News & Events

Kennington Park's Civilian War Memorial 80th anniversary in October

15 October 1940

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 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 historianf 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 Fr Steve Coulson of St Mark's Church, the Friends of Kennington Park hope to hold a memorial service. The photo shows a small commemoration in 2019, one of those present had relatives who were in the trenches on the night of the tragedy.

If you have any family stories about this sad event or would like to be involved in the commemoration, please get in touch with the Friends of Kennington Park.

KENNINGTON PARK EVENTS FOR 2020 UPDATED

24 July 2020

Due to Covid 19 many of FOKP activities in Kennington Park hd to be cancelled or postponed BUT

VOLUNTEER GARDENING SESSIONS ARE BACK 
After a Risk Assessment, the first session was held on Sundayh 12 July in brilliant sunshine.  As always, no gardening skill required! The sessions have been led by Amanda Rew (a trained gardener and herbalist) and are now being taken on 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.  The sessions are quite chatty and relaxed. Tools and gardening gloves 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), and there are now portaloos just behind the picnic area

The next sessions are:

Sunday 9 August noon-4pm

Sunday 13 September noon-4pm

Sunday 11 October noon-4pm

Sunday 8 November noon-4pm

Sunday 13 December noon-4pm
     
BAT WALKS - IN THE AUTUMN TO BE CONFIRMED
Led by Iain Boulton from Lambeth Council who will bring a good supply of bat detectors, we've always seen and heard bats in the park! No dogs please. Meet at the notice board by the Flower Garden:

The May walk was cancelled, but we are hopeful the one planned for Saturday 26 September at 6.50pm can go ahead - details to be confirmed.

EASTER EGG HUNT - CANCELLED
Sadly this has had to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus.  Dont despair, it will happen at some time in the future!

HISTORY WALK - CANCELLED
A walk in early April was planned to commemorate the 172nd anniversary of the great Chartist Rally on Kennington Common on 10 April 1848.  Led by Marietta from FOKP, it was to go round the modern park and look at the events leading up to the massive 1848 rally, who was there, what was said and how the government, army and police had organised in fear of violence and revolution.  It is possible this may be a virtual walk on Zoom during Lambeth's virtual Heritage Month in September, otherwise it will take place next year.

If you would like to help the Friends of Kennington Park run any events, please get in touch, email  friends@kenningtonpark.org

STOP PRESS: Other events that, sadly had to be cancelled were the Dawn Chorus walk and a Tree Walk.

 

MORE STOP PRESS: A weekly Junior Park run in Kennington Park is in the planning stage.  More details in due course when the plans are confirmed.

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.

Stay safe

FOKP'S Virtual 2020 AGM - held and the report back to be posted shortly

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.

13th-14th July: Agenda and papers published on the FoKP website (click here for papers)

22nd July: Deadline for responses (comments, questions, notification of additional items) by FoKP members by:
Email: friends@kenningtonpark.org (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
FoKP Chair
1st July 2020

BY THE 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 will be posted on this website shortly.

Volunteer gardening: after the first cautious step in July: more on 9 August

Sunday 12 July updated 24 July 2020

The Covid lockdown is slowly being relaxed. So on Sunday 12th July, between noon and 4pm,  we held a volunteer gardening session in Kennington Park and another session is planned for Sunday 9 August between noon and 4pm, this time to be led by Marietta and Ruth.

July's session was risk-assessed and run by Amanda Rew. Social distancing was in operation, and this session was open to over-18s only.

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. The work was dead heading and weeding and tieing back the climbing roses. The Guys Gold bed by Prince Consort Lodge (and later the circular rose bed by the table tennis) had a good cut back.

 

Thanks to all for their help and we look forward to seeing you in August.  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.

Temporary toilets available in Kennington Park NOW

11 July 2020

On Thursday 25 June Lambeth Council installed 8 temporary toilets and a temporary baby changer in the centre of Kennington Park near the picnic area and cafe.  These are open from noon to 8.30pm and are cleaned daily. Please read the instruction notices. We suggest you bring your own small bottle of hand sanitiser.

The adult toilet block is now open.

Thanks to Lambeth Council Parks and Leisure for organising this.

Hopefully the "normal" toilets will re-open fairly soon.

Due to government regulations, it has not been possible to turn on the water drinking fountain in the park. It is hoped it will be turned on in early August.

