Archive for April, 2010

“dare to joust” in White Hart Lane, will be hosting weekly sessions of life drawing classes commencing Tuesday May 11th and continuing every Tuesday for 8 weeks. Classes run from 7.30-9.30pm.

All levels of experience welcome. Tuition will be provided for those that require it. We supply easels, paper, inks, charcoal. Male & female models. Refreshments, music and a relaxed informal atmosphere provided.

This is a great opportunity to brush up on your drawing skills or to meet other beginners.

Cost is £10 per class and there are a limited number of places available.

For more information email gallery@daretojoust.com or tel 0208 876 9564.

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In order to distribute these questionnaires I chose roads randomly and houses by systematic sampling methods.  I distributed 250 questionnaires and 56 were returned (22%).  This represented 170 residents.


In my sample there were 29 families (varying in size from 1 to 4 children!), 21 married couples without children and 6 singletons.  The largest age group was the 40-50s but all were represented in the sample almost evenly (0-10 = 13%, 11-20 = 17%, 21-30 = 9%, 31-40 = 13%, 41-50 = 18%, 51-60 = 13%, 60+ = 17%).  The census put the average age as 38  in Barnes and 30 in Mortlake in 2001, but that data is a bit dated now.

Most residents are working but there are many studying, including adults.


The married couples without children are the most devoted joiners of clubs and societies.  They averaged 2+ per couple.  The families also averaged 2 each whereas singletons averaged only 1.  Also 2/3 of the married couples were members of the BCA and half of them were Wetlands centre members.  One might have expected the families to be more likely to be members but they numbered 1/3 Wetlands and 1/6 BCA.  Almost all singletons were BCA members but none were Wetlands members.

What do people join?

  • BCA 37%
  • Wetlands centre 28%
  • Sports clubs 14%
  • Barnes Literary Society 10%
  • Friends of Barnes Common 3%
  • Barnes Music Society 2%
  • And others such as the 1st Barnes Brownies, The BMHS, the WEA, various churches and so on.



This is surprisingly low.  Of the 49 young people only 10 attended local schools.  5 were at the Harrodian, 2 at St Pauls and one at each of St Osmond’s, Colet Court and Barnes Primary.  8 more attended local nursery schools, with Barnes Montessori being the most popular. However many admitted to attending schools in neighbouring districts – Putney High, East Sheen Primary, Godolphin, the Unicorn and Latimer were mentioned.  From our point of view we possibly lose potential shoppers this way. 


Popularity by category is most easily shown in a table:

Football 21 Concerts 28 Eating out 42 Reading 32 Gym 33 Walking 42
Rugby 21 Opera 18 Cooking 23 Watching TV 29 Swimming 33 Drama



Skiing 21 Playing 15 Food shopping 35 Computer 20 Jogging 20 Gardening 16
Cricket 11 Gigs 14     Listening 19 Dancing 14 Painting




Horse riding 7 Jazz 13                
Tennis 7 Choir 12                
Cycling 7                    
Golf/Athletics 5                    


The 10 most popular hobbies overall are as follows:

  1. Eating out
  2. Reading
  3. Watching TV
  4. Food shopping
  5. Gym
  6. Swimming
  7. Computer
  8. Listening
  9. Concerts
  10. Cooking



63% of the sample shopped in Barnes 3 x per week.

25% shopped once a week.

7% shopped once a month.

5% rarely used Barnes for shopping.

These are pleasing results but I suspect the loyalty of these customers is reflected in the fact that they returned their questionnaires!


  • 23% Friendly shopkeepers offering personal service.
  • 21% supporting the community
  • 20% convenient for specific purchases
  • 14% opportunity to bump into acquaintances
  • 14% meeting friends in cafes and restaurants
  • 7% window shopping
  • Other reasons were given as village atmosphere, tranquil, near home, excellent for convenience goods and services, has everything I need, excellent food shops and market.



  • I do all my shopping in a larger centre (around a supermarket)
  • Barnes doesn’t sell what I want.
  • Barnes prices are too high.
  • Too many traffic wardens



  • 45% shopped in Church Road
  • 36% in the High Street
  • 12% in White Hart Lane
  • 7% in Castelnau parade.


  • 73% walked (and liked the fact they could walk to their local shops)
  • 13% came by car
  • 11% cycled
  • 3% came by bus.



  • Saturday and then Friday.  (Interestingly Sunday got only one vote.)



  • Monday and Sunday jointly equal!



The question was “Do you or your family make a point of buying:

  • Organic foods?             40% said they did.
  • Fair trade Products?    40% answered yes.
  • Vegetarian cuisine?       10% answered yes.
  • Vegan?                               0
  • Other?                 Some make a point of looking especially for good quality foods in our specialist shops.




4    Food and drink

4    Newsagent

4    Chemist

4-   Pub/Cafe/Restaurant

3    Gifts, jewellery, flowers.

3    Books

3    Dry cleaner

3-   Hair /beautician.

2    Home/garden

2    Clothes

2-   Gym

2-   DVD

2-   Optician

1     Holiday booking.

What would you like to see fill our empty shops?  (This type of information might influence landlords and agents).  These are in rank order of popularity.


