Archive for the ‘Parks and green spaces’ Category

Fallen capital at St Marks Churchyard update

11 Jan

On Saturday 21st December 2013, a high sided delivery vehicle visiting the market dislodged the ‘capital’ of one of the St Marks Churchyard entrance pillars causing the capital and its capping to fall to the ground (‘Capital’ is an architectural term for the ornate part at the top of a column). Fortunately, no one was hurt but the capital, its capping and concrete paviours below sustained some damage. As Christmas and New Year have intervened, progress in getting the damage repaired has seemingly been a little slow but the work is not trivial and it will probably take a few months to sort out. It is expected that the works will be organised by Lambeth Parks but will be paid for by the relevant insurance company.

The Friends of St Marks Churchyard met today and undertook to chase progress. For posterity, below are some photos taken on the day of the incident and 21 days later.


St Marks Church war memorial upgrade

20 Dec

St Marks Church war memorial has been upgraded and people will now be able to approach it more easily. I do have some reservations about the upgrade though:

(1) It might have been better if they used traditional York stone to match the traditional church pathways. Perhaps the new paving stones might look better when they age but at the moment, the churchyard hard paving areas are becoming a patchwork of different materials,

(2) As a point of principle, if a grass area is paved over, it would be nice to offset that by freeing up some existing hard paves areas for planting/grassing over (That misnamed “Kennington Oval greenspace” opposite the Oval Station).

I understand some benches will be coming but in the mean time, here are some pictures to mark the progress so far.


Oval Farmers’ Christmas Event

17 Dec

The Friends of St Marks Churchyard started in October 2013 and they were organising their first Christmas event last Saturday.  Lots of new members were signed up and the mulled wine was definitely worth having.  I was very impressed by the effort put into contacting local businesses who made donations towards the event.  Carols were courtesy of Kennington Choir. Here are some pictures from the day.



The search for Kennington Oval

02 Dec

Several fellow tweeters have commented on the Kennington Oval [the name has got to change] article about what the name of the triangular space opposite Oval Station and St Marks Church should so here is a follow up.

Kennington Oval greenspace sign
Just to prove that it is the ‘Kennington Oval’ here is the sign to prove it. The sign mentions Brit Oval (now Kia Oval) so perhaps those who chose the name felt that the ‘Kennington Oval’ had become available.






Kenningon Oval green space signs

And in case we didn’t get the message the first time, Lambeth Parks kindly tell us again on a nearby sign that this is indeed the Kennington Oval. So far, I have detected five names for the area albeit with slightly different boundaries. For the record they are:


Kennington Little common

The area marked in red on the right is, I believe, the original approximate boundary of Kennington Little Common which at the time was also known as Gallows Common or Gallows Green due to the hangings that took place there






Kennington Oval greenspaceAround 1820, the site was divided by Camberwell New Road – a turnpike resulting from the building of Vauxhall Bridge.  This effectively created a smaller triangle from the larger one.


Kennington Oval [the name has got to change] clear up

30 Nov

Many thanks to all those who turned up to clear ‘Kennington Oval’.  It was a confusing start though as people didn’t know where ‘Kennington Oval’ was so volunteers started in the churchyard!  Still, the team finally found it by 10:30 and managed to make a good start on clearing up.     Let’s hope Lambeth street care,  who are responsible for cleaning the area, get the hint.

The name of the space has certainly got to change. I’m not sure who in Lambeth started calling this triangular space  Kennington Oval but it is plain wrong.  I think it best that we leave ‘Kennington Oval’ for the cricket ground and the road that goes around it.  As the space has been triangular since about 1820 – getting on for 200  years – I think we might as well start calling it Kennington Triangle .  This seems particularly apt as the volunteers ‘disappeared’ for a while this morning and contractors seems to avoid the area as if it were the Bermuda Triangle 🙂

Starting to get a few ideas about how best to use the space but it is early days yet.  A leak was pointed out near the bus stop – water is flowing up through the ground near a tree and flowing out onto the pavement.  Apparently it has been like this for years.  Surely not.   Here are a few pictures of the day.


How old is the ‘Oval desert island’ (aka Kennington Oval) and how did it come about?

28 Nov

The Kennington Oval may refer to the road adjacent to the Oval Cricket ground, the cricket ground itself or, rather confusingly, the triangular piece of land opposite St Marks Church and the Oval Station.  This article is about that triangular piece of land that TfL controlled red routes have arguably turned into an urban desert island although the triangular shape itself is getting on for 200 years old.

