworth London United
283 East Acton Barnes London United
419 Hammersmith Richmond London United
485 Hammersmith Wandsworth Go-Ahead London
N22 Piccadilly Circus Fulwell Go-Ahead London

Nearest places[edit]


Milbourne House (18 Station Road), Barnes

Barnes is in the traditional county of Surrey. It appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Berne". It was held by the Canons of St Paul of London when its assets were: 8 hides, paying tax with Mortlake; 6 ploughlands, 20 acres (81,000 m2) of meadow. It rendered (in total) to its feudal system overlords £7 per year.[4]

The original Norman chapel of St Mary's, Barnes' village church, was built at some point between 1100 and 1150, and was subsequently extended in the early 13th century. In 1215, immediately after confirming the sealing of the Magna Carta, Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury, stopped on the river at Barnes to dedicate St Mary's church.[5] The church was added to in 1485 and in 1786. After a major fire in 1978 destroyed the Victorian and Edwardian additions to the building, restoration work was completed in 1984.[6]

Some of the oldest riverside housing in London is to be found on the Terrace, a road lined with Georgian mansions which runs along the west bend of the river. Construction of these mansions began as early as 1720.[7] Gustav Holst and Ninette de Valois lived in houses on this stretch, both of which have corresponding blue plaques. The Terrace also has an original red brick police station, built in 1891. It has been remodelled as flats but still preserves the original features.

The pink-fronted Rose House facing the area's pond dates to the 17th century, while Milbourne House facing the Green, the area's oldest, parts of which date to the 16th century, once belonged to Henry Fielding.[8] The park of Barn Elms, formerly the manor house of Barnes,[9] for long the parish's chief property and now an open space and playing field, is home to one of the oldest and largest plane tree in London, one of the Great Trees of London.[10]

The Grade II listed Barnes Railway Bridge, originally constructed in 1849 by Joseph Locke, dominates the view of the river from the Terrace.

Castelnau, in north Barnes and on the banks of the river, has a small church, Holy Trinity. The area between Castelnau and Lonsdale Road contains a 1930s council estate (including roads such as Nowell Road, Stillingfleet Road and Washington Road), mostly consisting of "Boot Houses", constructed by the Henry Boot company.


A 2014 survey found that Barnes had the highest proportion of independent shops of any area in Britain, at 96.6%.[11][12]

Barnes Common and the London Wetland Centre[edit]

Barnes Common is an important open space and a local nature reserve.[13] Its 120 acres (0.49 km2) dominate the south of Barnes, providing a rural setting to the village and a wealth of habitats including acid grassland, scrub, woodland and wetland. Beverley Brook passes through part of the common before meeting the Thames at Putney.

In April 2001, Barnes Pond dramatically emptied overnight. Although a broken drain was suspected no cause could be conclusively found.[14] The pond was redeveloped and landscaped with funding from Richmond Council and the local community.

Barn Elms reservoirs were turned into a wetland habitat and bird sanctuary in 1995. The majority of the WWT London Wetland Centre comprises areas of standing open water, grazing marsh and reedbed. It is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest as it supports nationally important wintering populations of shoveller (Anas clypeata) and teal (Anas crecca).

Landmarks, trails and events[edit]

The Barnes Trail, a 2.3 mile circular walk funded by the Mayor of London and Richmond upon Thames Council, was opened in June 2013.[15] It gained in 2014 a further QR code-marked extension, along its riverside, which equates to the Thames Path National Trail; part of this is wide, pavemented embankments with Victorian townhouses and the rest is tree-lined green space.[16]

The site of rock musician Marc Bolan's fatal car crash on Queen's Ride in 1977 is now Bolan's Rock Shrine. The memorial receives frequent visits from his fans, and in 1997 a bronze bust of Bolan was installed to mark the twentieth anniversary of his death. In 2007, the site was recognised by the English Tourist Board as a "Site of Rock 'n' Roll Importance" in its guide England Rocks.[17]

A cinema, Olympic Studios on Church Road, is independent, showing a mixture of films on general release and art films. Originally a local cinema and for many years a leading recording studio, down the decades Olympic played host to some of rock and pop's greatest stars, from the Beatles, who recorded the original tracks of "All You Need Is Love" in Barnes, to the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Queen, Eric Clapton, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Nilsson, the Verve, Massive Attack, Duran Duran, Coldplay, Madonna and Björk.

Facing the Thames, and on the main commercial street's junction, the Bull's Head pub is known as the "suburban Ronnie Scott's"[18] and was one of the first and most important jazz venues in Britain from the post-war years onward.

The Old Sorting Office Arts Centre is a venue for art and fringe theatre, hosting numerous exhibitions and theatre productions, as well as a regular auction. Actors who have performed at the venue include Patricia Hodge, Stephanie Cole, Timothy West, Julian Glover and Robert Pattinson.

The area around Barnes Pond is host to several open-air and covered markets each month. Barnes Green is the site of the Barnes Fair, held each year on the second Saturday of July and organised by the Barnes Community Association (BCA), whose headquarters are at Rose House, a distinctive 17th-century pink-painted building on Barnes High Street.

