Due to the Covid lockdowns and the damage caused to the south field of the park by Friendsfest in autumn 2019, Kennington Park has been event free for about 20 months. Lambeth Events are now assessing various events to be held in the park, the first of these is Bensons Funfair which will be on the south field between 21 June and 5 July.
FOKP'S AGM - provisional date Wednesday 7 July 2021
7 June 2021
We've been trying to work out when and where to hold the Friends of Kennington Park AGM this year. We now have a provisional date: Wednesday 7th July. But that, and the venue, are yet to be confirmed.
We hope you'll come along to find out how we coped during the pandemic, hear all our latest news and find out more about Lambeth Council’s investment programme for the park: Over the next 2-3 years, we'll be working with Lambeth on a range of projects and initiatives in the park. There are details on the Projects page of this web site. If you'd like to be involved in any of these, please do get in touch by email.
And you can 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
173rd Anniversary of Kennington's Chartist Rally
10 April 2021
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.
Volunteer gardening for June 2021
7 June 2021
Volunteer gardening in the Flower Garden on Sunday 13 June 2021 between noon and 4pm.
The June volunteer gardening session run by the Friends of Kennington Park (FOKP) in Kennington Park is next Sunday, June 13, between noon and 4pm.
As there are still Covid regulations in force, we have checked with Lambeth Council and have risk assessed the session, volunteering is permitted if you are well, not classed as clinically extremely vulnerable and nobody in your household has Coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive in the last 2 weeks.
We will be keeping a register of names and contact details. Over 18s only please. As always, the sessions are chatty and relaxed, but with the social distancing. The work will probably be weeding and cutting back.
Tools and gardening gloves are provided, but, if you have your own tools and gloves please bring them. Hand sanitiser and wipes will be available and, after the session, the gloves will be washed and the tools cleaned.
Ruth Morgan will be leading the session; just turn up, you will find us in the Flower Garden and stay as long or as short a time as you like.
All welcome and no gardening skill required!
The park cafe is open for takeaways (card only and you will need to wear a mask when you order at the counter). There are Adult toilets in the park.
The Friends of Kennington Park (FoKP) and Lambeth Council are working together to try to restore the Park’s classic 1970’s skatebowl.
A condition survey was done during the second week of February. This has involved lifting part of the concrete surface to check out the infrastructure condition, there is a hole in the surface so the skatebowl has had to be fenced off and should not be be used. Please bear with us, it is for the longterm future of the bowl. It’s important that people don’t try to use the skatebowl at this time.
Did you know? Kennington Park’s skatebowl was one of the first to be built in the UK. It was designed by Lorne Edwards and it's one of only a few of its type left.
Repairs were carried out a few years ago but sadly they did not do the job. So further work and new techniques are now necessary.
THE DETAILS: Using a spec drawn up by FoKP, Lambeth Council commissioned civil & construction engineers Price & Myers to do the condition survey, lifting the concrete slabs that sit on an adjustable supporting framework. This is important as they need to assess the condition of the framework before looking at possible next steps.
Because of its condition, the bowl has been fenced off for several years, as it’s considered unsafe. The need to break up part of the surface concrete during the survey is going to make it even more dangerous. So please help by not using it and by discouraging other people from using it too.
It’s been a longtime ambition of FoKP to get the skatebowl restored – it will be great to see the bowl, known affectionately as “Kenny”, back in action.
One of the people helping the Friends is a Professor of Urban Architecture at UCL, and a skateboarder. His insider knowledge about the design and history of the bowl have been really useful, providing them with key information at the start of the project.
The surveyors' report will be considered by a Project Steering Group in March. It’s very much the first step. Even if the bowl’s structure is still in relatively good condition, a great deal of work will need to be done. It’s likely to take many months and will cost a lot of money. The Friends will post updates on what is happening.
The inclusion of skateboarding in the next Olympics and the lockdown have both led to a massive increase in skateboarding among riders of all ages, particularly young women. The UK’s current champion is a 12 year old girl named Sky Brown. Sky is the youngest professional skateboarder in the world.
BIG GARDEN BIRD WATCH 2021 - FOKP and RSPB Results
9 April 2021
The last weekend in January was the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch, it was dull and damp, but this didnt deter either visitors or birds to Kennington Park.
FOKP (The Friends of Kennington Park) handed out RSPB survey forms in the park and did a mini survey which was logged on the RSPB site. Charlie Holland of Greener Kennington collated all the local sightings - here they are!
