News & Events

It was gardening galore in Kennington Park on Sunday 3 November

6 November 2019

A big thank you to everyone who turned out on 3 November to help plant 2,700 bulbs in Kennington Park.  Under Alex Draper's excellent instructions, we managed it!  The  masses of snowdrops, Tenby daffodils and winter aconite were planted close to the Camberwell New Road entrance to the park.  Fingers crossed that the park squirrels are not having a big bulb breakfast!

Meanwhile back in the Flower Garden, Amanda ran the regular monthly volunteer gardening session preparing the garden for winter.  The final session of the year will be on Sunday 1 December between noon and 4pm.

Lest we forget

18 November 2019

On the 79th anniversary of Kennington Park's World War Two tragedy a small group, led by the Rev Steve Coulson from St Mark's, met by the civilian war memorial in the park to remember those who lost their lives in the wartime incident.

 

During the war there were shallow Trench Air raid shelters on south field and on the night of Tuesday 15 October 1940 the shelters took a  direct hit during an air raid on Waterloo Station.  There were possibly  104 fatalities, but only 48 bodies recovered and later buried in Streatham Cemetery. The damage was hurridly covered up to prevent any propaganda being made of the disaster,  so many remains still lie beneath the park. This was Lambeth’s worst WW2 civilian incident. 

 

It was largely forgotten until 2002 when two local Lambeth Councillors held a memorial held a memorial service in St Mark’s Church and all the names of the known casualties were read out loud.

 

The Friends of Kennington Park through Lambeth’s Opportunities Fund commissioned a permanent memorial. In Caithness stone. It was designed and carved by local resident Richard Kindersley. It was unveiled in 2006 at a ceremony attended by family members of the casualties.  In 2010 there was a ceremony for the 70th anniversary of the incident and there are plans for a service next year on the 80th anniversary.

On Sunday 11 November at 11am there was a  good turn out at the Remembrance day service at the Kennington Park War Memorial organised by the Royal British Legion. The memorial at the north end of the park was originally erected to commemorate the fallen of the local battalions, but it now commemorates all war dead. Many thanks to Anne and Julie for their gardening work on the war memorial planters.

Playground repairs - update

6 November 2019

For ages this summer part of the sandpit in the Kennington Park playground were fenced off awaiting repairs to the wooden surround.

The good news is that repair is taking place, but the work has proved to be more extensive than anticipated, however, the end is now in sight, so fingers crossed that it wont be too long before the sandpit and slide will be back in action again.

Mud - the saga continues

6 November 2019

Currently the south field of Kennington Park is looking pretty sad and partly fenced in.

The FriendsFest event was on site for about 2 weeks in late September, but its departure from the park at the beginning of October coincided with torrential rain.  There had been detailed plans agreed between Lambeth Events and the organisers for both the set up and take down of the event, but these did not anticipate the very heavy rainfall. 

 

Lambeth Landscape's team who do reinstatement work after large events was ready to start on site, but the ground was too waterlogged and needs to dry out before any reinstatement work can commence and during this time the south field will have to remain fenced off.

Initially a  sign was put up on the fencing which read: "Friendsfest reinstatement.  The torrential rain on Tuesday 1 October during the FriendsFest load out had a notable impact on the ground.  As the ground is waterlogged in areas and there is a lot of surface mud we have agreed with EventLambeth and Lambeth Landscapes to leave the fence line up.  This will allow the ground to dry without further impact from sports games and general football.  We expect the ground to dry and work to begin next week.  To find out more about the schedule of work and updates on www.eventlambeth/news or email events@lambeth.gov.uk "

Unfortunately, by 20 October Lambeth report that the ground is still too waterlogged to start the reinstatement work, though there has been some work done around the edges of the south field.  Lambeth's plan is:

Week commencing 21/10/19 - adhoc work on the south field – levelling ground, soil and seeding done by hand on areas around the edge of site.

 

Week commencing 28/10/2019 - it was anticipated the ground will be able to support the use of tractor to then spread soil mix and level out the areas of widespread impact.  There is to be overseeding and cover with germination sheets.  The area will be fenced off with low level fence posts and scrim. The Herris metal fence line will come down on 31 October. 

 

Lambeth updated the position on 30 October:

The Herras fence line on the south field has now been taken down.  The crew worked with great consideration for the ground and the park users and have not caused any further damage.

 

Rudy and his team from Lambeth's Reinstatement Team are now on the park (30 Oct) putting up the temporary fence line.  This will be in the first instance a full perimeter fence going around the full area of the damage.  It is further inside the field than the herras fence line was but it does restrict access to 60% of the field area.  This was done to allow Rudy and his team a working compound to then complete the ground work over the coming week.  As the reinstatement work progresses Rudy will then begin to adapt the fence line and open up more and more of the field. 

 

Lambeth have put up new signage in the park and on the notice boards and been talking with the café staff so they are all fully briefed and passing on the right contact details.

Earlier in the summer the south field had been fenced in for 2 weeks for Bensons' Funfair and now it looks as if Friendsfest and the reinstatement work will result in many more weeks when the field is not available to park users.

Earlier this year Lambeth Council carried out a public consultation on events in parks, the results are due in November.  As can be seen from the current state of the south field, the impact of events in parks is very dependent on weather conditions.  The Friends of Kennington Park will be working hard to ensure that the south field is properly reinstated.
 

Good Gym and other volunteers - thanks for your help

6 November 2019

On a Tuesday evening in early September 41 runners from Good Gym jogged from Papa's Park to Kennington Park, spent 30 minutes helping out in Kennington park - litter picking, hedge trimming, cutting back lavender and uprooting some Tree of Heaven saplings - and then jogged back to Papa's Park many of them with bunches of lavender!

A big thank you to Mark and the gang for your help and we look forward to welcoming them back to the park when the evenings are a bit lighter next year.