Places of worship[edit]

Barnes has eight churches, of which six are members of Churches Together in Barnes:[19]


Barnes and Mortlake History Society
Legal statusregistered charity (number 292918)[20]
Region served
Barnes, Mortlake and East Sheen[21]
Paul Rawkins[20]
Main organ
Barnes and Mortlake History Society Newsletter (four times a year)[21]

Barnes and Mortlake History Society, founded in 1955, promotes interest in the local history of Barnes, Mortlake and East Sheen. It organises a programme of lectures and other activities on historical topics and publishes a quarterly newsletter.[21]


Association football
Grave of Ebenezer Cobb Morley in Barnes Cemetery, with a wreath commemorating 150 years of the Football Association

Barnes has a place in the history of football. First, a former High Master of St Paul's School, Richard Mulcaster, is credited with taking mob football and turning it into an organised, refereed team sport that was considered beneficial for schoolboys. St Paul's School is currently sited on Lonsdale Road, although in Mulcaster's time it was at St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London.

Barnes was also home to Ebenezer Cobb Morley, who in 1862 was a founding member of the Football Association. In 1863, he wrote to Bell's Life newspaper proposing a governing body for football, and this led to the first meeting at the Freemasons' Tavern where the FA was created. He was the FA's first secretary (1863–66) and at his home in Barnes he set out the first set of rules for modern football, and these were adopted by the FA and subsequently spread throughout the world. As a player, he took part in the first match played according to today's rules. Morley may be considered the father of football for his key role in establishing modern Association Football.

Barnes has a non-League football club, Stonewall F.C., who play at Barn Elms Playing Fields.[22]


Barnes Rugby Football Club has evidence to show that it is the oldest club in the world in any football code. Its ground is next to the WWT London Wetlands Centre, formerly known simply as Barn Elms.


In rowing, the loop of the Thames surrounding Barnes forms part of the Championship Course used for the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race and the main national head races, the Head of the River Races, for each category of Olympic boat. Three rowing clubs are across Barnes Bridge which can be crossed by foot and St Paul's School boat from Barnes. A statue of Steve Fairbairn who revolutionised technique and equipment in the sport is by the river close to the London Wetlands Centre in the district.


Notable residents[edit]

Only notable people with entries on Wikipedia have been included. Their birth or residence has been verified by citations.

Living people[edit]



  • Jan Pieńkowski (b. 1936), artist, lives in Barnes and is a patron of the Barnes Literary Society.[34]


  • Carl Davis (b. 1936), composer, lives in Barnes.[35]
  • Duffy (b. 1984), singer, lived in Barnes.[36]
  • Tomoyasu Hotei (布袋 寅泰) (b. 1962), Japanese musician, singer-songwriter, composer, record producer and actor, moved to Barnes in 2012.[37]
  • Brian May (b. 1947), musician and astrophysicist, lived in Suffolk Road, Barnes.[38]
  • Roger Taylor (b. 1949), drummer, lived in White Hart Lane.[38]
  • Pete Tong (b. 1960), disc jockey, lives in Barnes.[39]


The house in Barnes where Gustav Holst lived between 1908 and 1913. The house has a blue plaque in his honour[8]


  • Suzannah Lipscomb (b. 1978), historian, academic and broadcaster specialising in the 16th century, lives in Barnes.[43]
  • Dan Snow (b. 1978), historian and broadcaster, grew up in Barnes.[44]


Historical figures[edit]

Those marked § are commemorated in Barnes by a blue plaque.[8]


Artists, architects and designers[edit]


  • George Frederick Handel (1685–1759) lived at the house of Mr Mathew Andrews in Barn Elms in the summer of 1713.[63][64]§
  • Gustav Holst (1874–1934), composer, lived at 31 Gretna Road, Richmond from 1903 to 1908, then moved with his family to 10 The Terrace, Barnes until 1913.[65]§
  • Freddie Mercury (1946–1991), musician, vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Queen, shared a house in Ferry Road.[66]

Lawyers, politicians and statesmen[edit]

  • Major John Freeman (1915–2014), politician, diplomat and broadcaster, lived in Barnes.[67]
  • Lyon Playfair (1818–1898), professor of chemistry and Liberal MP, lived at 26 Castelnau Villas (98 Castelnau), Barnes in 1851, while taking part in organising the Great Exhibition.[62]
  • Sir John Power, 1st Baronet (1870–1950), businessman and Conservative MP for Wimbledon, lived at 1 Queen's Ride, Barnes, from 1908 to 1919.[62]

Scholars, scientists and engineers[edit]

Blue plaque outside 3 St Mary's Grove, commemorating James Henry Greathead's residency in Barnes




Demography and housing[edit]

To give an equal councillor number and electorate, the wards in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames are multi-councillor but aim to be equally sized. To achieve this, approximately half of one of the two wards covering modern Barnes also falls within the boundaries of neighbouring Mortlake.[84]

2011 Census homes
Ward Detached Semi-detached Terraced Flats and apartments Caravans/temporary/mobile homes/houseboats Shared between households[2]
Barnes 277 1,198 996 1,784 0 41
Mortlake and Barnes Common 167 547 1,765 2,453 1 8
2011 Census households
Ward Population Households % Owned outright % Owned with a loan hectares[2]
Barnes 10,299 4,151 32 26 265
Mortlake and Barnes Common 10,919 4,771 27 32 185



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External links[edit]