Kennington’s RSPB Garden Bird Watch results – thanks to Greener Kennington for collating
17 sparrows, 7 feral pigeons, 2 wood pigeons, 3 great tits, 1 Chaffinch, 3 parakeets, 1 robin
Orsett Street by Sancroft House block
6 feral pigeons, 2 magpies (with a nest in one of the threatened trees), 2 crows
Rupert House block, Reedworth Street.
a) The rear lawn to the left of the path: 4 pigeons, 2 crows, all briefly.
b) the area with some bushes, two bird feeders with fatballs, grass and bare beds: 7 pigeons, 6 sparrows, 3 great tits
Reedworth Street house back garden
4 coal tits, 2 wood pigeons, 1 magpie, 1 wren
Reedworth Street different house back garden
1 wood pigeon, 1 great tit, 1 blue tit, 1 Robin
2 wood pigeons, 2 great tits and 1 robin
Gilbert Road back garden
2 wood pigeons
South Lambeth Road back garden
15 sparrows, 1 blue tit and 1 great tit
Finally, Charlie Holland of Greener Kennington reports that he cheated – he counted as he walked past, on Lambeth Walk Open Space behind the new Vanguard School at Lollard Street
26 crows, 10 pigeons, 1 starling.
The RSPB have just released their Top 10 for the 2020 Garden Bird Watch.
1. House sparrow, in the top spot for 18 years
2. Blue tit
6.Robin, up by 2 places since 2020
9.Magpie, up 1 place since 2020
The sad truth is that there are fewer birds around now, over the last 50 years, 40 million birds have vanished from the UK skies. Since 1979 the number of house sparrows has fallen by 58%, whilst the number of wood pigeons is on the increase – as well as parakeets in Kennington Park!
Events in Kennington Park in 2021
3 May 2021
Welcome to the website of the Friends of Kennington Park.
We have lots of plans for the park in 2021, but, even though the Covid lockdown is easing, most of them are on hold, but we did manage to have a Bat Walk in April.
The current lockdown regulations on the front page of the website - please follow them.
We want to ensure that our much valued park stays open.
Good news - the monthly volunteer gardening sessions in the Flower Garden have been taking place since February. There is always lots of weeding and some cutting back and Ruth and Catey have been doing some painstaking work on the climbing roses.
The next volunteer gardening session will take place on Sunday 13 June, noon to 4pm.
We have checked with Lambeth Council and have risk assessed the session in the light of the current Covid regulations, volunteering is permitted if you are well, not classed as clinically extremely vulnerable and nobody in your household has Coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive in the last 2 weeks.
We keep a register of names and contact details. Over 18s only please. As always, the sessions are chatty and relaxed, but with the social distancing.
Tools and gardening gloves are provided, but, in these pandemic times, if you have your own tools and gloves please bring them. Hand sanitiser and wipes will be available and, after the session, the gloves will be washed and the tools cleaned.
Ruth Morgan will be leading the session; just turn up, you will find us in the Flower Garden (or maybe in the flower beds near the Lodge) and stay as long or as short a time as you like.
All welcome and no gardening skill required! If you would like to be included in the volunteer gardening email list, please contact us on:
The sessions are generally on the second Sunday of the month - with a break in August and January.
BATS GALORE - we ran a Bat Walk last month with Lambeth's Dr Iain Boulton, armed with bat detectors we both saw and heard a lot of bats. Apparently the park is host to a colony of about a dozen pipestrelle bats and we saw about 7 of them. They had just come out of hibernation and are starving, so at dusk and dawn they come out to feed and can eat about 1000 insects in one session!
ART COMPETITION - throughout April the Friends ran an art competition, with cash prizes, for photos, drawings, poems, prose on what people loved about the park during the lockdown. Details of the prize winning entries elsewhere on this website.
OTHER PARK EVENTS: subject to the relaxing of the Covid rules, the Friends are hoping to run some other events in the park this year.
If you would like to help at any of the FOKP events, please get in touch on:
If you are not a member, do come and join us, details on this website
REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY KENNINGTON PARK
9 November 2020
Due to the new Covid Regulations, there was no official Royal British Legion Remembrance Day service at the Kennington Park war memorial on Sunday 8 November. However, a number of socially distanced people came to the war memorial that day and laid wreaths.
Kennington's Black History
30 October 2020
As we come to the end of Black History Month, the FOKP Twitter page featured a Black History walks leaflet produced some years ago by the Lambeth Archives, here are a few of the local places in and around Kennington Park:
OVAL CRICKET GROUND: In 1928 the West Indies played their first match at the Oval. During their victorious 1976 tour, 2901 of Viv Richards’ 829 runs were scored here and Michael Holding took 6 wickets for 57 runs. The Oval was also the scene of the Scottish football team’s historic 6-1 victory over England in March 1881. Captaining Scotland that day was Andrew Watson, widely believed to be Britain’s first black professional footballer.
