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The main feature of Barnes Green is the pond. Today it is a peaceful place to sit and watch the world go by or feed the ducks, but well into the 19th century it was just the village pond, where cows stopped for a drink and horses and carts were driven in to clean up after a muddy trip along the unmade roads.
Over the course of 48 hours in April 2001 Barnes Pond mysteriously emptied. The Barnes Community Association launched a Pond Appeal for £200,000 and this, together with a Council grant of £60,000 and advice from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, enabled experts to be employed to reline and restore the pond, which was refilled in April 2003. During the final stages of the work the cause of the mystery was discovered: a six-inch outlet pipe had somehow become unplugged, causing the water to drain away so rapidly, although what caused the plug to come out is still a mystery. The pipe now forms the emergency overflow.
On Barnes Green next to the Pond, Age UK Richmond's Barnes Green Centre has nearly 400 members. Activities on offer range from Pilates to computer classes, acupuncture and art. The FiSH Voluntary Community Care Scheme, www.fishhelp.org.uk offering help with practical tasks, support and friendship to anyone in need in Barnes, Mortlake and East Sheen, also has an office in the Centre.
Walk along the side of Barnes Green, past Barnes Pond (opposite the Sun Inn), and cross Station Road to find Oar 5, Station Road and The High Street, on the grassy traffic island
On the sign:
The Grange is an 18th century house opposite Barnes Green with attractive early 19th century railings. The School next door has existed since 1900 when a community of French Nuns took on the adjoining houses which date from the 18th and 19th century.
In the middle of the Green is the former village school which has pretty bargeboards. It was founded in 1775 and was the size of a small cottage but as the demand for education increased it was added to substantially. Elm Cottage was built for the village schoolmaster. Bowls was played on the village green at the site of the school in Tudor times but when the school was built on the site, this ancient club was moved to the rear of the Sun Inn, where its Green has been in constant use ever since.
The pond (first mentioned in a manorial survey of 1649 but most probably older than the village itself) reminds us that Barnes is on a flood plain and within a meander loop with much surface water. Indeed there were also a series of small ponds and streams on the Green until the 19th century.