Congratulations to Michael (with his angel wings) on his 100 "good deeds" and to the Caped Crusader who had done 50.

We've also had volunteers from Network Rail doing some heavy duty cutting back in the flower beds near the Astroturf and Basket Ball court under the guidance of Lambeth's Parks Volunteer Co-ordinator, Alex Draper.  Thank you!

Friends of Kennington Park AGM, Tuesday 23 July

29 July 2019

The AGM of the Friends of Kennington Park  AGM took place on Tueesday 23rd July at The Durning Library. Despite the heat, it was well attended.  The paperwork from the meeting is on this website.

There was agreement that FOKP should investigate obtaining charitable status for FOKP from the next financial year. The committee believes this is an important step, which will allow us to secure more funding.

The accounts were presented and accepted and the Committee was re-elected.

Kevin Crook, Assistant Director Neighbourhoods Environment and Streetscene Residents' Services spoke about the park, its budget, future plans and answered questions from the meeting.

Richard Galpin, Project Manager of the Kennington Chartist Project, launched the two books, Kennington 1848 Our Story and Another Look.

What's on in Kennington Park 2019

18 November 2019

GARDENING

Thanks to a generous donation from an anonymous source, the monthly volunteer gardening sessions have been running throughout the year .  The sessions are generally in the Flower Garden and on the first Sundays between noon and 4pm. They are led by by trained horticulturalist and herbalist Amanda Rew.  Gardening gloves and tools are provided. Stay as long or as short a time as you like.  The work is very relaxed and chatty and no gardening experience is required! 

If you would like to be notified about the confirmed dates, just email: friends@kenningtonpark.org

We had lots of extra sessions for the London in Bloom park inspection at the end of June and that month saw 95 volunteer hours of gardening and litter picking, so thanks to all.  The good news is that the park has retained its Green Flag and  London in Bloom again awarded the Flower Garden a Gold and the park a Silver Gilt. A highlight of the October session was the sighting of a slightly dazed frog in the Flower Garden.

 

On Sunday 3 November there was the normal session in the Flower Garden with Amanda plus a  special bulb planting session with Alex. Thanks to all who took part.

The final gardening session of 2019 will be on Sunday 1 December between noon and 4pm.

 

CAFE - YES, IT IS OPEN!

 

The cafe re-opened on 7 June.  Teas, coffees, ice creams, cold drinks and pizza.  Open 0930-1800 on Tuesdays to Saturdays; 10-1700 on Sundays and closing day is Monday.

CARD ONLY.

Welcome to Dominic and Charlotte from the Sugar Pot and thank you for returning a cafe to our park!

CHARTIST PROJECT

We are still doing history research on local people who were involved with the Chartist Land Company - we want to find out who they were, where they lived, what they worked at and what happened next. If you'd like to help, please get in touch: www.kenningtonchartistproject.org

 

EVENTS

Lambeth Council's consultation on events in parks closed in May.  The Friends will keep you posted on the outcome of the consultation which was due in November.

 

BAT WALKS

Iain Boulton from Lambeth Council led two bat walks in the park this year - in May and September.  On both occasions the pipistrelle bats were seen and heard.  More bat walks will be planned for next year.

DAWN CHORUS  WALK

 

Thanks to Erica and well done to the 15 hardy souls who came to the park at 5am on Sunday 5 May for the first Kennington Park Dawn Chorus walk.  Many birds were seen and heard and, once again, the Kennington Park fox was very surprised to see park visitors at that early hour! FOKP hope to run another Dawn Chorus walk in 2020.

 

VOLUNTEERING

If you'd like to get involved with the Friends - do get in touch - we are all volunteers.  It might be helping with admin, horticulture, events, first aid, sport, PR, history research, fundraising, leafleting, journalism/ editorial. design/web design, social media.  Just email FOKP on: friends@kenningtonpark.org

Kennington Park Cafe - re-opens - hurray!

9 September 2019

At last Kennington Park has a cafe again!  Welcome to Dominic and Charlotte of the Sugar Pot and best wishes to them with their new cafe in Kennington Park.

Apart from hot and cold drinks and ice cream, there are now pizzas on the menu and, judging by the crowds, the park has once again got a popular cafe !  Seating inside and outside and there is a toilet. Dog friendly.

Open 0930-1800 on Tuesdays to Saturdays; 10-1700 on Sundays and closing day is Monday. No payment by cash, CARD ONLY

Dawn Chorus Walk, Kennington Park

13 May 2019

At 5am on Sunday 5 May, International Dawn Chorus Day, 15 people joined Friends of Kennington Park member Erica  for a dawn walk in the park.  Dawn started at 5.26am!

The dawn chorus starts in March and peaks between April through to early June corresponding with the birds' breeding season.  The early singers, which include blackbirds and robins, are the birds with large eyes who can see better in the low light. Later (up to 90 minutes later) are the birds with smaller eyes such as wrens. Usually the last to start singing are the sparrows and finches.

The singers are males establishing and defending territories and also attracting mates. Females of some species, such as the robin, also sing.  There is both the song (repeated notes forming a phrase) and the call which can be communication between individual birds of the same species or a general call to all birds - a sort of alarm call.

Apart from disturbing a somewhat surprised fox, our Dawn Chorus walk  saw and heard:

Blackbird

Mistle thrush

Robin

Wren

Blue tit

Great tit

House sparrow

Goldfinch

Starling

Dunnock

Wood pigeon

Feral pigeon

Stock dove

Carrion crow

Magpie

Ring-necked parakeet

Herring gull


Spotted in the distance flying over, several Cormorants.

Thanks to Erica for leading the walk and answering all sorts of bird questions, she told us that the song of the great tit sounds like "teacher, teacher! and that of the pied wagtail sounds like "Chiswick, Chiswick".

Kennington Park toilets re open

2 October 2019

In April 2019, as a result of ongoing anti-social behaviour in both the adult toilet block and the children's toilets in the playground, the Council  had to close both sets of toilets on the grounds of the health and safety of their cleaning staff and the park users.