6 MEADOW ROAD: was the home of the writer, editor and political activist Claudia Jones from 1958 to 1960. She published The West Indian Gazette and Afro-Asian News – Britain’s first post-war Black newspaper. She also organized the yearly Caribbean celebrations in London that would evolve into the Notting Hill Carnival.
KENNINGTON PARK: formerly known as Kennington Common, this stretch of green was the site of several gatherings of the Chartists throughout the spring of 1848. The Chartist movement sought voting rights for all adult men, a secret ballot and payment for MPs among other demands. The best known rally was held on 10 April 1848 when over 250,000 people assembled. The event was organize by William Cuffay [pictured], the black elected member of London’s Chartists. Seeking to ridicule the movement, The Times newspaper referred to them as “the black man and his party”. Two black men, Benjamin Prophett and David Duffy, were identified as ringleaders at one of the meetings. [The size of the crowd on 10 April 1848 is still being debated].
ST AGNES PLACE [between the heritage park and the park extension]. The Rastafarian Community Centre at number 93 was visited throughout 1977 by the legendary reggae artist Bob Marley while he was recording the “Exodus” album.
UPDATED KENNINGTON PARK EVENTS FOR 2020
1 December 2020
Due to Covid 19 many of FOKP activities in Kennington Park had to be cancelled or postponed, these included an Easter Egg hunt, Chartist walk, Tree Walk and Dawn Chorus walk BUT
VOLUNTEER GARDENING SESSIONS
After a Risk Assessment, sessions were held in July, August, September, October and November.
The December session had been further risk assessed in the light of the new Covid regulations from Wednesday 2 December and, with the agreement from Lambeth Council, the December volunteer gardening session will go ahead.
You can volunteer if you are well; not classed as clinically extremely vulnerable; nobody in your household has Coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive in the last 2 weeks
Thanks to all who helped on November 8 with a mini olive harvest, fig picking, cutting back and a litter pick.
As always, no gardening skill required! The sessions are now being led by Ruth Morgan, gardener and expert on lavender! Just turn up, find us in the Flower Garden and stay as long or as short a time as you like.
We will be keeping a register of names and contact details. Over 18s only please. The sessions are quite chatty and relaxed, but must adhere to the rule of 6 and social distancing.
Tools and gardening gloves are provided, but in these pandemic times if you have your own tools and gloves please bring them. Hand sanitiser and wipes will be provided and after the session, the gloves are washed and the tools cleaned. The work includes weeding, cutting back, dead heading. All welcome!
The park café is open for takeaways (card only). There are Adult toilets in the park, these will be open during the Covid lockdown.
The last session of 2020 is scheduled for:
Sunday 13 December noon-4pm CONFIRMED
BAT WALK - this took place on Saturday 26 September, as always, led by Dr Iain Boulton. Bats were both seen and heard in the park.
CIVILIAN WAR MEMORIAL 80TH ANNIVERSARY; a small commemorative service was held at the memorial on 15 October.
LAMBETH HERITAGE MONTH KENNINGTON PARK TALK - it is hoped to put a recording of Marietta's Zoom talk on the Victorian Kennington Park on to the FOKP website shortly.
If you would like to help the Friends of Kennington Park run any events, please get in touch, email
Kennington Park's Civilian War Memorial 80th anniversary in October
15 October 2020
On 15 October 1940 an enemy bomb dropped on a civilian trench air raid shelter on the south field of Kennington Park. No official death toll was announced, but it is believed that about 104 people were killed, but only 48 bodies were recovered and buried in Lambeth Cemetery. It was Lambeth's worst World War II bomb incident. In late 1940 the damaged trench was filled in, but the remainder of the trenches remained in use. They were finally demolished in 1947 and the south field of the park was re turfed and re seeded.
Long forgotten in 2005 a memorial was erected in the park to commemorate this event, carved by Richard Kindersley, it bears the dedication "To commemorate the wartime suffering of the people of Kennington and in particular over 50 men, women and children who were killed on 15 October 1940 when a bomb destroyed an air raid shelter near this spot. Rest in peace."
It also bears an inscription from poet, author and historian Maya Angelou: "History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived but if faced with courage need not be lived again."
