The London village everyone loves
A sunny spring afternoon, and the children from St Osmund’s primary school spill out on to the green and clamber up the trees in their blue gingham dresses — the south- west London village of Barnes seems like a throwback to 1950s Britain.
Centred around its duck pond, Barnes offers such traditional village delights as a country-style pub, a butcher, a fish shop, a Saturday farmers’ market and an annual fair every July.
Shenagh Richardson, of the Barnes branch of Savills estate agent, says it is this village atmosphere that draws people to the area. “Barnes feels very rural and this appeals to families with young children who also like the good schools and the easy commute into central London. The Swedish School in Lonsdale Road means there is a big Swedish community.”
For fans of 1970s pop music, Barnes will always be where Marc Bolan of T Rex died
There is also a big celebrity community, with Tim Rice, Aled Jones, Tim Henman, Rik Mayall, Anneka Rice and Peter Bowles all settled there.
Barnes is marooned in a large loop of the River Thames. Some of the village’s oldest and most desirable houses are on The Terrace, a row of quaint Georgian houses with an array of picturesque ironwork balconies overlooking the river. For fans of 1970s pop music, Barnes will always be where Marc Bolan of T Rex died in a car accident in 1977 and the shrine in Queen’s Ride which marks the exact spot has become a place of pilgrimage.
Properties: Georgian houses are scattered around the village but it is the large Victorian and Edwardian homes that dominate the area. Most famous are the red brick “Lion Houses”, with their terracotta detailing and proud rooftop lions. There are also 1920s properties on the Lowther Estate and flat-fronted Victorian cottages off White Hart Lane in the area known as Little Chelsea.
There are spacious mansion flats in Elmbank Mansions close to Barnes bridge and Riverview Gardens near Hammersmith bridge, as well as two 1990s developments: Harrods Village and Barnes Riverside. In north Barnes are the cheaper Henry Boot houses on a 1930s cottage estate.
The area attracts: mainly families although Shenagh Richardson says she has noticed an increasing number of young professionals who go for flats.
Staying power: High because Barnes has a devoted following.
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Postcodes: Barnes is in SW13, although towards Mortlake, west of White Hart Lane, it becomes the less expensive SW14, which is the Sheen postcode.
Best streets: Castlenau is Barnes’s premier street. This is the long road leading south from Hammersmith. The large Regency villas with their own coach houses, known as the Forty Thieves, sell for about £3.5 million.
The most expensive house currently on the market in Barnes is on Scarth Road, a private street overlooking the Common. The house is on the market for £8 million through Savills (020 8939 6900).
Up-and-coming areas: The roads west of White Hart Lane are cheaper; four- bedroom Victorian terrace houses in First Avenue and Second Avenue, for example, sell for between £700,000 and £850,000.
The Henry Boot houses on the garden estate in north Barnes offer an opportunity. A three-bedroom house there sells for about £325,000 but it will be for cash only because the houses no longer meet building regulations and cannot be mortgaged without major reconstruction. Once rebuilt, they sell for about £425,000.
The London Wetland Centre east of Castlenau is a reclaimed reservoir and one of London’s premier wildlife sites
What’s new: The 1990s saw two new large developments east of Castlenau: Harrods Village and Barnes Riverside. EMI has recently sold the Olympic Studios in Church Road where famous stars such as The Rolling Stones and Coldplay recorded music. Rumour has it that the iconic building is to be converted in to an art house cinema, bar and restaurant along the lines of the Electric Cinema in Portobello Road.
Schools: Barnes is well served by its state primary schools: St Osmond’s, Barnes and Lowther. But it is the private schools that are the big draw.
St Paul’s School (boys) and its prep school, Colet Court; the Swedish School; and the Harrodian. In nearby Hammersmith there are Bute House prep school for girls; St Paul’s School (girls); Latymer Upper (boys) and Godolphin & Latymer (girls); as well as Jacques Prevert, a French primary school.
Shops and restaurants: The high street has a butcher, J Seal; a fishmonger, the Barnes Fish Shop; and a cheese shop, The Real Cheese Shop. There is a small parade on Church Road, opposite the Lion Houses, with Phase 8 a womenswear chain, and a deli called Two Peas in a Pod. At the junction of Church Road and Castlenau there is a good flower shop, Blue Lavender; Luma, an interiors store with an ethical and organic theme; and Karavan, a furniture and interiors warehouse.
White Hart Lane has Tobias and the Angel, selling unusual painted furniture and its own printed fabrics; the Dining Room has antique diner services and Chatterton’s, selling a variety of womenswear brands.
Riva in Castelnau is an Italian restaurant; Sonny’s in Church Road has a deli; the Depot is a popular riverside restaurant at the bottom of White Hart Lane, while nearby Orange Pekoe is the place for a teatime treat.
Leisure and the arts: The London Wetland Centre east of Castlenau is a reclaimed reservoir and one of London’s premier wildlife sites. The Old Sorting Office Community Arts Centre runs theatre, music and community events. The Bull’s Head on Lonsdale Road is a well reputed jazz pub. Rocks Lane is a privately owned sports centre offering tennis, football and cricket facilities.
Transport: Barnes is in Zone 3 and has two railway stations; Barnes and Barnes Bridge. A year’s Zone 1 to Zone 3 travel card costs £1,208. Some Barnes residents take any one of a number of buses to Hammersmith where they can catch the District and Circle, Hammersmith and City, and Piccadilly lines.
Council: Barnes is in Richmond on Thames (Conservative controlled) and Band D council tax for 2010/2011 is £1,597.21.
Average sale prices
One-bedroom flat: £278,615
Two-bedroom flat: £434,400
Two-bedroom house: £554,185
Three-bedroom house: £649,793
Four-bedroom house: £1.08 million
Average rental rates
One-bedroom flat: from £230 to £350 a week
Two-bedroom flat: from £350 to £460 a week
Three-bedroom flat: from £415 to £500 a week
Two-bedroom house: from £415 to £575 a week
Three-bedroom house: from £500 to £925 a week
Four-bedroom house: from £575 to £1,150 a week
Five-bedroom and above house: from £800 to £4,600 a week
Photographs by Barry Phillips
Details correct at time of publication.