After some work,  Lambeth Council was able to re-open the toilets in time for the summer holidays. Since then there have been several temporary closures due to anti social behavour. 

The Friends are working with Lambeth Council to explore long term solutions to the provision of toilets for the park.

Great British Spring Clean 2019

19 April 2019

This year there have been 3 session for the Great British Spring Clean, the third and largest was a group from our near neighbour in Kennington, Flash Pack, who spent their lunch hour just before Easter litter picking throughout the park. Many thanks to all who helped to keep our park looking nice and a plea to park users to bin your litter or take it home!

ITV's Victoria

April 2019

Some of you may have been watching ITV's new series about the life of Queen Victoria.  This series covers 1848, the year of revolution in Europe, and the Chartist campaign which culminated in the great rally on Kennington Common on 10 April 1848.

If you would like the true facts about the Chartist campaign, check out the website of the Kennington Chartist project:

www.kenningtonchartistproject.org

An article from the Radio Times about the ITV series and the historical facts is in the Chartist section of this website.

Kennington Park's new mural

19 April 2019

The Brandon Tenants Residents Association and Kennington Park's Bee Urban commissioned two artists, Jack Fawdry Tatham and Tom Scotcher, to work with the local community to design and paint a mural by the Charlie Chaplin playground on to the Kennington Park extension.

Funded by Southwark's Clean Greener Safer Fund there were community workshops and a  drop-in session at community centres, to develop exuberant and unique imagery for the mural design. he painting of the mural was carried out between 1st and 18th April.  The mural is split into fifteen bee-inspired hexagonal sections, each created by a different group and filled with images exploring the past, present and future.

Building work starts on NLE headhouse in the park

9 September 2019

Building work started in early  February 2019 for the headhouse/ventilation shaft/emergency access building at the northern end of the park - on the site of the former Park Keeper's Lodge and the former dog walking area.  FOKP had previously submitted objections to the inappropriate design of the building.

The dog walking area is scheduled to be reinstated in late 2020/ early 2021.  In March there was a a site visit with the NLE/FLO to discuss fencing, gates, trees and grass and a meeting with dog walkers in July.  Lambeth Council is now liaising with TFL.

The 2019 RSPB Garden Bird Watch

29 January 2019

Thanks to all who braved the cold, wind and showers to take part in the annual RSPB Garden Bird Watch on Kennington Park.  The Friends of Kennington Park had a stall outside the cafe and were handing out copies of the counting sheet.

One of the birdwatchers spotted 15 different bird species, the FOKP tally was:

38 redwings looking for worms on the southfield

15 seagulls

2 crows

2 parakeets

2 mistle thrushes

1 male and 1 female blackbird

2 woodpigeons

numerous feral pigeons

2 magpie

11 house sparrows

When we submitted our results to the RSPB we reported that there are daily sightings of grey squirrels in the park, but we have not spotted any hedgehogs, moles or badgers.  Last year a pheasant was spotted in Kennington Park and we have seen (and heard) pipistrelle bats - they are currently hibernating.

Do let FOKP know if you see any hedgehogs locally.

The RSPB reported that almost over half a million people counted over 7.5million birds over the weekend.  At the top of the rankings is the house sparrow followed by starlings, blue tits, blackbirds and wood pigeons. The survey reported increased sightings of redwings (including those in Kennington Park) and fieldfare, but a decline in song thrushes.  Sightings of long tailed tits and wrens are also down.

Kennington Park 2018

3 December 2018

On behalf of the Friends of Kennington Park many thanks to everyone for their support for the park, to Amanda and the  volunteer gardeners as well as the various corporate groups who got their hands dirty in the park.  Special thanks also to Lambeth Landscapes - Kevin, Mick, Rasha and Reece - and to Iain Boulton for his fantastic bat walks.

Despite great fluctuations in the weather, in 2018 the park retained its Green Flag and London in Bloom awarded it a Gold for Flower Garden and a Silver Gilt for the park.

The Friends is an organisation of volunteers and its aim is to make the park the best it can be.

2018 was the 170th anniversary of the "monster" rally of the Chartists on Kennington Common on 10 April 1848. The Friends of Kennington Park were partners with the Kennington Chartist project in celebrating and commemorating this major event - happily with the aid of grants from the Lipman-Miliband Trust and the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Ably led by Richard Galpin, the team have done a great job ensuring that the Chartists are back on the Kennington map.  Check out the website: www.kenningtonchartistproject.org.

Remembrance Sunday 2018

11 November 2018

Sunday 11 November 2018 was the centenary of the Armistice and the end of the First World War.  In bright sunshine, there was a bigger turnout than usual for the annual service of remembrance at the Kennington Park War Memorial organised by the local Royal British Legion.  Wreaths were laid by representatives from Lambeth and Southwark Councils, the RBL, local cadets and many local people.

Many thanks to FOKP volunteers Anne and Julie for ensuring that the war memorial flowers looked wonderful.

Kennington Park a Centenary Field

21 October 2018

Lambeth Council nominated Kennington Park to Fields in Trust to be a Centenary Field. These are parks, open spaces and recreation grounds with a war memorial or some connection to the First World War.  Our park has been declared a Centenary Field which should protect it as a living remembrance to the casualties of what we now call The Great War.  This dedication signifies a clear commitment to the importance of these spaces now and in the future.

To celebrate this, on Sunday 21 October 2018, the Friends of Kennington Park and the congregation of St Mark's, Kennington held an event of remembrance at the park's war memorial.

There were readings, hymns, WW1 songs and the stories of some of the local casualties were told. The Rev Stephen Coulson read the Kohima epitaph "When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today".

The park was dedicated a Centenary Field and, after singing Amazing Grace, the congregation of St Mark's kindly provided light refreshments for those who attended the event.

