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Barnes from Bridge.JPG
Barnes riverside from the bridge
Barnes is located in Greater London
Area 4.50 km2 (1.74 sq mi)
Population 21,218 (Barnes and
Mortlake and Barnes Common wards 2011)
• Density 4,715/km2 (12,210/sq mi)
OS grid reference TQ225765
• Charing Cross 5.8 mi (9.3 km) ENE
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district SW13
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament
  • Richmond Park
London Assembly
  • South West
List of places
51°28′26″N 0°14′10″W / 51.474°N 0.236°W / 51.474; -0.236

Barnes is a district in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It takes up the extreme north-east of the borough, and as such is the closest part of the borough to central London. It is centred 5.8 miles (9.3 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 Barn Elms playing fields. 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, and taking in the legendary Olympic Studios, which are to be found in Barnes Village. 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

Barnes is in south west London, bounded to the west, north, and east by a meander in the River Thames.


National Rail

Barnes is not on the London Underground network. However, it is served directly by two National Rail stations, both of which are in London's Travelcard Zone 3:

  • Barnes railway station
  • Barnes Bridge railway station

Both stations are served exclusively by trains operated by South Western Railway (SWR), with trains terminating in Central London at Waterloo via Clapham Junction. Trains from Barnes and Barnes Bridge both run eastwards providing Barnes with a direct connection to Chiswick, Brentford and Hounslow. Barnes railway station is also served by trains running southwest towards Teddington and Kingston.

Barnes railway station saw 2.548 million passenger entries or exits in 2018. Barnes Bridge was significantly quieter, with only 0.863 passengers beginning or ending their journey at the station.

Nearby railway stations can also be found at Putney and Mortlake.

London Underground

There are London Underground connections in neighbouring Hammersmith, where two stations serve four lines: the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines and the District and Piccadilly lines. From Hammersmith, there are direct connections to the City and the West End. There are also direct connections to Heathrow Airport, Ealing, the East End and Rayner's Lane.


Barnes has two River Thames crossings. Barnes Railway Bridge is a railway bridge with an adjacent footpath. Hammersmith Bridge is a suspension bridge to the north of Barnes, built in 1887. It is currently closed indefinitely to all motor traffic due to structural faults. This has impacted on residents of Barnes who previous relied on the crossing.

Many of the roads in Barnes are residential, but several arterial routes pass through the district, carrying traffic across London and South East England.

The South Circular Road (A205) passes through the southern end of Barnes. It carries traffic eastbound towards Wandsworth, Clapham, the City of London and south east London. Westbound, the road carries traffic away from Central London, either towards Richmond and the M3, or directly to the M4 and the North Circular Road (A406). Kew and Chiswick are en route to the M4. The A306 runs north–south through Barnes, carried by Castelnau and Rocks Lane. Leaving Barnes to the north, the A306 crosses Hammersmith Bridge towards Hammersmith, where traffic meets the Great West Road (A4), which links to Earl's Court and the West End. Southbound, the A306 eventually meets the A3 towards Guildford and Portsmouth.Transport for London (TfL) manages the South Circular Road and the A306 (south of Barnes only).

Barnes High Street and Church Road carry the A3003, which runs between Barnes and nearby Mortlake.

Other roads which cross the Thames nearby are Chiswick Bridge (A316) to the west and Putney Bridge (A219) east.

Air pollution

The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames carries out air pollution monitoring in Barnes, both kerbside and in the London Wetlands Centre. There are several sites in Barnes which measure the concentration of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter PM10 in the air.

A site along Castelnau recorded an annual mean concentration of (NO2) at 31μgm-3 in 2017. The annual mean concentration of PM10 was 18μgm-3 at the same site in the same year. Both results show that Barnes' air is the cleanest it has been since 2011, at least. Whilst Castelnau is on the kerbside, the Wetlands monitoring site recorded far lower (i.e. cleaner) results than Castelnau did in 2017, with an annual mean (NO2) concentration at 21μgm-3, and a mean reading of 15μgm-3 for PM10. A monitoring site on Barnes High Street recorded more polluted air than the other, with (NO2) levels at 43.0μgm-3 (annual mean, 2017). This site therefore failed to meet the UK National Air Quality Objective of 40μgm-3 (annual mean) for (NO2).


