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News & Events

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It's January and it's cold – so it must be RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch!

29 January 2023

Join us in the park on Sunday 29th January to take part in this annual citizen science project. Every birdwatch helps the RSPB learn more about how our birds are doing, so your help makes a difference. And it’s fun to do.

We’ll be outside the park café between 11am and 2pm, with RSPB bird charts and info sheets to help you identify and record the birds you spot. The park's colourful parakeets will no doubt be there too!

We'll have plenty of free copies of our latest park newsletter – Parklife – so you can grab one when you visit.

You can find out more about the Big Garden Birdwatch on the RSPB website – just click here.

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Tool sharpening in the Park

29 January 2023

Join us to help clean and sharpen our gardening tools? Barnaby from Bee Urban will be there to show us how it's done, on Sunday, January 29th, from 11am to 2pm, outside the park café.

Even if you can only spare fifteen minutes, do come and join us. You could even bring your own tools – it's more fun with company! We look forward to seeing you there.

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News on the park's iconic skatebowl

16 January 2023

It may not look like it at the moment, but there is work going on behind the scenes to bring the park's iconic skatebowl back into use.  Doing this has proved an engineering challenge. The Friends are working with Lambeth, a structural engineer and local skateboarders and we are hopeful that we will have some more news shortly and that the skatebowl can be brought back into use by the summer.  

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News on the playground

16 January 2023

One thing that people often mention about the Kennington Park popular playground is that it needs an update.  


The good news is that the Council has found money for this and work on re-designing the playground will happen this year.


Lambeth Council put out a press release in December:

Lambeth Council to spend £500k plus on refurbishing the playgrounds at Ruskin and Kennington Parks


Ruskin and Kennington Park are both set to benefit from playground refurbishments worth over half a million pounds. Lambeth Council is proposing to spend £350,000 at Ruskin Park, and £220,000 at Kennington.


The contract has been awarded to Kompan Ltd. It has a total value of £556,758. Back in September 2021 the Labour Cabinet at the Town Hall agreed to fund park investment across the borough to the value of £3.9m.


The report for Councillor Rezina Chowdhury, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Lambeth and Clean Air to sign describes the work as: “One-off renovation project that will focus on the redesign and installation of new play equipment and landscaping to update the facilities.”


Kompan landed the deal after a procurement exercise. Three other companies pitched in with a bid. The report highlights the ‘low maintenance’ of the equipment proposed by the company.

Also in Kompan’s favour was a commitment to pay the London Living Wage to all staff and contractors working on the refurbishment.

Five days of construction work experience to local schools as well as the opportunity to shadow to GCSE and A level students are pledged. Kompan will also make a £5,000 donation to the Changing Lives Fund."


Lambeth're press released said "Work is expected to start at both parks in January 2023 lasting for 20 weeks", however, it looks like May will be the start time and the work will take 8-10 weeks. "There will then be a 12-month defects period to follow the completion of the works. A community opening event is planned to celebrate the new playgrounds".

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VANDALISM - Bob Marley has gone missing

16 January 2023

At the beginning of last November someone damaged the History Hut.  One of the boards featuring Bob Marley was completely removed and the surrounding woodwork and paintwork suffered from the large board being prised out, the board was then dumped in a flower bed. There was also some graffiti.


FOKP are planning to replace the board, Lambeth Council will repair the damage, but this will involve both work and cost as a result of this mindless vandalism.

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DOG WALKING AREA - Update

16 January 2023

For months the Friends of Kennington Park, dog owners and park users have been complaining to Lambeth Council about the boggy mess in middle of the recently re opened dog walking area at the north end of the park.  This resulted in a large area having to be fenced off.  


Lambeth managed to get FLO (TFL's contractors for the NLE ventilation shaft and reinstatement of the dog area) to come back in the park to sort out the wet mess.


FLO have now completed some work and, to avoid any further issue with the concrete slab beneath the site, they installed some filter drainage throughout this area to assist with drainage. The ground was scaped and topsoil replaced, it was then re-seeded.  We will be keeping an eye to see whether the grass seed survives the frost, rain and birds.  If not, they will re-seed in the spring. The work area area has had to be fenced off to give the grass seed a chance.


At the beginning of January some of the very poorly trees facing Kennington Park Place were replaced.  The issue of the poor condition of the meadow grass and the litter in this area has yet to be resolved between Lambeth and FLO. The promised bins and benches are still awaited.

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Kennington Park Dog Show POSTPONED UNTIL SPRING 2023

Spring 2023

Following the sad news regarding the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Lambeth Council  made a decision to cancel public events during the official mourning period.


As a result, the Friends of Kennington Park Dog Show planned for Sunday 11 September had been postponed for the time being.  The Friends of Kennington Park and the Hound Hut will announce  details of the re-scheduled event which will take place in 2023.



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Events in Kennington Park in 2023

16 January 2023

Junior Park Run, every Sunday at 9am in Kennington Park


Kennington Park Dog Show,  POSTPONED until 2023.