Events that take place in our park - Council review

18 November 2019

During the long dry spell in the summer the north and south fields of Kennington Park turned from their usual green to dry, burnt spaces, then in July 2018 we had the annual visit of Benson's funfair and in October there were two weeks when the south field of the park was fenced in for "FriendsFest". 

The Friends have ongoing concerns about some of the events that are given permission by Lambeth Council to be held on the south field of the park, particularly the large ones that fence in the field for several weeks.  The Friends believe that these are not appropriate for a well used, heritage park and there is a negative impact on the grass and compacts the surface which takes time to recover.

The takedown of the 2019 Friendsfest coincided with torrential rain resulted in a mud bath on the south field, for weeks the field has had to be fenced off to allow for remedial work.

In November 2018 Lambeth Council announced a review of events in parks with public consultation in March and April 2019.  The consultation  closed on 5 May and there were over 600 submissions - details of the results are due in November 2019.

It wasnt only the trees, plants and grass that found it a hot summer, a grey squirrel was spotted having a drink in the Flower Garden pond.

Swifts in Kennington Park

27 June 2018

The Common Swift is one of the few endangered species where the public can help and there are now many groups across the country working hard to try to halt the Swift's dramatic decline - 50 per cent in just 20 years. 

 

June 16-23 was Britain's first Swift Awareness Week  and it aimed to raise awareness of the Swift,  focus to its plight and provide information on how to help the species.

Bee Urban in Kennington Park in conjunction with the Islington Swift Group ran a Swift night at The Hive  on  22 June.  On the bird walk swifts were spotting flying high above the park.

For more information on what you could do to stop the decline in Swift numbers, check out www.swift-conservation.org

 

The illustration is courtesy of the RSPB site

Good Gym & others: volunteer works in the park

26 October 2018

A big thank you to Katie and the gang from Lambeth Good Gym.  Each week they run, work out by helping with community projects and run back all within 90 minutes. 

 

On Tuesday 24 July Kennington Park had 32 helpers for 30 minute. Despite the hot weather they did litter picking, dead heading roses, clipping hedges and giving some of the young trees a well earned drink of water.

We welcomed back 26 of them on Tuesday 21 August and in 30 minutes we managed a lot of rose dead heading, weeding, trimming the yew hedges, litter picking and even digging up a "Tree of Heaven" from the middle of a flower bed!

Find out about the Good Gym on https://www.goodgym.org/areas/lambeth/group-runs

The park recently welcomed staff from Ofcom who spent an afternoon of gardening on the park extension.  In November FLO and Network Rail Skania had work sessions in the park, the latter worked in the pouring rain on the park extension. 

 

Lambeth and the Friends welcome corporate groups to the park for gardening sessions, please contact Iain Boulton of Lambeth council for more information. Email: iboulton@lambeth.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

UPDATE - park issues

4 February 2019

There have been various issues with the adult and  childrens' toilets in the park which has, unfortunately, resulted in them being closed on occasions for repair.

Kenguru, the maker's of the fitness equipment, sent a new bar to replace the one that is buckled. Lambeth installed it. There is a new sign by the equipment with instructions on how to use the various pieces.

Lambeth are researching what material would be suitable to replace the worn surface under the Kenguru equipment.  The Friends will continue chasing this up

One of the mirrors on posts on the Midnight Path needs a further clean

The drinking water fountain near the table tennis tables was working again. Hopefully this might reduce the numbers of plastic water bottles found in the park.

Lambeth are trying to get replacement parts from the manufacturers for several pieces of play equipment in the playground.

Lambeth removed some of the damaged benches and a picnic bench in the children's playground.

The brown and white wooden shelter in the park (near the Slade Fountain) has been tidied up.  This is to stop it being used as a toilet and to improve sight lines.

Sadly, the ever popular red bus in the playground had to be removed after repeated vandalism.  Ideas for a replacement would be welcome.

The skateboard bowl has had to be fenced off for health and safety reasons.

The buckled metal gates into the park from the Midnight Path (by Prince Consort Lodge/Trees for Cities) were  removed for repair and painted. They were re-hung at the end of January, but highlighted the fact that the black railings need to be re-painted!

Green Flag and London in Bloom - good news!

1 October 2018 updated 13 June 2019

For many years Kennington Park has been awarded a Green Flag, this is a scheme that recognises and awards well managed parks and green spaces.  The Friends of Kennington Park are always  keen to retain it. It was all hands on deck for Lambeth Landscapes and the gardening volunteers.  

The Good news is that the park has retained its Green Flag - so thanks to all!

The inspection for London in Bloom was on 17 July 2018.  Despite the scorching summer weather, lots of extra gardening work was done.  A special thanks to those who turned up early on inspection day for a last minute tidy!  The results have just been announced and the Flower Garden has been awarded Gold and the Park Silver Gilt.  Last year the Flower Garden had a Silver Gilt so this is a great result.

STOP PRESS: the 2019 London in Bloom and Green Flag inspection will take place shortly.


 

Democracy 1848, Democracy 2018 - The Kennington Chartist Project some information

21 May 2018

In 1848 the Chartist movement was a popular campaign for democratic reform which had a large demo on Kennington Common. By 1928 five of their six demands including voting rights, secret ballots and payment of MPs had been achieved.

Fast forward 170 years to 2018, with Brexit, Trump #Metoo and Black Lives Matter in the news, amid fears for a breakdown in democratic values and reports of interference in election campaigns, and it is important to look at the legacy of the Chartists.

The Kennington Chartist Project, set up by local people, with support from The Friends of Kennington Park and the National Lottery, through the Heritage Lottery Fund, organised a series of events, walks and talks. 

A series of free talks were held in St Mark's Church, Oval. The project is very grateful to the Rev Steve Coulson for allowing us to hold the talks in St Mark's which is one of the Waterloo churches, built in 1824, so it would have witnessed the Chartist rally on Kennington Common on 10 April 1848.