Barnes is served by London Buses 33, 72, 209, 265, 283, 378, 419, 485 and N22.

The closure of Hammersmith Bridge has severely impacted connections to Hammersmith.


Compared other districts in London, Barnes is poorly connected to London destinations via cycle paths or tracks; cycling infrastructure is limited in Barnes.

There are three key routes which pass through Barnes:

  • National Cycle Route 4 (NCR 4) – this signed cycle route from Greenwich to Fishguard, West Wales, runs mainly on shared-use paths or residential streets but, in Barnes, the route follows Rocks Lane (A306) for a short distance. For cyclists in Barnes, the route provides an unbroken, albeit indirect, route towards Waterloo via Putney and Chelsea. To the West, NCR 4 passes through Roehampton, Richmond Park and Kingston upon Thames.
  • London Cycle Network 37 – Many signs in Barnes still remain along this route, which is part of the discontinued London Cycle Network. The route runs eastbound towards Wandsworth, Vauxhall and the City, or westbound towards Mortlake and Richmond.
  • EuroVelo 2 ("The Capitals Route") – part of the EuroVelo network, EV2 runs from Moscow, Russia to Galway, Ireland. It is unsigned in Barnes, but it follows the route of NCR 4 between Greenwich and Chepstow, Monmouthshire.

Cycles can cross the Thames in Barnes using either Hammersmith Bridge or Barnes Bridge (dismounting to use the footpath). Cycling is permitted along the shared-use path on the southern bank of the Thames between Hammersmith Bridge and Putney Bridge.

River Thames

The river follows Barnes' northern border. The Thames Path passes through Barnes, following the banks of the river.

Transport for London (TfL), in conjunction with Thames Clippers, run riverboat services from nearby Putney Pier to Blackfriars, weekday morning and evenings only. This connects the Barnes area to Chelsea, Battersea, Westminster, Embankment and the City. A Summer River Tour, operated by Thames River Boats, runs from Kew Pier to Westminster, or Richmond and Hampton Court. None of these services stop in Barnes.

Because of the closure to Hammersmith Bridge, a temporary ferry between Barnes and Hammersmith is to be introduced. This is estimated to be open by late September 2021 and is to be operated by Thames Clippers.

Nearest places


Historically part of Surrey, Barnes appears in 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.

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. 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.

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. 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. The park of Barn Elms, formerly the manor house of Barnes, for long the parish's chief property and now an open space and playing field, is believed to be home to the oldest and largest plane tree in London.

The Grade II listed Barnes Railway Bridge, originally constructed in 1849 by Joseph Locke, dominates the view of the river from the Terrace. In 2009, a project began to re-paint the bridge.

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.

Barnes Common and the London Wetland Centre

London Wetland Centre Building, Barnes, UK - Diliff
Entrance to the visitors centre at the WWT London Wetland Centre; on the left is the statue of Peter Scott by Nicola Godden
Bolan Bust
Marc Bolan's shrine, on what would have been his 60th birthday, 30 September 2007
Bulls Head Barnes
Bull's Head
Barnes Pond with the Sun Inn in the background

Barnes Common is an important open space and a local nature reserve. 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. 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

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. 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.

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.

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" 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 is at Rose House, a distinctive 17th century pink-painted building on Barnes High Street.

Places of worship

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

Demography and housing

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.

2011 Census homes
Ward Detached Semi-detached Terraced Flats and apartments Caravans/temporary/mobile homes/houseboats Shared between households
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
Barnes 10,299 4,151 32 26 265
Mortlake and Barnes Common 10,919 4,771 27 32 185


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


Association football
Ebenezer Cobb Morley grave Barnes
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.


Barnes Rugby Football Club's 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

Many notable people with entries on Wikipedia live, or have lived, in Barnes. They are listed in a stand-alone Wikipedia article.

Images for kids

See also

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