The Lion Houses, Barnes, London

The lion houses in Barnes are a major feature of the homes that surround Barnes Green and were built by a local builder around 1900. An attractive and unusual feature of the houses much prized by their owners is the small sandstone lions peering down at passers-by from every vantage point. It is said that their widespread use was due to 1,000 lions being supplied by mistake instead of the 100 originally ordered by the builder. The origins of this story seem a bit inconsistent and another version says that The desirable ‘lion houses’ in Barnes only exist because of an administrative error. In 1896 an architect intended to build one house with three statues of lions, but accidentally ordered 300. The surplus was used up on surrounding houses and the distinctive feature now lends extra grandeur to their gateposts and gables.

Yet another version of the over-ordering story says that the lions originated from a building project in Hammersmith and some of the extras were then used in Barnes as well.

Whatever the truth of their origin, they are certainly an attractive and unusal feature.

The Lion Houses, Barnes, London

The Lion Houses in Barnes, London. © Andrew Wilson, Wild London Books, Wild About Barnes

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