Author Archives: Kennington Runoff

Haus of Hair

Black Prince Road is the scene of much transformation right now: a theatrical carpentry workshop is in the midst of a rebirth that will see it open its doors next year as a grand Museum of Damien Hirst, an old ragged school has been carved up to become part luxury apartments, part Buddhist centre, but no building has seen such a dramatic remodelling as the Haus of Hair.

Some readers may remember a dark, Dickensian cobblers just past the Jolly Gardeners pub on Black Prince Road, staffed by a foul-tempered elderly man who would sooner abuse you than fix your shoes. It is hard to believe that this is the same place as you enter Haus of Hair, surveying the gilt mirrors, the latest copy of Vogue on a coffee table, the cappuccino on tap, the antique armoire:

Haus of Hair armoire

The spirit of the grumpy cobbler may live on in the form of Rupert, the in-house terrier, who likes to yap as you enter his property, but head stylist Fabian, who runs the salon with Jarmane, couldn’t be more charming. He used to work at Marylebone’s Michael Van Clark salon, but struck out on his own when he opened Haus of Hair. They do cuts and colours, use products from a line owned by Katie Holmes, and will be the official private view hair stylists for Damien Hirst once his gallery opens.

Here’s Rupert:

Rupert from Haus of Hair

Durning Library

In these times of austerity, many libraries are threatened with closure, but Durning Library will never close if the Friends of Durning Library have their way. Would any politician dare to cross this fearsome organisation for fear of a cupcake at a community event being served with a garnish of cyanide? But their cause is noble – long may they reign and long may Durning Library remain open. Just don’t mention the Tree of Heaven.

The grade II-listed library opened in 1889 and was designed in the Gothic Revival style by local architect Sidney RJ Smith whose other buildings included Tate Britain and libraries in South Lambeth, West Norwood, Streatham and Balham.

Occasionally they host talks from local authors, politicians and historians – the history of a Kennington townhouse, Kate Hoey on how to kill a fox, that kind of thing. 

Durning Library -

House of Cards starring Kennington’s own Kevin Spacey

Our previous post about Kennington resident Kevin Spacey focused more on his midnight feasts than his brilliance as an actor. So we’d like to say that we recently finished watching House of Cards season one and it’s truly gripping from beginning to end. Kevin’s character is magnificently, horrifyingly compelling, much like The Locker Room.

Kevin is expected to leave his role as artistic director of the Old Vic soon, and already their programme doesn’t seem quite as appealing as it was. Don’t leave us Kevin – South London needs you (but House of Cards season two may need you even more).

Watch House Of Cards on Netflix.

Kevin Spacey in House of Cards

Tamesis Dock

The good ship Tamesis (formerly the English Maid) is a converted 1930s Dutch barge, moored permanently between Lambeth Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge. It’s a floating pub and party venue, with one of the most spectacular river views in London from its jolly, higgledy-piggledy deck.

Tamesis Dock -

There’s a lively music scene going on down at the Tamesis Dock, having seen gigs from bands – including Deap Vally and Bastille – who’ve gone on to grace much bigger stages than their cosy bunk.

If you’re worried about your sea legs, rest assured that we’ve never felt the barge shift much on the many times we’ve ventured aboard, and when the tide is out it’s just perched prettily on the sandy banks of the Thames. However, they do occasionally have their own version of a lock-in, involving going for an unannounced ride up to Tower Bridge, so if you’re drinking there late at night and need to get home, be prepared to make a leap for shore if the boat starts moving.

They have free wi fi, their kitchen stays open till 10pm, and the bar is open till 1am on Fridays and Saturdays or midnight the rest of the week, making this one of London’s most enjoyable after-hours drinking venues. Tonight they’re hosting a (free) Hallo-boaty-ween party for those who like their fun as murky as the Thames.

Tamesis Dock at night -

Oval Farmers’ Market

Since 2007, Oval Farmers’ Market has taken place every Saturday come rain or shine from 10am to 3pm in the gardens of St Marks Church, South Kennington. It’s cheaper than the likes of Borough Market and Maltby Street, popular but never overcrowded, and it sells a lot of things you just can’t get in Tesco.

Big news for lovers of cholesterol – the crodo AKA cronut has made it to Kennington:

Oval Farmers Market - baked goods inc. cronut -

Who knew there were this many varieties of basil?

Oval Farmers Market - herbs -

taste the cheeses:Oval Farmers Market - cheese - fresh fish at a fraction of the price of Whole Foods:Oval Farmers Market - seafood - veggie roasts:Oval Farmers Market - veggie stuff - cake:Oval Farmers Market - cakes -

Young Fathers on Kennington’s own Big Dada Recordings

Big Dada is the UK’s leading independent hip hop label and, like its parent label Ninja Tune, it’s based on Kennington Lane. Young Fathers are an alternative hip hop group from Edinburgh and we at Kennington Runoff are big fans of their new single LOW, on Big Dada. Have a listen:

The Old Red Lion

If you like your pubs homely but lively, head to the Old Red Lion on Kennington Park Road near Kennington tube. It’s a grade II listed building full of nooks and crannies, with a kitchen serving superior pub grub, a nice beer garden, board games, books and more.

The Old Red Lion exterior -

Music features prominently. They tend to play nineties indie music, and they once had a guest ale by the band Ellen & The Escapades despite the fact that we and Steve Lamacq may be the only patrons know who Ellen & The Escapades are (they’re good though – check them out).

Here’s a recent selection of real ales. We opted for Cornish Mutiny – if we’d wanted anarchy, we’d have gone to the Dog House:

Old Red Lion drinks -

In the conservatory they have a small selection of vinyl and an HMV stereogramme on which to play it. Be warned – keep the volume low or risk hearing damage – it might look like your Grandma’s dresser but this is a seriously powerful piece of kit:

Old Red Lion record player -

The conservatory can be hired for private parties at no cost, but be sure to remind them of your booking on the day.

The piano is a new arrival:

Old Red Lion piano -

Their monthly events include a quiz, a folk night with jam session, a vintage clothing fair, and a rock ‘n’ roll night.

Old Red Lion events -

The bar is two-sided in the eighteenth century style:

Old Red Lion bar -

Old Red Lion main room -

ArtsLav is open for business

For the past 115 years, Kennington Cross’s ArtsLav has been a used then disused public toilet. Now, thanks to the initiative of the local community, after a long period of development stretching back to 2005, it is an art gallery. Well done to all involved. We’ve been inside and it’s one of the most attractive disused public toilets we’ve visited – you can see why it’s grade II listed.

Painter Ryszard Rybicki’s Camera Obscura runs from tomorrow until October 24th, and they are hosting a weekend of family activities on October 19th and 20th as they invite everybody in the local community to create a painting together. Opening hours: Monday-Friday 11am-1pm and 2pm-5pm; Saturday and Sunday 11am-5pm.

ArtsLav -