Barnes and Mortlake History Society

Home History Timeline Maps Local People Pictures

Membership Lectures Publications Contacts Links


The early history of Barnes revolved around its ancient manor house of Barn Elms. Originally owned by the canons of St Paul's Cathedral, the house and its gardens were subsequently bought by the Hoare family. The completion of Hammersmith Bridge in 1827 and the coming of the railway in 1846 led to major development, but the dominant local activity remained market gardening until quite recently. The village retains its historic layout with the earlier houses near the green, the pond and along Barnes Terrace.

Barnes Terrace

Along with Barnes, Mortlake was listed in the Domesday Book. The vast Manor of Mortlake included Putney and Wimbledon and was held by the Archbishop of Canterbury until the 16th Century. In the early 17th century a tapestry works was set up, and after its closure market gardening and brewing became Mortlake’s main industries. Mortlake was originally a riverside village and there remain a few early houses dating from the late 15th century along the riverfront today at Thames Bank.

East Sheen was originally a hamlet within the parish of Mortlake and lies adjacent to Richmond Park. During the 18th and 19th centuries it became an area of imposing mansions and villas. However, from the early 20th century many of these fine houses were demolished and the area succumbed to suburban development.