On 28 April Malcolm Chase, a very well known Chartist historian and author, gave a fascinating talk about the Chartists, 1848, the involvement of women and children in the Chartist movement, the government's reaction and the legacy for us today. Mark Craill, who runs the Chartistsancestors website brought along his collection of Chartist memorabilia including medals, membership cards, cartoons and engravings. 

On 5 May SI Martin, a local writer on Black History spoke about "Who was William Cuffay?"  Cuffay was the son of an emancipated black slave and a radical Chartist.  Katrina Navikas, a historian of popular protest,  told us about "London Chartism" and looked at the local pubs and other venues in the Kennington area where Chartist meetings took place in the 1840s, these include Camberwell and Walworth - and some of the pubs are still going strong!

On Saturday 19 May David Steele's talk was  entitled "Salt-pork and Daguerreotypes: unpacking the evidence from 1848" . He looked at the numbers game -  how many  Chartists were on Kennington Common on 10 April 1848, 170 years later this is still hotly contested, how many troops were stationed in London and for how long. David come across records on how much food had been stockpiled in London to provision troops stationed in the capital in anticipation of disorder.

Details of the project on www.kenningtoncharter.org

The Kennington Chartist Project - the Chartists remembered locally

9 July 2018

The Kennington Chartist Project was set up by local residents to raise local awareness of the 1848 Chartist Rally on Kennington Common. It is supported by the Friends of Kennington Park, and the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. To find out more about the Kennington Chartist Project, click here.

There is also information about the Chartists in the history section on this website.

The project launched on Tuesday April 10th 2018 in Kennington Park. This was the 170th anniversary of the Chartist rally on Kennington Common, the project will run until the autumn.


Flag bearers walked from each of the four meeting points of the Chartists in 1848, representing the four divisions of London Chartists:
“ East Division on Stepney Green at 8 o'clock; City and Finsbury Division on Clerkenwell Green at 9o'clock: West Division in Russell Square at 9 o'clock, and the South Division in Peckham Fields at 9o'clock and proceed thence to Kennington Common!”


They arrived in  Kennington Park at 10.45am to the sound of a bugle and over 100 people braved the rather muddy conditions on the south field to welcome them. Richard Galpin, Project Manager of the Kennington Chartist Project, introduced the event and Tom Collins "declaimed" the speech given 170 years ago by the Irish born Chartist Leader Feargus O'Connor.  Steve Martin (local historian S I Martin) told the story of William Cuffay, son of an emancipated slave, who was transported to Tasmania later that year for his role in organising a planned Chartist uprising.

There were stalls with Chartists books and literature, old maps and photographs and badge making.  Many people sported green red and white ribbons - the colours of the Chartists.


There were two walks,  the morning one was entitled Remembering the Day led by Marietta Crichton Stuart (Chair FoKP) and told the story of what happened on that actual day 170 years ago from the thousands marching to the common to the rather damp end when the bundles of Charter signatures went off to Parliament in hansom cabs and the crowds dispersed having been prevented from marching on Parliament by the heavy police presence with the army in reserve. Marietta pointed out that the Job Centre was the site of the Horns Tavern, the police HQ on the day and from where William Kilburn, a professional photographer, took the two Daguerreotypes (now in the Royal Collection) which show the Chartists crowds on the common.

The afternoon walk by Jon Newman (Lambeth Archives) was called Why Kennington?  It recalled 1848 sometimes known as the Springtime of the Peoples when there was revolution and unrest throughout Europe, a year that saw the publication of the Communist Manifesto. Kennington Common had long been a place where demonstrations and mass gatherings took place. The Chartist legacy was the creation of Kennington Park in 1854 when the area was gated and enclosed by railings and transformed into a park with trees and planting, closely monitored by numerous gardeners and park supervisors.

Between April and October the Kennington Chartist Project  held a series of walks, talks and workshops:

- Guided walks in the park about the Chartists in April, June and July.  In October there are two walks for Lambeth Black History Month, Saturday 6 October 2pm at St Mark's Church, Oval  and Saturday 13 October 2pm at the junction of Manor Place/Walworth Road


- Free Historical talks in April and May in St Marks church, the former site of Gallows Corner on the old common.

- Stalls  at the Kennington Fete in Cleaver Square on Sunday 17 June and the North Lambeth Parish Fete at Lambeth Palace on Saturday 30 June and occasionally at the Oval Farmers' Market

- Kennington 1848-2018, Workshops and participation, a Chartist Celebration, in Kennington Park on Saturday 7 July from 11am to 4pm, despite the very hot weather and the World Cup football there was a large attendance to this event in the park. There was banner making (and an amazing display of old banners), print making and T shirt printing, spoken word with some great poetry, St Mark's Community choir including Chartist songs, a lively debate, ideas for a permanent memorial to the Chartists in the park, storytelling, two history walks and the opportunity to chat with several delicious food stalls.

 

- Lambeth Local History Fair on Saturday 1 September, Clapham Omnibus, Clapham Common North Side a stall and talk on the Chartists

- Talk for the Friends of the Durning Library, Monday 17 September,  "Kennington and Chartism, 1848-2018, in the Durning Library as part of Lambeth Heritge Month.

 

- Workshops with local primary schools, and  with young people, exploring writing a new charter, and the traditions of oratory, protest song, and banners.