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 

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CB3HgWnn-O-/?hl=en

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

  • Stockwell skatepark

  • Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens basketball court

  • Anyone for tennis? Lambeth tennis courts re-open 1 June 2020

    1 June 2020

    Tennis courts in Lambeth Parks have now re-opened.  To use them you need to book a court, this can be done online www.better.org.uk/lambeth-tennis  

    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.

    On 1 June the government issued new guidelines for tennis:


    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation  

    On Tennis they say: "You can play tennis providing you only meet up with no more than 5 other people from a different household and observe social distancing guidelines, remaining a minimum of 2 metres apart. You can also play doubles tennis with people from outside of your household as long as you remain 2 metres apart." And dont forget strong hygiene measures, using anti viral spray or washing hands

     

    The width of a tennis court including tramlines is 10.97 metres,  excluding the tramlines the width is 9.6 metres. The length of a whole court is 23.77 metres.

     

    According to the GLL website, the Kennington Park Astroturf which is used for cricket, football and netball is still NOT open.

    UPDATED Covid19 Guidance for parks from 1 June 2020

    Monday 1 June 2020

    London Parks and Green Spaces – The 13 May 2020 COVID-19 Guidance from the Mayor of London with the update from 1 June 2020

    London’s parks and green spaces are crucial for exercise and mental wellbeing. To stop the spread of COVID-19, the Mayor of London asks that you continue to follow the Government’s rules on social distancing.

    The guidance on using parks and green spaces, you can:

  • spend time outdoors - sunbathing, exercising, sitting

  • exercise as often as you wish - following social distancing guidelines

  •  you can meet in parks and private gardens with groups of up to 6 people (and this figure includes children), they can be from different households - following the social distancing guidelines  

  • you can have a picnic in the park, these should be socially distanced, each household should bring their own food, cutlery and crockery. Don't forget that BBQs are not permitted in Kennington Park. Please take your litter home.

  • use outdoor sports facilities (where they have re-opened) such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course – with members of your household, or one other person while staying 2 metres apart. Team sports are not permitted.

  • try and continue to stay local, but you can drive to a green space. Please walk or cycle where you can.

  •  

    Despite these changes to the rules, it’s still possible for the coronavirus to spread from person to person, so please ensure you keep 2 metres apart from anyone that you do not live with.

  • you still cannot use an outdoor gym, playground or any other facility that has been closed.  This means that in Kennington Park the open air keep fit equipment and childrens' playground cannot be used.  Please do not use exercise bands on the park's trees and branches.

  • Please note that the park infrastructure is not sanitised, that is the benches, gates, fencings, etc

  • The park toilets remain closed and the water fountains are still off.

  •  

    When using London’s parks or green spaces, the Mayor of London says it is vital that you take these steps:

  • Do not visit a park if you have any symptoms – fever, coughs, shortness of breath. See NHS guidelines if this applies to you.

  • Please consider that people without gardens rely on parks more, if you have a garden, make use of this space for exercise and fresh air. 

  • To ensure you can continue to observe social distancing, use all areas of the park that remain open, not just the paths, so you can maintain 2 metres distance from others.

  • If the park is crowded, do not enter if you cannot safely stay at a distance from others.

  • Consider exercising in quieter, less-used streets. The Mayor is working with TfL and boroughs on Streetspace - a plan to boost walking and cycling spaces across the city. Check your borough website for more details.

  • Avoid touching surfaces (such as park gates, fences, benches or hand-rails which are not sanitised) and avoid touching your mouth and face. Please follow Public Health England advice on hygiene and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

  • Keep your dog on a lead to ensure you can safely keep 2 metres away from others.

  • Pay attention to instructions provided by Lambeth parks services including any officials on site. Temporary measures have been put in place to safeguard you.

  • Do not use areas of the park that have been closed– these are closed to stop the possible spread of COVID-19 through touching surfaces and keeping a safe distance from others.

  • Please take all your litter home with you.

  •  

    Many other outdoor spaces are still open. But in some spaces, such as canal towpaths for example, it may be difficult to maintain the recommended distance from other users, so please try to avoid these areas and choose places where you can exercise safely.

