Thames Tributary Beverley - Barn Elms
Thames Tributary Beverley
The Beverley continues to flow eastwards and into the Thames.
This is where Beverley Brook enters the Thames, having crossed the open fields of Barn Elms, now used for sports. This is where the great house of Barn Elms stood. Around the mouth of the Beverley are a number of sailing clubs.
Post to the west Barnes
Post to the south Putney Boathouses
Post to the north Harrods Village and Fulham Palace Road and riverside
Barn Elms ‘noted as Barnes Elms’ 1540, - meaning obviously 'the elm trees near Barnes'. This was formerly the manor house of Barnes.
Barn Elms. The land and manor belonged to St.Paul's Cathedral and in 15th was the home of Sir John Saye, Chancellor of the Exchequer. The manor house was later the home of Elizabethan spymaster Sir Frances Walsingham who lived here from 1579 and died here in 1590. Subsequently it was home to Sir John Kennedy and then wealthy Mr Hiam and then the poet Abraham Cowley who was visited by John Evelyn and Samuel Pepys The house was rebuilt by Thomas Cartwright in 1694. Later Residents include the 18th- banker and Lord Mayor of London, Sir Richard Hoare. His descendants greatly improved and enlarged the grounds but eventually the estate was sold to the Hammersmith Bridge Company’. The last tenant was the Ranelagh club, an upper class social and sporting club with a strong interest in polo, founded in Fulham in 1878 and based at Barn Elms from 1884 until its demise in 1939. In 1902 the first balloon meeting of the Aero Club of Great Britain was held here. Eventually the land, which belonged to the Church Commissioners, was bought by developers and there were plans for housing. In the Second World War the house was wrecked by the military and the polo grounds used for allotments. From 1946 the grounds were used for sports by the local authority. The house was badly damaged in a fire and finally demolished in 1954.
Queen Elizabeth’s Dairy was a house, now demolished, north of the main house. This is where in 1703 Jacob Tonson a publisher who died in 1736, built a room for the Kit-Cat Club -and later a special building was added - and hung it with the portraits of the members - painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller which are now in the National Portrait Gallery. It was demolished after a fire in 1954.
The grounds seem in the 17th century to have been at least partly public, for Samuel Pepys often used them for picnics among others and for duels. Its ancient elms fell victim to Dutch elm disease
Shadwell’s Pond. This is the remains of the Ornamental Lake. During the time of the Ranelagh Club there was an open air theatre beside the lake. It was filled in after the Second World War. The remains are used by he Barnes and Mortlake Angling Club,
Ice House on an artificial mound into which its pit extended. Trees now growing on it and researchers have been unable to locate the entrance. Used as dressing rooms for the players in the theatre in the days of the Ranelagh Club.
Barn Elms Park. Through which the last few yards of the Beverley Brook flows below intersecting roads in the grassy Barnes Common.
Barn Elms Schools Sports Centre
Barn Elms Farm. This was the politician and writer, William Cobbett’s, experimental farm in the late 1820s and where Rural Rides was probably written. Between 1827 and 1831 Cobbett tried growing maize and practice of self - supporting husbandry. The last farmer was Francis Trowell
Wandsworth and South Bank sailing clubs, with a slipway down to the river. In 1952 a group of London County Council staff formed a sailing club and in 1956. Got a site next to Schools Rowing Centre at Barn Elms the club house and all the boats were lost in a fire in 1972 and a new club house was built with insurance money.
Beverley Brook exit to the Thames and small dock. Bridge carries the footpath over the stream. Leaders Gardens. Named after John Temple Leader, a local landowner. Opened in 1903 and enlarged in the late 1970s taking over the site of the council depot. There is a set of original railings surrounding the Gardens. These have large ornamental ball finials topped with tall spikes. There are some traditional seating benches with cast metal end frames and timber planks forming the curved seat and back and also some good back-to-back benches. The statue 'Exodus' by Alan Thornhill, part of the Putney Sculpture Trail is between the café and the children's playground.
Mile post obelisk. Eleven foot granite obelisk to Stephen Fairbairn. Australian rowing coach who used to watch the boat race from here – a mile from the starting point. 1963 unveiled by George Drinkwater a rowing blue.
Thames Rowing Club. This dates from 1879. The original first floorbalcony is now enclosed but is supported by its original cast iron columns
Imperial College Boat Club.This dates from 1937 and was designed by architect Brian Sutcliff with sleek Moderne lines. It has a a wave motif on the rendered panel beneath its Crittall windows. A contemporary extension was added in 1997 by John McAslan and Partners .
Mackenzie Wheeler,. Offices. The building was previously the boathouse of Edmund Norris, oar and scull manufacturer. The original timber balcony has been replaced with a modern metal structure and the facade remodelled
Ashlone Wharf. This is the council’s old tipping wharf by the river. Currently in use by a number of council sponsored boating organisations
Sea Cadet Corps in the old council depot. There are small timber unloading hatches beneath some of the first floor windows and a lower single-storey structure in matching brick added to the rear.
Barnes and Mortlake History Society. Web site.
British History Online. Barnes
Clunn. The Face of London
Greater London Council. Thames Guidelines
Imperial College Boat Club. Web site.
London Borough of Richmond. Web site
London Borough of Wandsworth. Web site
Metropolitan Water Board. London’s Water Supply
Pevsner and Cherry. South London,
Victoria County History. Surrey
Wandsworth Sailing Club. Web site
Wheatley and Meulancamp. Follies