The monthly volunteer gardening session will start again in February 2023, the sessions are normally held in the Flower Garden on the second Sunday of the month.  Tools and gardening gloves provided. The sessions are informal and chatty.  All welcome.


2023 is the 175th anniversary of the Chartist rally in Kennington Park in April 1848.


Plans for 2023 include:

Sunday 29 January 11am-2pm and FOKP stall outside the park cafe for the RSPB Garden Bird Watch in the park.

Bat walks (once the bats wake up and before they go back to sleep)

A tree walk

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What's on in Kennington Park and in Kennington 2022

5 August 2022


So far this year the Friends of Kennington Park have already had an RSPB Garden Bird Watch (a woodpecker was seen and heard), tool and sharpening, a bat walk (lots of bats seen and heard), Easter egg hunt, six gardening sessions, a stall at the Lambeth Palace Fete and on 10 July the Kennington Park Festival.


The gardening session are now for FoKP members as they are funded by FOKP – so why don't you join the Friends? It's a bargain at just £6 per year – details are on the 'Support us' page of this website. The next gardening session in the Flower Garden, led by Ruth, is on Sunday 14 August from noon to 4pm.


Each Sunday at 9am in the park is a Junior Park Run.


FOKP is planning a Dog Show in the park on Sunday 11 September between 2pm and 4pm. Details to follow. 


The next Bat walk led by Dr Iain Boulton is planned for Saturday 24 September at 7pm.  Meeting place by the notice board at the entrance to the park's Flower Garden, please wrap up warmly and bring a torch – it will be dark when we leave the park.  No dogs please.



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Kennington Park Festival 2022

21 July 2022

A big thank you to everyone who helped to make the second Kennington Park Festival such a success on Sunday 10 July.  The weather was hot and there were lots of things for all ages - food, music, dance, singing, stalls, puzzles, games, family fun, health & wellness, circus skills, workshops.


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Kennington Park junior parkrun

Regular event on Sundays

Kennington Park junior parkrun is a free, fun, and friendly weekly 2k event for juniors (4 to 14 year olds) held every Sunday at 9:00am. See Course page for more details.


Volunteers needed - Volunteering at parkrun is an opportunity to get outside, make new friends, have fun, learn new skills and to be a valuable part of your local community. We are always looking for new volunteers - to find out more about the event and ways to get involved see here 



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UPDATE on the Dog walking area

26 August 2022

The Northern Line Extension work at the north end of the park came to an end some time ago. 


But there were various snagging issues so the dog walking area remained closed, but the dog walking area has now re opened.


A mystery flood has appeared in two parts of this dog area, these are being investigated and are fenced off, but the rest of the area will be open. Due to the hot, dry weather the grass is looking very parched, though the Friends have been watering the new trees in the main area.


Benches and additional bins will be added in due course.  The Friends have expressed concern to Lambeth Council about the overall poor state of the trees, in particular those in the "meadow grass" area which we cant currently get access to.


Lambeth Council has agreed that the "old" dog area at the Camberwell New Road end by the tennis courts will remain open.

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Kennington Park History Hut

10 December 2021

Our brand new history boards are on display! They're housed in the History Hut – the brown and white wooden shelter close to the Flower Garden and Slade Fountain. With the help of Year 6 students from Henry Fawcett School, park staff from Lambeth Landscapes, park users and FoKP members, our local MP Florence Eshalomi cut the ribbon and declared it open in December 2021.


Many thanks to Lambeth Council and Surrey County Cricket Club for supporting this project. The history boards were conceived, researched and put together by an FoKP team under the leadership of Marnie Searchwell. 

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Grand Opening of the History Hut

Friday 10 December 2021

Friday, December 10th is the unveiling of our fabulous new Kennington History Boards.


Our MP, Florence Eshalomi, will cut the ribbon at 11 o’clock, in our newly-named Kennington Park History Hut. It is the brown and white wooden shelter, located near the Flower Garden.


The History Boards were conceived, written and designed by the Friends of Kennington Park, to celebrate the rich history of Kennington and its park. Kings and Cricket, Charlie Chaplin and the Chartists, pop stars and parakeets, they’re all right here!


Lambeth Council and Surrey County Cricket Club helped us turn this idea into a reality. 


We hope that you can join us for the opening, along with local residents and park users.


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An Award Winning Park

5 August 2022

Good news!


Kennington Park has retained its Green Flag Award for 2022-2023 and received a Green Heritage accreditation.  For 2021 London in Bloom awarded the park a Silver Gilt and the Flower Garden a Gold Award.


Many thanks to the work of Lambeth Landscapes and the volunteer gardeners!

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Memorial service to remember "Kennington's forgotten tragedy"

Sunday 17 October 2021

On 15 October 1940 a wartime bomb fell on the trench air raid shelter on the south field of Kennington Park, at least 104 local people were killed, but only 55 have been identified.  The casualties all lived locally - including the Kennington Park Estate, Offley Road, Vauxhall Gardens Estate and Ravendon Street.


In 2006 a stone memorial to those killed with an inscription by Maya Angelou was erected in the park.


Last year was the 80th anniversary, but due to Covid restrictions, only a small memorial service was possible.