    UPDATED Lambeth Archives' weekly local history talks for late July & early August

    Updated 24 July 2020

    Lambeth Archives have been running a weekly series of Zoom online talks. These have proved very popular with over 100 listeners/viewers at the talks.   From July they became fortnightly, on Thursdays at 18.45 and they run for about an hour.  The topics are:

     

    Thursday 30 July 1845: "Knowledge is power", the battle for Lambeth's free libraries

    Thursday 13 August 1845: Suburban spread, Clapham, Brixton, Norwood and Streatham

    To book a place and receive log-in details, please email: archives@lambeth.gov.uk


    For those interested in local history, there are lots of interesting Lambeth stories and photos on their Twitter feed:

    hthttps://boroughphotos.org/lambeth/tps://twitter.com/LambethArchives

    And, there are over 14,000 photos and images of Lambeth including some of Kennington Park on:

    https://boroughphotos.org/lambeth/

    This year Lambeth's Heritage Festival in SEptember is going to be a "virtual" one with Zoom talks - The Friends of Kennington Park hope to present a Zoom talk on the park - details to be announced later.

    Easter to mid May COVID19 Guidance from Lambeth Council for parks

    From Easter weekend to Wednesday 13 May 2020

    NB PLEASE SEE THE LATER MESSAGE, DATED 13 MAY 2020, WITH THE UPDATED GUIDANCE FROM THE MAYOR OF LONDON FOR PARKS

    A message to us all from Lambeth. It asks that we use our park only  for  our daily exercise - a walk or run. Please:

    No Sunbathing

    No picnics or BBQs

    No ball games

    No group activities

    Do not sit on benches - this is the reason they are taped off

    Do not use play areas, sports equipment, the skate park or outdoor gym

    Keep dogs on leads

    Keep 2 metres safe distance

    Please help Lambeth to keep our much loved, popular park open

    Please dont force Lambeth to issue Fixed Penalty Notices for a breach of these rules.

    Above all please stay safe and support our NHS by following these rules.

    Thank you.

    Early April to Mid May information about Covid 19 and parks

    7 April 2020 to 13 May 2020

    NB PLEASE SEE THE LATEST GUIDANCE FROM THE MAYOR OF LONDON DATED 13 MAY 2020

    A message from London's Mayor about Parks and Green Open Spaces and Covid 19:

    London’s parks and green spaces are crucial for exercise and mental wellbeing, but to ensure they stay open for everyone to use, you must follow the Government’s rules to stop the spread of COVID-19.

    This means one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household. And even when doing this, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres [six and a half feet] apart from anyone outside of your household. 

    When using London’s parks or green spaces, it is vital that you take these steps:

  • Do not visit a park if you have any symptoms – fever, coughs, shortness of breath. See NHS guidelines if this applies to you.

  • Parks should be used for daily exercise or essential travel only. Team sports, social activities (e.g. picnics, playdates etc.) and sunbathing should not be taking place.

  • Stay local and use open spaces near to your home  – do not travel unnecessarily. If you have a garden, make use of the space for exercise and fresh air. Please consider that people without gardens rely on parks more.

  • You should only go outside alone or with members of your own household. Gatherings of more than two in parks or other public spaces have been banned. The Met Police and local authorities and are out in parks urging Londoners to follow this. 

  • Observe social distancing, staying at least 2 metres apart from other people

    • Use all areas of the park that remain open, not just the paths, so you can maintain an appropriate distance from others.

    • If the park is crowded, do not enter if you cannot safely stay at a distance from others, consider exercising in quieter, less-used streets. 

  • Avoid touching surfaces (such as gates or hand-rails) and your mouth and face. Please follow Public Health England advice on hygiene and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

  • Keep your dog on a lead at all times to ensure you can safely keep 2 metres away from others.

  • Pay attention to instructions provided by parks services including any officials on site. Temporary measures have been put in place to safeguard you.

  • Do not use areas of the park that have been closed such as play areas, outdoor gyms or sports facilities – these are closed to stop the possible spread of COVID-19 through touching surfaces and keeping a safe distance from others,
     

  • Some boroughs, and other providers of public parks and green spaces, may decide to close some, or all, of their parks or facilities within their parks. They are best placed to make those difficult decisions based on their understanding of local circumstances. Details for Lambeth on www.lambeth.gov.uk

    Many other outdoor spaces are still open. But in some spaces, such as canal towpaths for example, it may be difficult to maintain the recommended distance from other users, so please try to avoid these areas and choose places you can exercise safely.