Historic Research - looking for the stories of Chartists in Lambeth and Walworth and where they lived using census records, street maps, Post Office directories, newspaper archives. So far we have found local Chartist supporters who emigrated to the US and Australian and one who ended up in Oxford Jail. If you are interested in getting involved please contact us via the website. www.kenningtonchartistproject.org

Prince Albert and The Chartists 170 years ago

10 April 2018

The Royal Collections have just released the digitised papers of Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria.  Amongst the thousands of documents is a draft of the letter that the Prince Consort wrote to Sir John Russell, the Prime Minister, on the day of the Chartist Rally on Kennington Common, 10 April 1848.  The Royal Family had been sent to the Isle of Wight for fear of the danger posted by the Chartist rally. The draft reads:

My dear Lord John

Today the strength of the Chartists and all  evil disposed people in the country will be [measured] brought to the test against the force of the law, the Govt and the good sense of the country. I dont feel doubtful for a moment, who will be found the stronger, but should be exceedingly mortified if any thing like a commotion was to take place as it would shake that confidence which the whole of Europe reposes in our stability at this moment and upon which will depend the prosperity of the country. I have [much] enquired a good deal into the state of employment about London, and I find to my great regret that the number of workmen of all trades out of employment is very large and that ....."

Prince Albert expresses his concern for the protesters and the causes that affected them.  Commenting on a recent decision to reduce the building works at Westminster Palace and Buckingham Palace and lay off workers, he observes, ‘Surely this is not the time for the Tax Payers to economise upon the Working Classes!’ 

At the time the Houses of Parliament were being re-built following the fire of 1834. By 1847 £1 million had already been spent and the project was already behind schedule and over budget.

After the Chartist rally of 10 April 1848 on Kennington Common, there were rallies on Whit Monday 10 June 1848, the following day there was a small demonstration outside the gates of Osborne House, Queen Victoria's retreat on the Isle of Wight, but the Chartists claimed to be members of the Foresters' Friendly Society.

The photograph is Royal Archives / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018.

Little Freddie RIP, Kennington Park's new memorial bench

28 March 2018

Little Freddie's bench is the most recent memorial bench in Kennington Park.

Kennington Park - Please help to keep our park tidy!

26 October 2018

Thanks to the volunteers who took part in this spring's Great British Spring Clean in Kennington Park.  Six bags of rubbish collected.

The number one rubbish items collected in the park were cans, bottles and drink cartons.  Behind the 155 bus stop (opposite Morans) 26 of them were found in one spot. 

The number two rubbish item is crisp packets.

The number three rubbish item are sweet wrappers.

With lots of rubbish bins in the park, please help to keep the park tidy.  It means that the park staff can then spend more time gardening and caring for the park rather than picking up litter. It is hoped that Lambeth will be installing re-cycling bins in the park.   They now have teams how litter pick during the weekends.

Lambeth have recently introduced re-cycling bins into the park - these are the light green ones.

Please, please not BBQs in the park, they are not permitted by Lambeth as they burn the grass

Have you seen a hedgehog recently?

Updated 3 September 2018

London's hedgehogs are in trouble, with the city's population falling by nearly a third since 2000. London Wildlife Trust says we need to act fast to reverse this decline, but we can only do this with our help.

In the 1950s there were around 30 million hedgehogs in Britain, but today the number is less than one million. In London, these spiky beetle-eating mammals have virtually disappeared from many parts of the capital, with only one last breeding population currently recorded in central London.

London Wildlife Trust are now calling on everyone in London to help them reverse this shocking decline, and to ensure ensure our hedgehogs can continue to live in the city for decades to come.

 

One of the biggest priorities is recording where hedgehogs live in London, so they can build an accurate picture of where help is most needed. As part of our 'Urban Urchins' project London Wildlife Trust are asking Londoners, if they have seen a hedgehog at any time and in any part of the capital.

Click here to tell London Wildlife Trust you've seen a hedgehog, or if you'd like more information on this project.

Hedgehog fact - A single hedgehog travels 1-2km a night in search of food and usually ranges over an area of 10 hectares (24.7 acres)

In May 2018 it was reported that sightings of hedgehogs had dropped again over the past 12 months, 6 out of 10 people reported they had not seen one.  Gardeners can help protect our hedgehogs by not using slug pellets, cutting a hole in fences to help hedgehogs roam and retaining twigs and leaves for them to nest in. 

However, there was a slight ray of hope. According to David Wembridge at PTES (People's Trust for Endangered Species) “There is still a very big decline in the rural landscape and a decline in urban areas, but what we have taken to be a chink of hope is that the decline in urban areas at least has levelled off – a slight indication that perhaps numbers are recovering again”

By the way, if you do see a hedgehog, please DONT feed it bread and milk. The RSPCA advise foods like tinned dog or cat food (not fish-based) and crushed dog or cat biscuits and fresh water in a shallow bowl.

The good news from this Spring's RSPB Great Garden Bird Watch was that the survey revealed that the number of sightings of hedgehogs in people's gardens was in the increase.

Northern Line Extension -plans agreed without going to the Planning Committee

3 September 2018

Last year Transport for London's Northern Line Extension (NLE) consulted on the designs for the Headhouse for the ventilation shift which will be built in Kennington Park in the corner of the former dogwalking area on the junction of St Agnes Place and Kennington Park Place. This is the site of the former park keeper's lodge and later Bee Urban.

The Friends of Kennington Park objected strongly to these designs concluding:

"The Friends of Kennington Park  consider that the proposed designs for the Head house building in a listed Victorian, heritage park are ugly, wholly inappropriate and totally unsympathetic to its natural surroundings in the park and to the nearby buildings. 

"The Friends believe that a total re think and re design is necessary to come up with a building is suitable, worthy of the park and blends in with it – one possibility might be a facade that pays homage to the Victorian style so that the building becomes another treasure of the park -  rather than standing out as an unattractive modern eyesore.

"The NLE's consultation document reads “the head house will add to the existing collection of objects in the park”,  these so-called objects are structures of artistic merit and historic interest, whilst the proposed design for the head house is merely an objectionable object."

Slight amendments were made to the plans by TFL NLE and they have now been lodged with Lambeth Council.  The statutory consultation period on these plans ran until 23 February 2018.

 

Many thanks to the local residents who submitted comments to Lambeth Planning. 