On Sunday 17 October the Friends of Kennington Park and the Rev Steve Coulson and the congregation of St Mark's held a remembrance  service at the memorial in the park.

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Black History Month walk in Kennington Park

Took place on 9 October 2021

“THE BLACK MAN AND HIS PARTY” – William Cuffay, Kennington and the Chartists”

This walk took place on Saturday 9 October 2021


William Cuffay was born in 1788, a man of African heritage, his father, Chatham Cuffay, had previously been enslaved and was originally from St. Kitts.


Cuffay, a tailor and political activist, was one of the main organisers of the large Chartist rally that too place on Kennington Common on 10 April 1848; the Chartists were a mass movement petitioning the government for democratic reform and the Common was a popular site for protest meetings.


Months later Cuffay was arrested and convicted of preparing acts of treason, sentenced to 21 years penal transportation to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) where he spent the rest of his life.


William Cuffay – ‘The Black man and his party’ as the press described him – wasn’t the only important Black activist in the story of Kennington Common. Abolitionist, Robert Wedderburn, son of an enslaved West African woman in Jamaica, preached here on the site of what is now St Mark’s Church.


Marietta from the Friends of Kennington Park led the walk in the footsteps of Black British radical leaders like Cuffay and Wedderburn.



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WHAT'S ON IN THE PARK AND OUR AREA?

1 APRIL 2022

In spite of Covid and the restrictions,  lots of events took place in Kennington Park in 2021 including the Festival.  The event was organised by the Friends of Kennington Park, Mellanin Health and Wellness with generous sponsorship from Berkeley Oval Village. There are already plans for a repeat this July.


So far this year we have already had an RSPB Garden Bird Watch (a woodpecker was seen and heard), tool and sharpening and two gardening sessions.  These gardening session will now be limited to FOKP members - it is the members' subscriptions and an anonymous donation that fund the costs - 

so why dont you join the Friends, it is a bargain at £6 per year - details on this website.  Next one is on Sunday 10 April from noon to 4pm.


Happy Easter on Sunday 17 April.


Dont forget, Thursday 5 May, is your chance to have your say on how Lambeth is run - it is local election day.  Postal votes will be sent out from the Town Hall from around 13 April.


Bat walks led by Dr Iain Boulton are planned for Saturday 7 May at 8.40pm and April and Saturday 24 September at 7pm.  Meeting place by the notice board at the entrance to the park's Flower Garden, please wrap up warmly and bring a torch - it will be dark when we leave the park.  No dogs please.


The weekend of 11 and 12 June is London Open Garden Squares Weekend, details from:

londongardenstrust.org


A date for your diary, Saturday 25 June, the ever popular Lambeth Palace Fete, between noon and 5pm, with lots of stalls and attractions.



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FOKP's AGM Wednesday 7 July 2021

28 October 2021


The Friends of  Kennington Park AGM held a successful AGM on  Wednesday 7th July in a large, covered, outdoor venue - the garden of Montgomery Hall at 58 Kennington Oval.


The paperwork from the AGM is on the website and the Minutes will be posted later.  

The meeting heard how FOKP coped during the  pandemic, about  Lambeth Council’s investment programme for the park and how, over the  next 2-3 years, we'll be working with Lambeth on a range of projects and  initiatives in the park. If  you'd like to be involved in any of these, please do get in touch by email.

And you can also help us shape a programme  of events to mark FoKP’s 20-year anniversary in  2022 and our early plans for marking the 175th  anniversary of the famous Chartist Rally in  2023.


The office holders elected for 2021/2022 are 

Chair: Marietta

Secretary : Rita

Treasurer: Vilde

Membership secretary: Ian

Committee members:  Marnie, Nikki, Rachel and Nichola.  LATER The committee was joined by Mark and Alison.


Interested in getting more  involved? FoKP recently became a registered charity.  It's run entirely by local volunteers, who love the park and  want to make it better. We have two spaces available on the  committee, and we'd love to hear from you if you'd like to help. Email us at friends@kenningtonpark.org

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174th Anniversary of Kennington's Chartist Rally

10 April 2022

On 10 April 1848 thousands of Chartists marched to a huge rally on Kennington  Common (now Kennington Park). They were demanding democratic reform at a time  when only those with land and property were allowed to vote. 


The Chartist's  charter had 6 demands:

The right to vote for all (however this referred to men aged over 21)

Voting by secret ballot

Abolition of property qualifications for MPs

Annual parliamentary elections

Members of parliament to be paid

Parliamentary constituencies to be of an equal size


By 1928, with votes for women on the same basis as men,  5 out of their 6  demands, the outstanding one is annual elections.  The  result of the Chartist campagn is our right to vote in the London elections on  Thursday 6 May.


One of the key speakers at the 1848 rally was William Cuffay, a tailor, political activist and leading Chartist, he was the son of a former slave from St Kitts.  Cuffay was later transported to Tasmania 21 years for his role in allegedly planning an uprising against the British Government. He was pardoned after 3 years and died there in 1870.  A new housing block in Southwark has just been named after him.

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