Barnes is a suburban district in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It is located in the extreme east of the borough and is centred 5.8 miles (9.3 km) west south-west of Charing Cross (a point considered to be the centre of London from which distances are measured) in a bend of the River Thames.
Barnes was a local government district in north west Surrey from 1894 to 1965. It was originally formed as an urban district and became a municipal borough in 1932. Prior to 1894 it was an ancient parish and a civil parish in the county of Surrey.
As a local government district it contained the settlements of Barnes, Mortlake and East Sheen. It was part of the London postal district and Metropolitan Police District, but it was still considered to be part of Surrey. The district was bounded by the County of London to the east, the River Thames and Middlesex to the north, and the Municipal Borough of Richmond to the west and south. The area to the north of the Thames opposite Barnes is Chiswick.
The original Norman chapel of St Mary's, Barnes' village church, was built at some point between 1100 and 1150. It was subsequently extended in the early thirteenth century, and again c. 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. In the 20th century 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 apartments 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 (1707-1754). The park of Barn Elms, formerly the manor house of Barnes, which was for long the parish's chief property, is now an open space and playing field.
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.
The Thames Boat Race, held in the spring every year between the rowing teams of Oxford and Cambridge Universities, covers this part of the River Thames.