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Barnes High Street, along with Church Road, North Castelnau and White Hart Lane, is one of the four main retail areas of Barnes. A comprehensive listing of Barnes shops, pubs, cafés, restaurants and useful services is available on this site.
The car park at Essex House (now a surgery) is home to a thriving farmers' market every Saturday from 10am – 2pm. Details from barnesfarmersmarket.co.uk
A short distance along Station Road is The Old Sorting Office Community Arts Centre (OSO). Opened in September 2002 and recently relaunched, the OSO provides a venue for theatre, music, films, exhibitions, workshops – in fact, anything and everything arts-based and community-based that people can take part in and enjoy. The toilets at the OSO are open to the public.
Most of the events of the Barnes Literary Society www.barnesliterarysociety.org.uk are held at the OSO. The BLS was founded in 2004 to provide a literary focus for members in the local area and beyond, and now has a membership of over 300. The Society organises monthly evening events at which published authors and other speakers talk on a wide variety of literary topics ranging from novels to historical writing, drama, crime and contemporary issues. The OSO is also the venue for auction sales held by Barnes Auctions www.barnesauctions.com every couple of months.
Rose House, on your right at the start of Barnes High Street, historically a tiny pub, is today the centre for the Barnes Community Association www.barnescommunityassociation.org and wider community activities. The reception room is a mine of useful information and leaflets on local topics. The BCA website has a very useful Local Information listing.
Then go down Barnes High Street and turn left into The Terrace, which overlooks the river. Oar 6, The Terrace, is by the zebra crossing. Turning right here, into Lonsdale Road, will take you along the Barnes Trail Extension, which follows (in reverse) much of the course of the Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race. Walk along the flood wall and then follow the towpath. On the right you can detour into the Leg O' Mutton nature reserve, a former reservoir saved from development by local action. The Extension continues along the towpath past Chiswick Eyot (pronounced eight), the small island (at high tide) in the river, and St Pauls School. Details of these are available on Oar E2, which you will find 100 metres south of Hammersmith Bridge, outside The Bridge pub.
Then follow the towpath past the Harrods Depository, the Harrods Village Estate and the Fairbairn Memorial before turning right onto Queen Elizabeth Walk. This takes you past the Barn Elms playing fields and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust's London Wetland Centre into Barnes Village, where you rejoin the Barnes Trail at the Red Lion pub. Further details are available via Oar E1.
On the sign:
Essex House was built in 1913 as a grand private house. Next to it Milbourne House is the oldest private residence in Barnes, with an 18th century facade but a Jacobean interior. The cattle trough opposite was given to the village as compensation when horses and carts had to cease using the pond for cleaning, at the watersplash.
The stocks were located here and during medieval fairs there were races around the pond. As early as 1632 Rose House was recorded as Ye Sign of the Rose, a tiny pub. Barnes High Street used to be a lane (known as le street) leading down to the river, between two great medieval open fields, the Westonfield or Westfield and the Northfield. Here the peasants of Barnes tended their allotted strips of land.
The Coach and Horses dates from the 18th century and the Bull's Head on the river is even older (1649) but was reconstructed with its French style roof in 1845. This pub has held more jazz concerts than anywhere else in London for over half a century.