    RSPB Garden Bird Watch 2020 - the results

    2 April 2020

    The RSPB have just announced the results of the 2020 Garden Bird Watch in January.  Over 500,000 people spotted 8 million birds. The Top 10 results for England are:

    1. House sparrow - it has retained its top spot for the last 17 years

    2. Starling - it is number 3 for the UK

    3. Blue Tit - it is a number 2 for London and  the UK

    4. Wood pidgeon - number 3 in London and the UK 

    5. Blackbird

    6. Goldfinch

    7. Great Tit

    8. Robin

    9. Long tailed Tit - a new entry to the Top 10

    10. Magpie - number 7 in Greater London

    The Chaffinch has dropped to number 11.

    For Greater London number 5 is the feral pidgeon and the Ring necked Parakeet comes in at number 14 with an increase in their numbers since 2019.

    Overall the bird numbers have dropped since the first survey in 1979. House sparrows down -53%, starlings down a massive -80%, blackbirds -46% and robins -32%.  The RSPB says the reasons are varied - the challenges for garden birds include fewer green spaces, pollution and climate change.

    April-mid May information about Covid 19 and Kennington Park

    10 April 2020 to 13 May 2020

    NB THIS ADVICE HAS BEEN SUPERCEDED, THE LATEST IS DATED 13 MAY 2020 FROM THE MAYOR OF LONDON

    10 APRIL: A message from Lambeth Council. It asks that the  park is only useddaily exercise - a walk or run. Please:

    No Sunbathing

    No picnics or BBQs

    No ball games

    No group activities

    Do not sit on benches - this is why they are taped off

    Do not use play areas, sports equipment, the skate park or outdoor gym

    Keep dogs on leads

    Keep 2 metres safe distance - this has been marked out on some paths

    Please help Lambeth to keep our much loved, popular park open

    Please dont force Lambeth to issue Fixed Penalty Notices for a breach of these rules.

    Above all please stay safe and support our NHS by following these rules.

    Thank you.

    LATE MARCH: A guideline on the BBC for estimating the social distancing for 2 metres are:

    The equivalent of 3 good steps; the length of a bed; the length of 2 shopping trolleys or a broom stretched out in front of you! Their suggestion of the length of 2 park benches seems a little too long!

    On the street they suggest half a parking space.

    24 MARCH: The Prime Minister has outlined stricter curbs for the next 3 weeks to control the spread of the virus.  These include one form of exercise a day such as a run, walk or cycle. This should be done alone or only with people you live with and a ban on public gatherings of more than 2 people. People should minimise the amount of time spent out of their homes and should keep two metres (6ft) away from people they do not live with.

    Kennington Park remains open.

    23 MARCH mid afternoon: Lambeth Council 's Twitter account said "We're concerned about people ignoring government advice to stay at home, and if you do go out, to keep a safe distance from each other. As a result, play areas & sports facilities in our parks are now closed to help stop the spread of the virus. Toilets in parks remain closed"

    23 MARCH: GLL/Better who run Lambeth Council's leisure centres and outdoor sports facilities announced that all Lambeth parks facilities that they manage are now closed until further notice. This will affect the tennis courts, basketball courts, astroturf pitches.

    22 MARCH: Yesterday, following the Government announcement, Lambeth Council shut all its Leisure and Recreation  Centres, this has resulted in large numbers of people now visiting and exercising in parks. 

    Please remember:

    the "social distancing" recommendations of keeping a distance of 2 metres (6.5 feet) between people.

    that sports equipment can become contaminated with germs.

    Lambeth parks are open from dawn to dusk.

    20 MARCH 2020: A message from Lambeth Council's Parks and Open Spaces on Friday 20 March 2020:

    All Lambeth's parks and open spaces remain open at the present time; Lambeth are currently following advice issued by Central Government. Lambeth Council has also set up a dedicated page on its website.

    Lambeth Parks have had to make some changes to our operations and from tomorrow park toilets will be closed as they do not currently have the resources to sanitise these facilities, and need to reduce the risk of transfer of Covid-19 to any users of these facilities and their own staff.

    Lambeth have also made the decision to cancel council-led volunteering activities, including community and corporate workdays – they will review this on a regular basis.