There were many, many suggestions but the main ones were:

  1. An all embracing children’s’ shop that did toys, shoes, clothes (like Gap) and party items.
  2. A sports shop with walking /outdoor gear and bike repair.
  3. A delicatessen in the High Street or Church Road.
  4. A garden shop/nursery for plants.
  5. A DIY/ ironmongers with electrical goods.
  6. A bistro/bar especially for a decent snack/sandwich lunch. (Mini’s in Sheen was cited).
  7. A music shop with instrument hire, sheet music, CDs, and DVDs (ABC Kew was cited).
  8. A children’s play shop/cafe with arts, crafts etc.  (Gambados was cited).
  9. A stationers/ art materials shop.  (We have many school children and students).

10.  Gift shop (to replace Bradford’s).  Mia Wood in Kew was cited.

11.  Health food shop.

12.  Books, second hand books, children’s books.

13.  A Greengrocers in the High Street.

14.  A small supermarket (One Stop was disliked and those who suggested this believed it would increase footfall and help Barnes shops).

15.  An ethnic restaurant (French, Indonesian, Middle eastern, Italian a like Carluccio’s, Indian like Zing in Hammersmith, tapas.)  Also suggested was a steak house and a fish restaurant.

There were also cries for a decent bakery, modern stylish clothes shops for men (casual), women and/or teenagers (like Jack Wills, Quick Silver, Alley Cat (Sheen), shoes, bags and accessories, an internet cafe and office support shop,  a wine specialist and a choc shop like Hope and Greenwood.

There was a unanimous NO to any more estate agents and some felt we have enough cafes.

Should we make Barnes a specialist shopping area (like Hay on Wye) and if so promoting what?


There were some good ideas.

  • Healthy Living – healthy fresh food combined with making use of the river, the Common, the Wetlands centre and leafy open spaces here for sports such as walking, cycling, running, rowing, sailing.  Link this with our new sports/outdoor shop (see above) and organic food products, also “grow your own”, ecobabies, and we could have a festival!! 
  • Children centred.
  • Food festival (Marylebone High Street was cited).
  • Art/antiques.
  • Homes/interiors (Tobias/the Dining Room Shop and Taylor Mar were cited).
  • Boutiques.
  • Village shopping.
  • Gifts.

There was a feeling among some that this would not be good for Barnes because we would lose variety.



100% said they would like to be made aware of Barnes events and activities!  This is good news indeed.

  • 25% like to read about these in the BCA magazine “Prospect”.
  • 23% would like to be contacted by e-mail (and have left their address so I shall set up a regular contact system).
  • 16% said posters in shop windows worked for them (and urged us to use cafes too – although cafe chains will not always allow it).
  • 16% said via a Barnes local website. (We are launching this in June and it is beautiful!!)
  • 12% said they read pamphlets through the door.
  • 3% use face book.
  • 3% said via their child’s school.
  • 2% said by post.



  • 90% were aware of the Barnes community Association (which is just as well since they pay me to work to promote Barnes shops!)
  • Only 10% were unaware.




88% had visited.

12% had not….yet!


The questionnaire finished with an open ended question which asked for any comments relating to Barnes shops and shopping centre which might help us to improve it and make it the true heart of our community.  Suggestions were as follows:


Opening Hours: It is suggested that these are not uniform and not suited to those who work during the day. Many requests have come for late night opening on one or two days a week ‘til say 7p.m.  The butcher and fishmonger were given as examples.  Shoppers would like to use them but are forced to use Sainsbury’s by the time they get home from work.  Another group of mothers complained about late morning opening.  Shops are shut when they want to shop just after dropping off at nursery school or school.  Others want to buy a card or gift on the way to work for an office colleague.

Empty shops: Many people commented on the depressing aspect of these and asked if, at least in the short term, they couldn’t be cleaned and mail cleared.  Short leases should be offered to help small shops start up.  Twilight shops are very successful in the USA.

It was felt that in the future there needs to be a balance between chains and independents to keep Barnes shops healthy.  Many requested a small supermarket to draw in footfall.  Also maybe Blacks outdoor and/or Evans cycles.  It is recognised that chains are more recession proof and therefore a necessity.  They also maintain high standards of premises and can sustain the high rates.   Gordons and Bradfords are sorely missed as examples of successful former independents in Barnes.  They were well stocked and prices were affordable.  Marlow, Wimbledon village and Northcote Road were given as models to follow but even Kew has a more tempting mix.

Existing shops:  There were complaints about One Stop – the appearance, the lack of stock, the poor management.  Also it seems the Parish Bakery is not satisfying local taste.  There is not a wide enough range of shops at the moment. And some are just too pricey (clothes and shoe shops were frequently cited in particular).  Many people would like to do ALL their shopping in Barnes but cannot.  A children’s shoe shop, for example, is missing.  So is a large green grocer (which is why we flock to the Farmers’ market).  One mother would like to have wider door access for buggies.  This may not be possible as shop frontages cannot be tampered with in conservation areas which affects Barnes.  Personal service was given as Barnes’ strength and Seals and Natsons were quoted by more than one resident as illustrations of help offered that is beyond the call of duty.  It was often said that our local shops need to do more promotions and advertising through letter boxes.

