About the BCA
The Barnes Community Association was founded by its members forty years ago. Then, as now, there were controversial changes proposed in Barnes which could affect the whole community. The founder members agreed that the BCA would channel opinion and influence decisions for the benefit of Barnes, and they raised funds to save Rose House, the 17th Century house, a former inn, from becoming a supermarket. It is now the BCA’s headquarters and home.
In June 2014 the BCA was reconstituted as an Incorporated Charitable Organisation (CIO), a charity whose members have voting rights. The main purpose behind incorporation was to give financial protection to the membership and the trustees. The formal remit, within which the BCA must operate, is as follows.
To promote the benefit of the inhabitants of Barnes and Mortlake without distinction of sex, race, political, religious or other opinions, by fostering a sense of community in the neighbourhood and bringing together the inhabitants, the local authorities and voluntary associations in a common effort:
To advance education and to provide facilities for recreation and leisure-time occupations, in the interests of social welfare, and with the object of improving the conditions of life in the neighbourhood;
To promote the preservation, development and improvement, for the public benefit, of the character and amenities of the neighbourhood;
To establish a Community Centre (“Rose House”) and acquire, maintain and manage, either alone or in co-operation with others, the centre for activities promoted by the BCA and its members in furtherance of the above objects.”
The BCA now confines its activities to Barnes after Mortlake residents formed their own community association, and aims to support the social life of the village, to preserve its character and improve its amenities for the benefit of all.
The members of the BCA are its stakeholders. Membership of the BCA is open to everyone. There are a maximum of twelve trustees whose role is to manage the association, as a charity, in accordance with the constitution. The BCA is run on a day to day basis by a small team of staff and volunteers.
History of the BCA
Over forty years ago, developers had plans for Barnes which would have destroyed its unique ‘village’ identity forever. The most dramatic of these involved development of the stretch of riverside land from Hammersmith Bridge to Small Profit Dock; had this gone ahead, the Leg o’ Mutton would today be filled with nine thirteen-storey blocks of flats, and the site now occupied by St Paul’s School would be a huge shopping centre with high-rise office blocks and more flats! Thankfully, it was prevented by the united efforts of local people.
However, residents at the other end of Barnes also had a battle on their hands, to prevent one of the few remaining historic houses in Barnes, next to St Mary’s Church, from being demolished and replaced. Again, strong and organised local opposition won, and The Homestead was saved.
The groups that staged these successful campaigns eventually came together to establish the Barnes Community Association (BCA), and it was through yet another campaign that the Association acquired its headquarters. Plans were afoot to demolish Rose House, which had once been a 17th century inn, to make way for a supermarket. The newly-formed BCA managed not only to stop the sale, but also to raise the funds to buy Rose House themselves. The former inn became the thriving community centre for Barnes that we still see today.
Maintaining this historic building is costly, and the need to raise funds gave rise to the idea of resurrecting the annual Fair on Barnes Green. The Fair has grown steadily over the years, now attracting an average of 15,000 people throughout the day, and money raised contributes to staff salaries, the upkeep of Rose House, and many community projects. In addition to the Fair, the BCA also organises several other key events throughout the year, in addition to supporting several others.
Illustrations by Jeremy Wilson: Wild About Barnes, The Village on the River. © Andrew Wilson / Unity Print and Publishing 2012