     

    With a potentially reduced workforce if you need to contact Lambeth parks please email  parks@lambeth.gov.uk and they will aim to deliver with enquiries as promptly as possible.

    FOKP's next volunteer gardening session is in May, we will review this, the Chartist walk on 4 April and the Dawn Chorus walk nearer the time.

    As of today (Friday 20 March), the park cafe was still open as was the children's playground, but not the park toilets.

     

    RSPB Garden Bird Watch 2020 - what we saw in the park!

    27 January 2020

    On a rather chilly Sunday 26 January stalwarts from the Friends of Kennington Park manned a stall outside the park cafe telling people about the RSPB Garden Bird Watch.  In addition to many park visitors, joggers and dog walkers we were delighted to welcome local councillors David, Jo and Philip.

    Erica and Kathryn were our bird experts so we learned lots, especially interesting was that female sparrow hawks are much larger than male sparrow hawks.  We also watched parakeets inspecting a hole in a nearby tree as a possible nesting place.

    Erica's cast list of birds seen in Kennington Park over a 3 hours period was:

    carrion crow, magpie, feral pigeon, wood pigeon, ring-necked parakeet (numerous)

    blackbird, robin, redwing (a largish flock), mistle thrush

    blue tit, great tit, long-tailed tit

    dunnock, house sparrow, wren, starling, goldfinch

    great spotted woodpecker (seen briefly and heard by someone else)

    goldcrest (heard only, somewhere in the trees behind cafe)

    black-headed and lesser black-backed gulls (fly-overs).

    When the RSPB have evaluated all the thousands of forms from this year's Garden Watch, details will be posted on the website.

     

    Kennington's Slade Fountain - a new chapter

    17 March 2020

    The red granite bowl of the Slade Fountain in Kennington Park is now a shadow of its former self.  When it was first installed in 1862, a  splendid bronze urn sat on the top of Felix Slade's drinking fountain, it "disappeared" many years ago.

     

    Heather Griffith, a student at the nearby City & Guilds of London Art School,  is planning to carve a faithful replica in limestone of the long lost urn. It will be part of her final project on the BA Historic Stone Carving degree.  She will then donate the urn to the Friends of Kennington Park to go on public display locally.  To achieve this Heather has been raising money through crowdfunding.

     

    If you would like to donate towards this project, please go to the Donate page on the FOKP website, to donate and, via Paypal, you can make a donation that FOKP will pass on to Heather, please make sure to mark URN on the description line.

     

    Who are the Friends of Kennington Park?

    17 March 2020

    The Friends is a voluntary organisation of local people. We work together to improve the park.  We want to ensure that the park remains safe, welcoming, popular and well kept. We organise events,  run volunteer gardening sessions,  lobby  Lambeth Council on park issues, liaise with Lambeth Landscapes about repairs, planting, litter, the toilets, etc.

    The Friends welcome help - the park needs your support, energy and ideas - so why not join us.  It is easy to do online, www.kenningtonpark.org/join

    Last year's gardening galore in Kennington Park

    7 December 2019

    Firstly, 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. 

     

    Secondly, a  big thank you to those who turned up on 1 December to help plant hundreds of  daffodil bulbs at the far end of the Flower Garden - and thank you to the Heart of Kennington Residents Association for donating the bulbs.

     

    Fingers crossed that the park squirrels will not have a big bulb breakfast and that we will have lots of colourful flowers in the spring!

    The monthly volunteer gardening sessions in the Flower Garden are taking a winter break and will be back in the spring.  Thank you to  Amanda who ran these sessions and to all of those who came and helped.

    In 2019 there were 12 volunteer gardening sessions with over 100 people involved, so this volunteer gardening does make a big contribution to our park.  We also had two visits from the Good Gym people and several corporate volunteer group including Network Rail.

    The result is that in 2019 the Park retained its Green Flag.  London in Bloom awarded the park a silver gilt and a gold for the Flower Garden. 

    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.

    Toot toot a train has almost arrived in the Playground

    27 February 2020

    The sandpit in the Kennington Park playground is back in business after it had long awaited repairs to the wooden surround.

    A red train will shortly be in business in the playground, for the eagle eyed, its last station stop was in Vauxhall Park.

    In February the basins in the girls and boys toilets in the playground were pulled off the walls by vandals. Thanks to Kevin Wallace for organising speedy repairs, we hope the new basins will prove more vandal proof.