Parking:  There is no doubt that parking restrictions and manic traffic wardens frighten many potential shoppers away.  We do not have a car park to serve our shops.  There were many complaints about this issue.  One resident gave the example of wine.  If he walks he will buy a bottle, if he parks near the shop he will buy a case.  Another argued that with a parking permit we should have free parking anywhere in Barnes for an hour at least.

Extras:  For a budding entrepreneur there is a shortage of nursery school facilities in Barnes especially for under twos and we lose parent patronage when they are forced to go out of district.  It was suggested that we have a residents’ picnic and shops have stalls to promote their wares at it.  Another suggestion was to have an art/ antiques fair. 

It would also be lovely if the OSO could have seating on the Green in the summer.













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I recently carried out 3 types of questionnaire in Barnes (given to shops, shoppers and residents) and carried out some head counts.  Not all of the field work has been completed yet but I will publish the results on this blog as I receive them and finish with an overall summary.


I did a 50% sample and 34% of the sample (of 90) were returned.


From this sample, 74% were independents, 19% were chains, there was one franchise and one family business with many branches.  I think that reflects the character of Barnes’ shops and it is this balance that most people would like to retain.

Barnes’ businesses tend to stay for a long time, which is great for establishing a village community feel to the area.  30% of the shops had been here for over 20 years and the average stay was 13 years.


Is there an untapped market here in the form of employees?  On average shops employ 3 full timers and about half the sample employ 2 part timers as well.  But there are exceptions (I did not distort data by including these in the averages).  One business employs 45 full timers and a different business employs 24 part timers.  Most of these employees live outside Barnes and if they were encouraged to do their shopping in Barnes they could add (on the basis of these figures) 538 extra customers.

Turnover throughout the year:

The highest turnover months were in Autumn and Winter, with Nov/Dec (43%) predictably the highest and Sept/Oct (24%) next.  Late Spring also is a good time for most (11% cited May).

The lowest turnover is hotly agreed to be August (48%) followed by Jan/Feb (35%).

Business’s markets:

59% of businesses keep client lists and 63% keep in regular contact with customers but only 9% have used their lists as a source of information to help their business.

I suspect all shops have a good idea of their customer base however without the need for research.  Their long residency means they know their customers’ tastes intuitively and indeed, they know most of their customers!

Some were happy to share knowledge in this area.  Most of our shoppers are young professionals, single or married and with children in the 35-45 age group.  (The census has the average age in Barnes as 38 and 30 in the two wards).  One shop noted that in the time that they have been trading here there has been a change in the demographic in that the older, loyal, reliable client has been replaced by younger families with less commitment to the village because they are likely to be more mobile in their home buying.  Also they are internet shoppers.  Most shops would say their clients are almost 100%  local but  some however have customers from outside Barnes, as far away as Kingston, Wimbledon and Chelsea and there are a number of tourists in the summer.  Similarly some claim their clients are 9o% female, others mixed.  Clearly, distance travelled and sex ratio depends on the product or service being offered.

Barnes Community Association

Whilst only 32% of the sample were members of the BCA, 68% said they read Prospect magazine (which pleased me because I write something about the shops in every edition!) and 67% felt that the BCA helped retailers in some way.  Only one business did not know of the BCA or Prospect.

Can the BCA do more for retailers?

This was an open ended question.  Some felt the Fair and late night at Christmas did not help traders much, but most had great enthusiasm, especially for the late night shopping and wanted more events including charity events.  There was a complaint that the BCA’s activities are concentrated around the High Street only and not dispersed throughout Barnes.  One suggestion was to create a professional network of all Barnes businesses so that those with shop frontages could benefit professional services and vice versa.  It was also said that the BCA can act as a pressure group on the local authority and that Prospect magazine should have a supplement entirely devoted to shops, carrying articles ranging from news, events, charity initiatives and also promotions, deals and offers.


One in the sample owned his/her own shop.  The % is small in Barnes – probably about 7%.  Not many completed the questions about landlords.  Of those that did, two thirds thought the rents were not higher than they would be in a similar region in suburbia and most did not have any problems with landlords.

Other Comments

Parking is still a contentious issue.  Rent increases should be based on RPI (Retail Price Index).  Business rates are far too high.  Graffiti is a problem but the council are very efficient at removing it.

Suggestions for marketing individual shops or Barnes as a whole.

  • We should all shop in each others businesses (and there is a case for a traders’ loyalty card).
  • A winter version of Barnes Fair.
  • More events including charity events.
  • Parking – suggestions – too few bays, get rid of parking restrictions in August, free parking for an hour, do away with residents parking, better long saty parking.
  • Vacant shops should be dealt with.  They have an adverse affect upon the rest.  Rents should reflect the current market – they are too high.  There were suggestions for new shops – deli, quick lunch cafe, M and S, post office, more useful shops.
  • Castelnau pub is having a negative affect upon the area.
  • Social events for local businesses.
  • Liaising with the press for more publicity

And on a positive note:

  • White Hart Lane businesses feel pleased with the new shops and the good feel about the area.

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