This October is the 80th anniversary of "Kennington's Forgotten Tragedy". In conjunction with the Rev Steve Coulson of St Mark's Church, the Friends of Kennington Park held a small service at the memorial at noon on Thursday 15 October, sadly, due to the Covid restrictions it could not be widely publicised. The short service where all the names of the known victims were read out was recorded and can be seen by clicking on the link via the image for this article.
On Sunday 18 October the Rev Coulson will remember the casualties at the 1030 service, he will play the recording and put it on to the Church's YouTube channel.
The photo shows a small commemoration in 2019, the mother of one of those present was in the air raid shelter that night but escaped unharmed.
If you have any family stories about this sad event, please get in touch with the Friends of Kennington Park. Marietta was recently contacted by someone whose grandparents both died in the air raid shelter on 15 October 1940. RIP.
Green, green grass Update
1 December 2020
The departure of the Friendsfest event from the park last autumn left a mud bath and the field is still recovering. The good news is that more work was done to repair the patchy grass on the south field. Lambeth reported on the work of Rudy and his team to reinstate the area:
"The rain that fell in abundance towards the end of September helped the grass seed germinate and establish.
The turf was delivered and Rudy and his team laid a portion of it in the section between the trees where Friendsfest production vehicle entrance point was on the south field. This areas had herris fence line around it until the turf patches had knitted into the soil and established new growth. They were then going to scrape off the top to level down and this was then to be included in the turfed sections and the fence line extended to include this area.
Across the field there are still bare patches. Rudy was vertidraining the whole field and then overseed ing. In areas where there are large bare sections he will also look to put germination sheet on top and there was to be some short term fencing. This will just give these sections the best chance of the seed germinating, sprouting and then the root network spreading to bulking out the grass coverage.
LOOS IN THE PARK
6 June 2021
The portaloos have returned to the park - they are near the picnic area by the cafe (opposite the entrance to Bee Urban) and the adult toilet block is open.
There has been an ongoing problem with a lead in the children's toilets in the playground - and these toilets are for children only.
The park cafe toilet is NOT available to customers.
COVID UPDATE from 4 July children's playgrounds & open air gyms OPEN
4 July 2020, updated 12 July 2020
Saturday 4 July 2020 sees a further relaxation of the Covid 19 lockdown rules.
What it means for Kennington Park is:
* Social distance guidance changes to “one metre plus”, so where it is not possible to stay 2m apart, please try to remain at least 1m distant to reduce the risk of virus transmission.
* The children’s playground will re-open, we hope that the toy train will be in operation soon, please ensure good hygiene, cleansing hands and avoid face touching
* Outdoor gym equipment can be used again, again please ensure good hygiene
* Meet ups in groups of up to 2 households, indoors and outdoors. It doesn’t have to always be the same household
* With social distancing, continue meet ups in groups of up to 6 people from different households
And what you cannot do is to meet in groups of more than 30 people.
Please remember that social distancing is still essential.
And please help to keep the park tidy by putting rubbish in the bins. Or even better, take it home with you. Please don't leave rubbish next to the bins.
There are 8 Portaloos and a Baby Changing Cabin are by the picnic ground near the park cafe, the adult toilet block is now open.
FOKP's Virtual 2020 AGM - held and the report back posted
1 July 2020 and update
On 1 July 2020 we posted this about Our AGM, but not as you know it!
Like so many things in 2020, the FoKP Annual General Meeting (AGM) is a bit different this year. Instead of our usual gathering in the library or park, with presentations by committee members and contributions from guest speakers, there's a virtual AGM, where we're concentrating on FoKP issues over the past year and our plans for the year to come.
We're not using Zoom or any other video technology. To try to keep the arrangements simple, we've posted the AGM reports on our website: click here. You can give us your comments on what we've proposed and add your own ‘Any Other Business’ items.
This arrangement obviously doesn’t offer the same ability to debate an issue as a live meeting. But it does, we hope, give more of you the opportunity to take part. And we've presented the papers in a way that hopefully makes the detail easier to review, although this wasn’t possible for the formal accounts!
The schedule for the AGM is as follows:
1st July: Formal notification of the AGM via an e-bulletin to the members and on the website.
22nd July: Deadline for responses (comments, questions, notification of additional items) by FoKP members by:
Email: email@example.com (preferred method)
Letter: FoKP, c/o 1 Radcot St, London SE11 4AH
27th July: Consideration by the committee of FoKP members’ comments and questions, and decision on actions.
3rd August: Publication of AGM decisions on website.
We're very sorry not to be able to hold our usual meeting, and to chat to members before and after the meeting. But we decided it was important to have an AGM, even a rather unusual one, rather than to cancel it altogether.