    The sorry saga of the park's south field - June update

    11 June 2020

    In mid February the south field of Kennington Park was still looking very sad and partly fenced in.  This is the result of the FriendsFest event which was in the park for about 2 weeks last year. Its departure from the park in early October coincided with torrential rain.  Although there had been detailed plans agreed between Lambeth Events and the organisers for both the set up and take down of the event, these did not anticipate the very heavy autumn 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 needed to dry out before any reinstatement work could start and during that time the south field had to be fenced off.

    However, the wet weather continued and, whilst there was some work done on the grass field,  months later much of it is still fenced off and still looks a mess. Covid 19 then came along so the work didnt happen, but ...... it is hoped that the work will start sometime in June. 

    The Lambeth team have been waiting for the ground conditions to change as they are currently too hard and dry to work on.  But with the rain due over this week and next it final phase of work will begin.

     

    Next steps:

     

  • Level out areas

  • Lay turf in key areas

  • Seed and germination sheet in remaining areas

  • fence

  • Watering programme.

  •  

    They will work on the park in smaller areas over a longer period of time.  This means that smaller areas will be fenced off so that park users can use most of the south field.

    The outcome of this mess (and subsequently Covid 19) is that neither Friendsfest nor Bensons Funfair will be visiting Kennington Park in 2020.

     


     

    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 2019

    29 July 2019

    The AGM of the Friends of Kennington Park  AGM took place on Tueesday 23rd July 2019 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 was on in Kennington Park in 2019

    14 December 2019

    GARDENING

    Thanks to a generous donation from an anonymous source, the monthly volunteer gardening sessions ran 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. People can stay as long or as short a time as they 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. At the December session hundreds of daffodil bulbs were planted.

    CAFE - YES, IT IS OPEN!

     

    The cafe re-opened on 7 June.  Teas, coffees, ice creams, cold drinks and pizza. 

    CARD ONLY.

    Their winter opening hours (on their website in December 2019) are:

    Monday  closed

    Tuesday closed

    Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10am-4pm

    Saturday 9.30am-4pm

    Sunday 10am-4pm

    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 May2019.  The Friends will keep you posted on the outcome of the consultation which was due in November.  The Friends of Kennington Park are notified about applications to hold events in the park and generally submit comments and sometimes objections if we feel that the event is too large or not appropriate for our small heritage park.

     

    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 2020.

    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

    14 December 2019 updated 13 May 2020

    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.

    No payment by cash, CARD ONLY

    The cafe's winter opening hours (on their website in December 2019) were:

    Monday  closed

    Tuesday closed

    Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10am-4pm

    Saturday 9.30am-4pm

    Sunday 10am-4pm

    These details may have changed during the Covid19

    Dawn Chorus Walk, Kennington Park 2019

    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".

    A Dawn Chorus walk is being planned for 2020.

    Kennington Park toilets re-opened. LATER closed during Coronavirus

    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

    In 2019 there were 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!

    We are planning a Great British Spring Clean session for 2020.

    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.

    Northern Line Extension headhouse in the park

    9 September 2019, updated 19 May 2020

    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 NLE work was temporarily shut down for some weeks at the start of the Covid 19 outbreak, work started again in the third week of May 2020.

    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 and 2019

    11 November 2019

    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.

    In 2019 there was another big crowd at the war memorial, the service was led by an army padre from the Royal Army Medical Corp.

    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 - the Council's 2019 consultation

    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".  This was repeated in 2019.

    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 2019 and there were over 600 submissions - details of the results are still awaited.

    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!

    7 December 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 in 2018 and 2019 - so thanks to all!

    The London in Bloom inspection is in late June/ early July. 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!  In 2018 and 2019 the Flower Garden was awarded a Gold and the Park Silver Gilt. 

     

    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

    July 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 were appointed as the new tenants. Unfortunately the Council had to do some structural work on the building before the lease could be signed.  There was then some alterations to the building to turn the cafe into a pizzeria. 

    By the summer the cafe and pizzeria was up and running and a popular addition to the park.

     

     

     

     

    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 - ongoing

    22 September 2017, updated 25 Jan,13 April,1 June 2018, 7 December 2019

    In 2017 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.

    There have been intermittent instances of vandalism and damage, often resulting in the adult and children's toilets having to be closed.

    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"