This map of 1868 clearly shows the triangle as does this map circa 1820.  However, this slightly earlier map from 1817  seems to suggest that the triangle was then linked up to the site where St Marks Church, Kennington (built 1822-24) now is but as the area of interest is right on the edge of the map, it is not conclusive.

The triangle almost certainly arose as a consequence of Vauxhall Bridge (originally Regent Bridge) opening in 1816.   The opening of the bridge established a demand for  Camberwell New Road  – a turnpike road authorised by an 1818 Act of Parliament (according to British History on line).  The new road linked into to Harleyford Street and then on to Vauxhall Bridge.  The siting of St Marks Church emphasised the boundary and the triangle was properly formed probably by 1822 at the latest but probably no earlier than 1818.

The triangular space is bounded by the A3 (Kennington Park Road) , A23 (Brixton Road) and A202 (Camberwell New Road).  These same sides of the triangle were, in 1868, named upper Kennington Lane, Kennington Road and Windmill Row.   The  1822 and 1817 maps show upper Kennington Lane as Harleyford Place.  Camberwell New Road was then New Camberwell Road.

It is a possibility that the New Camberwell Road followed an existing path defined perhaps by desire lines and the path may well have continued to Harleyford Street thereby defining the third side of the triangle so the shape may be relatively ancient.  However, it probably became a distinct triangle defined by roads circa 1820 which means that the ‘Kennington Oval’ is coming up for its 200th anniversary.  It would be nice to get the space sorted out including it’s ambiguous name. It is now being suggested that the space be given a more appropriate name – Kennington Triangle being one option.




Kennington Oval Cleanup – Saturday 30 November 10:00 to 12:00

26 Nov

VOLUNTEERS WANTED to clean up the Kennington Oval this Saturday.  Please come if you can.

The Kennington Oval is the triangular piece of land opposite the Oval Station and St Marks Church, Kennington.  I can’t  remember the last time the community got together and did anything in this space.  Certainly not in recent years.   This Saturday we are getting together to clean it up – mostly sweeping up the leaves and anything else that needs doing.  We want to transform this space so that it is better used. Too long has this been an  island cut off by busy roads.  If you have some ideas on how it might be used come and join us.



St Marks Churchyard tidy up October 2013

12 Oct

A lot of effort goes into organising volunteer events but the weather can easily scupper the best plans. Earlier in the week the weather prospects didn’t look too good and on Friday it was pumping down with rain. Fortunately, the rain held off and some 30 volunteers including children turned out to help tidy up the churchyard. Compared with previous events, volunteers were taking on much more difficult tasks. Here is what we achieved:

* The largest pot holes were repaired;
* Repair of play ground railings underway (being paid for Lambeth Parks);
* Grass repairs continuing;
* Stonework cleaning commenced (this is a massive job);
* Area behind gravestones cleared

When ever you put on events like this there are always a few things that go wrong. This time it was the skip being put in the wrong place. As it was already partially filled, it proved very difficult to move. We waited for a few people to arrive and then made a concerted effort to move the skip. it is surprising what you can do with enough people. Here are a few pictures from the day


St Marks Churchyard playround railing day 2

11 Oct

It may not look like much progress from the previous day but it takes three people to move one of those base stones. As of yesterday, all of the base stones are back in place. Some of the railings were removed and stored away safely overnight. The remaining section had a temporary support fixed to make it safe. Notice the loose leading. The bottom of each railing has to be leaded into the base stone. This helps prevent corrosion and keeps the railing secure but makes it difficult for them to be taken out when they are being repaired.


St Marks Churchyard playground railing repair day 1

09 Oct

After years of waiting, the St Marks Churchyard playground railings are finally getting repaired. The work is expected to take a few days so I thought it worth documenting the repair for posterity.  Back in June 2012  I wrote this article about the damaged playground railings.  A year on from that nothing had been done so I went out and found a contractor and got a quote. The Oval Partnership offered to pay for the repair but in the end the Oval Neighbourhood Enhancement Programme officer arranged for the order to be placed and Lambeth Parks will be paying.  In spite of the delay, we must not lose sight of the fact that the damage was caused by a driver.  It is a pity that whoever was responsible cannot be found and made to pay for this.

I originally hoped that the work could be tackled with volunteers because it looked like the walls/railings could simply be pushed back into place.  Common sense prevailed though.  Some jobs are best left to professionals.

Railing repair day 1:

The railings and heads have to be removed before anything can be done. As suspected,  as soon the railings were touched,  one of the base stones fell over and had to be put back upright -easier said than done with stones of this size. In the original collision, one of the top rails was damaged leaving a single bolt precariously holding the frame together.  The close up of the finial shows the the G-clamp easing the pressure on the bolt.