We hope you enjoy reading the papers (which can be found by clicking here) and we look forward to your comments and ideas.
Marietta Crichton Stuart
1st July 2020
END OF JULY: many thanks to all those who contacted us with comments about the park and the work of the Friends. Notes of this and the election of the committee have been posted on the website.
Volunteer gardening latest
4 November 2020
With the Covid lockdown being relaxed on 12 July we held a volunteer gardening session in Kennington Park. This worked well and sessions were held in August, September and October. Having risk assessed the new Covid regulations that will start on 5 November, there will be a session on Sunday 8 November between noon and 4pm led by Marietta and Ruth. We might be harvesting some of the olives and figs in the flower garden!
The sessions have been risk-assessed, social distancing will be operation and open to over-18s only. We will take a register of people's contact details. The gardening will respect the new rule of 2 and social distancing.
We asked people who had their own gardening gloves and tools to bring them, but we also had a supply of gardening gloves and tools, along with hand sanitiser and wipes.
Thanks to all for their help in the previous gardening sessions and we look forward to seeing you in November. See Events for details of the other dates.
POLITE NOTICE - trees are not gym equipment
25 June 2020
Trees are not gym equipment. Please don't use trees and tree branches as part of your keep fit regime. Branches get damaged and weakened if pulleys, ropes and exercise bands are fixed to them or slung over them and then people hang from them. Many of Kennington Park's beautiful trees are getting on in years and arent suitable. Please respect the park's trees.
Windrush Day Celebration 2020
Monday 20 June 2020
The Brixton Project and Lambeth Council organised a literal all-singing, all-dancing celebration of the Windrush generation, at 10.27 am on Monday 22 June. The time of 10:27am represented the arrival of 1,027 people on the original Empire Windrush.
To coincide with this the topic of Lambeth Archivist Jon Newman Lambeth in Lockdown History talks was "Before and After Windrush, a history of the Black community in Lambeth".
It is now available to be listened to as a recording at
Lambeth Parks & Open Spaces - the latest - 8 June 2020
8 June 2020
From Lambeth Council's website on 8 June 2020:
All of our parks remain open. As lockdown restrictions set out by the Government begin to change, we have now opened some of the outdoor facilities in our parks. We are taking a gradual, phased approach to reopening facilities. We want to make sure people who visit our parks remain safe and continue to follow the rules on social distancing. Groups of more than six people from different households are still not allowed, so certain facilities involving team sports remain closed for now.
Currently, all playgrounds, outdoor gyms, sports changing rooms and most of our toilets remain closed and should not be accessed by the public at this time. Where possible we have locked gates on closed facilities to prevent users from accessing these. Closure notices have been put on any closed facilities. We will continue to monitor and report any sightings of closed facilities being used. These are being sent to local police teams to investigate and where action is possible, police officers are visiting reported sites of concern and dispersing users.
We have prioritised reopening of some toilets at our busiest sites. Please note that reduced opening hours and additional measures are in place to protect users and staff. Please refer to the site signage for full details. [The Friends of Kennington Park have continued to raise concerns about the lack of toilets in the park]
Lambeth Council ask people to please be aware that other parks’ infrastructure is not sanitised (benches, gates, fencings, etc.).
Facilities open as of Monday 8 June 2020 are:
All Tennis courts – bookings must be made online - via the Better Lambeth website
Brockwell Park Stable Block and BMX toilets
Brockwell Park BMX track and basketball court
Clapham Common skatepark
Clapham Common fishing on Mount Pond and Eagle Pond only. Anglers must be in possession of both a Lambeth Fishing Permit and an Environment Agency Rod Licence.
Kennington Park basketball hoops (the separate basketball court is closed)
Larkhall Park basketball court
Norwood Park skatepark
Ruskin Park basketball hoops and skatepark
Streatham Common Lower playground toilets
Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens basketball court
Anyone for tennis? Lambeth tennis courts re-opened 2 December 2020
2 December 2020
On 2 December Tennis courts in Lambeth Parks re-opened. To use them you need to book a court, this can be done online
There is an hourly charge for the court booking.
Tennis Court - Brockwell Park
Tennis Court - Clapham Common
Tennis Court - Hillside Gardens Park
Tennis Court - Kennington Park Tennis
Tennis Court - Larkhall Park
Tennis Court - Ruskin Park
Tennis Court - The Rookery
Tennis Court - Vauxhall Park
To book the tennis courts in Myatts Field Park you will need to do this through their website.