 

However, the plans for the head house were agreed in June 2018 by Lambeth Officers without going to the Council's Planning Committee. Despite being one of the main stakeholders and objectors, the Friends were never officially notified.  The Council's response was that the principle of a head house had already been agreed by the Public Enquiry!

The large acoustic shed has been removed and work will continue below ground up until summer 2019.

Building the headhouse will start in the new year 2019

Landscaping will be undertaking in summer 2020

Oval station will remain in Zone 2; Kennington will be Zone 1/2 while the new stations at Battersea and Nine Elms will be in Zone 1.

The Friends will continue to raise with TFL NLE about the reinstatement of the dog walking area, its fencing and the planting within that area.

Park Café - update

10 January 2019

After many years of running the Kennington Park cafe and catering for the park's many thirsty and hungry visitors, a year ago on Saturday 20 January 2018 Chris Michael closed his cafe for a final time.  

 

Lambeth Council Council put it out to tender and there was a lot of interest.  The Sugar Pot who run the nearby popular cafe have been appointed as the new tenants. Unfortunately the Council had to do some strucingtural work on the building before the lease could be signed.  This has now been completed.  Obtain Planning permission from Lambeth provided to be a lengthy process, in early January 2019, this was granted, Dominic and Charlotte plan to make some alterations to the building to turn it into a pizzeria and restaurant.  The building work will probably take a couple of months,  so we will have to wait a little longer for our much valued park cafe.

 

 

 

 

Kennington Park's 20 new trees

7 December 2017 updated 10 May 2018

Earlier this year The Friends of Kennington Park teamed up with our park neighbour's Trees for Cities (TFC) for a tree project in the park - all the existing trees were to be survey and twenty new trees were to be planted to fill in the gaps and maintain the tree numbers.

In August a band of 35 volunteers spent a couple of days surveying all the trees - and there are nearly 500 - and on Saturday 11 November Trees for Cities organised a brilliant tree day and 36 local volunteers and 10 TFC  volunteers of all ages planted 17 new trees in the heritage park, on the Green Link, on the park extension and near the astroturf. 

 

Despite the ground being damp from recent rain, we soon found that not far below the surface was rubble, bricks, bits of slate and even some bits of pottery and clay pipes. 

The Friends of Kennington Park planted a Black Mulberry on the Green Link. This to commemorate the Chartists who held their "monster rally" in the park 169 years ago.  Near the war memorial is another new tree planted on the 99th anniversary of the Armistice.

Two days earlier 9 teachers and 58 pupils from Charlotte Sharman and Henry Fawcett schools and the Kennington Park Academy came over to the park for a workshop and planted three trees in the park.

Many thanks to TFC for all the hard work and planning and to all the August and November volunteers.

Unfortunately within the first month one of the new trees was vandalised, Trees for Cities kept an eye on it and in the spring the tree burst into life!

Damage to our park

22 September 2017, updated 25 January,13 April and 1 June 2018

Sadly, once again the park suffered from a spate of vandalism - this time to the children's toilets in the playground which  had to be shut for repairs and the colourful new steering wheel in the red bus was destroyed and later the bus was further damaged and eventually had to be taken down. This has all been reported to Lambeth Council and to the police.

If you see any vandalism, please report to the local police and copy in the Friends of Kennington Park.

The Oval Safer Neighbourhoods Team can be contacted on:

@MPSOval

SNTLX-Oval@metpolice.uk

New park "planting"

1 August 2017, updated 25 January 2018

Last summer you might have  come across any little wooden red boxes buried in the grass of Kennington Park?  It is not some kind of new planting, but they contain ground movement monitors  linked to the Northern Line Extension work that is taking place at the north of the park.  NLE tell us that these will be removed this summer.  The Friends have asked that they fill the holes with earth and turf the surface.

Friends of Kennington Park 2018-2019

The Friends of Kennington Park held its annual get together in the Durning Library.  We said good bye to some of our committee members - Christian, Emily and Dave - and welcomed some new committee members.  This year's committee is:

Chair: Marietta

Secretary : Rita

Treasurer: Vilde

Membership secretary: Ian

Committee members: Kathryn, Adam, Colin, Nikki, Rachel, Nicola and Andrew

Kennington's Victoria Cross winner commemorated in the park

5 May 2017

55295 Corporal George Jarratt, VC

8th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)

Died at Pelves in France on 3 May 1917 aged 25

The Victoria Cross was awarded posthumously to Corporal Jarratt for an incident during the Battle of Arras at Pelves, near Monchy le Preux, France on 3 May 1917. The citation in the London Gazette of 8 June 1917 reads: For most conspicuous bravery and devotion in deliberately sacrificing his life to save others. He had, together with some wounded men, been taken prisoner and placed under guard in a dug-out. The same evening the enemy were driven back by our troops, the leading infantrymen of which commenced to bomb the dug-outs. A grenade fell in the dugout, and without hesitation Cpl. Jarratt placed both feet on the grenade, the subsequent explosion blowing off both his legs. The wounded were later safely removed to our lines, but Cpl. Jarratt died before he could be removed. By this supreme act of self-sacrifice the lives of these wounded were saved.

He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Bay 3; on the memorial of St Mark's Church, Oval and with a commemorative paving stone in Kennington Park that was unveiled on Friday 5 May 2017.

George Levi Jarratt was born on 20 July 1891, the son of Levi and Frances Jarratt, his birth was registered at St Saviour, Southwark in 1891. He may have been educated at St Agnes School, close to Kennington Park.

In the 1901 census the family lived at 23 Smith Street, in the parish of St Mark's Oval.

In the 1911 census the family lived at 28 White Hart Street, off Kennington Lane, he worked as a Junior Clerk in the Distillery (in 2017 Beefeaters have a Gin distillery at the Oval).

His marriage in the eary summer of 1915 to Gertrude Margaret Elkins was registered in Southwark.  Their daughter Joyce was born in 1916, birth registered in Wandsworth.

Initially George served in the 12th Battalion of the Royal West Kents and later transferred to the Royal Fusiliers, 8th Battalion, where he served as a Corporal.  The battalion went to France in May 1915 and served in the 36th Brigade, 12th Eastern Division.

On 3 May 1917 during the battle of Arras, the 8th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (as part of the 36th Brigade) were part of an attack on the village of Pelves, near Monchy le Preux and Roeux.  Gerald Gliddon’s book on VCs of the battles of Arras and Messines records “The two Royal Fusiliers moved forward behind a creeping barrage and the leading units reached the Brown Line (an objective for the attack). However, the 8th Battalion came under considerable pressure from the direction of Roeux. Thus they were only able to reach as far as Scabbard Trench, from which they were driven back as a result of a German counter attack. In the confusion, the enemy had managed to conceal themselves and were passed over in the darkness, which led to some men being surrounded or cut off.  An unconfirmed report stated that the enemy was holding Devil’s and Scabbard Trenches.

Ten minutes after noon, following a brief bombardment, parties of two companies from the 7th Battalion, Royal Sussex attacked under a howitzer barrage and managed to clear Scabbard Trench of its occupants and then passed the Brown Line.  Thus the 36th Brigade gained its first objective. It was when the Sussex men were clearing the captured trenches that one of them threw a bomb into the dug-out which was sheltering Jarratt and a few others of the leading wave from the 8th Royal Fusiliers who had been taken prisoner during the initial assault.  Without hesitating Jarratt placed both of his feet on the bomb in order to limit the explosion, and thus saved his comrades’ lives.  Both his legs were blown off, and although his comrades were safely removed to their lines, Jarratt died before stretcher bearers could reach him.”  For this action Corporal Jarratt was awarded the Victoria Cross.  His VC is an unusual one as it was awarded for actions resulting from an assault by British, not enemy, troops.

At the time of George's death Gertrude and her daughter were living at 28 Stanley Road, Southgate,  Middlesex.  She and her daughter went to Buckingham Palace onn21 July 1917 and received the medal from King George V. On that day the King presented 32 VCs of which 8 were posthumous. Most of these were presented to parents, Gertrude was the only widow to be handed the medal that day.

In 1921 George's widow married Ernest William Pearce and had three sons.

Corporal Jarratt's Victoria Cross is now in the Royal Fusiliers’ Museum in the Tower of London

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Help keep Kennington Park litter free

Spring 2018

When the weather is sunny Kennington Park is a great place for a picnic, but, sadly, the litter from picnics is often left lying on the grass or stuffed into bushes.  It means that the park staff have less time to do gardening work in the park. Please put your rubbish in the bins or take it home.

Many thanks

Damage to the park during the 2017 pillow fight

5 March 2018

Last year on April Fool's Day 2017 an unauthorised  Pillow Fight Day  took place in Kennington Park.

A large number of people decided that a grass field at Kennington was a suitable venue for a giant pillow fight, this despite having no permission from Lambeth Council.

Extra refuse bins were organised by the Council, park staff and police were on site and some park gates had to be locked.   2000-3000 people turned up,  had their pillow fight, did no clearing up  and left a mess of broken pillows, feathers and foam.

Council staff had  a big task to clear up after them - picking up feathers from a grass field is not a quick or easy task - the clear up costs were nearly £1500 and came out of the already reduced parks budget and at  a cost to the Lambeth Council Tax payer.

The Friends of Kennington Park asked Lambeth Council to take the necessary action to ensure that there was not a repetition this year.  It appears that this year the "event" will now take place in Allen Gardens in Shoreditch.

The Playground Bus is no more

14 June 2018

Many thanks for all who supported the Playground Bus appeal through your donations and fundraising. In late 2016 a new bus was installed. It became a focal point for the Playground and was well used.  Unfortunately it has been vandalised on a number of occasions, repairs were made, but it had to be removed in early June 2018 for health and safety reasons.  We have put on our thinking caps for what to do next.  Any ideas, please contact the Friends of Kennington Park.

Kennington Park birds

January 2018 updated 3 September 2018

On a Sunday in late January 2018 The Friends of Kennington Park took part in the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) in the Big Garden Birdwatch.  We were joining over half a million other citizen scientists to see how nature is faring. Lots of people took the forms or carried out the survey on line in their own gardens.

We managed to see a lot of pigeons, sparrows, a jay, a mistle thrush as well as lots of noisy parakeets.

The RSPB reported that over 6 million birds were counted during the 3 day survey in England.  The top sightings are:

1. Sparrow

2.  Starlings

3. Blue Tits

4. Blackbirds

5. Woodpigeons

 

The good news is that sightings of hedgehogs have increased, but the number of foxes is also up!  

FOKP have asked the RSPB if the ring necked parakeet could be added to the survey form as they are one of Kennington Park's most visible and noisy birds.

Next year we may do the survey in the Flower Garden as there are masses of sparrows in the pergola.

Pip, pip - Apple Tree planting on the Green Link

2 February 2017

FOKP's Marietta joined the gang from Bee Urban to help plant 15 new apple trees on the park's Green Link.  The trees varied in size as they were between 1 and 3 years old.  Among the species planted were Charles Ross, Ashmead's Kernel and Blenheim Orange.

A quick Google reveals that "Charles Ross" is a late Victorian Apple, a cross between a Cox's Orange Pippin and Peasgood Nonsuch. It was developed in Berkshire by Charles Ross, the garden at Welford Park.  It is described as a "handsome, juicy, versatile English classic".

"Ashmead's Kernel" was developed by Dr Ashmead in Gloucester in the 18th century or originated by a lawyer named William Ashmead who died in 1782.  It has quite a drab appearance which apparently  belies a unique pear drop flavour.

"Blenheim Orange" is an 18th century English dual purpose apple, first found at Woodstock (near Blenheim Palace) around 1740.  It has a greenish yellow-orange skin streaked with red.

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