Category Archives: sport

Yoga at The Tommyfield

The Tommyfield has cranked its boutique hotel credentials up a notch with an intimate in-house yoga session every Monday evening from local teacher Tim Mosley.

Tim offers a dynamic vinyasa flow class in the first floor Master Room. It’s a nice, calm space, usually used for the ABC comedy night or private events. You may even find a sprinkle of 40th birthday party confetti alongside your mat as a neat reminder of why you’re there in the first place. We have been along a couple of times and Tim is attentive and will provide a quick head massage at the end of the class if he thinks you’ve been spending too long at the blogging coalface.

Kennington is pretty well-served for yoga, including long-standing favourite Yogabelle at the RIBA Award-winning Siobhan Davies Studios, and Kennington Osteopaths for a gentler class (that is a bit of a tight squeeze – not one for the claustrophobic yogi).

yoga

Yoga @ The Tommyfield
Every Monday 6.30-7.45 pm

Limited mats available, £10 per class

Tim Mosley is also available for private lessons.

Kennington Park and its new Flower Garden

It’s all change in Kennington Park at the moment, and this weekend was a big one thanks to the reopening of the flower garden after a £500k makeover. We bring you photos, with apologies to the woman who we inadvertently followed around:

Kennington Park Flower Garden vista - kenningtonrunoff.com

The flower garden originally opened in 1931 and its layout has remained much the same since, including this water feature:

Kennington Park Flower Garden water feature - kenningtonrunoff.com

This new sundial was made from Welsh slate by Sam Flintham, a student of historic stone carving at Kennington’s own City & Guilds:

Kennington Park Flower Garden sundial - kenningtonrunoff.com

Get down there quick while the roses are still in season:

Kennington Park Flower Garden roses - kenningtonrunoff.com

Kennington Park Flower Garden flowers - kenningtonrunoff.com

Elsewhere in the park, the Kennington Park Centre on Bob Marley’s old hang out, St Agnes Place, is newish and features an arts and community centre, a stay and play club, and an adventure playground. Also newish is the exercise equipment just north of the cafe, which is proving very popular.

Finally, one of the big concerns about Northern Line extension works in the park was that Bee Urban, those harvesters of the world’s tastiest honey, would have to be relocated. Well, they have been, and their new site next to the cafe looks mightily impressive:

Bee Urban new site in Kennington Park - kenningtonrunoff.com

Join the Friends of Kennington Park here – they made all this happen.

our North and East Kennington predictions for 2015

North Kennington (formerly known as Elephant & Castle) will be a messy snarl up from some time very soon for at least a year because of two massive Transport For London projects: the reconfiguration of the North roundabout, and the installation of the new cycle superhighway on St George’s Road. The number of cranes is expected to increase too, and associated construction beneath them, as Lend Lease commence work on the portion at the top of Walworth Road, including a 31 storey tower.

Ministry of Sound will get what they want in terms of planning approval, because they love to fight hard and win.

What will become of the shopping centre? Whatever it is, let’s hope it manages to keep the downtown Bogotá/magical realism vibe that makes it so vibrant at present. Likewise the Coronet and the bowling alley – North Kennington needs these!

The good news is the new Castle Leisure Centre will open in the heart of North Kennington with its two lovely pools (one of them 25m long), sports hall, gym, crèche, café, and a wooden ceiling for those doing back stroke to admire.

The Castle Leisure Centre

The Castle Leisure Centre

There will continue to be havens of green space in the area, including a new Mobile Gardeners event and gardening space opening on New Kent Road called Grow Elephant.

The modernist Perronet House (between St George’s Road and London Road on the North roundabout) will join Metro Central Heights in being listed. See this article about one of the top floor flats.

Like The Duchy Arms, North Kennington’s Marcel & Sons will cease to be a best-kept secret and become a destination eatery.

As for East Kennington, Walworth Road could become a foodie haven if some of the establishments would just sort out their Food Standards ratings.

Ice Skate Vauxhall – 2 for 1 tickets tonight

Vauxhall Spring Gardens has now reverted to its earlier name, Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, and this Christmas it’s starting to live up to its name again as it plays host to a big ice rink, Ice Skate Vauxhall:

The Ice Rink, Ice Skate Vauxhall - kenningtonrunoff.com

When we went on a cold Sunday night it was a bit of a ghost town, but it has had a lot of press since then so might have started to fill up. Anyway, we used to skate at Somerset House most years but it has been too full in recent years to really enjoy the skating, so there’s something to be said for a modestly popular skating rink.

If you go tonight, December 17th, you can get two for one tickets by entering 241VX1 into the ‘promo code’ box when booking tickets at www.iceskatevauxhall.co.uk.

There is also the UK’s largest real Christmas tree maze, which costs £4.50 to enter, so we didn’t:

The Christmas Tree Maze, Ice Skate Vauxhall - kenningtonrunoff.com

And there’s a bar with outdoor seating, selling much needed hot spiced cider and mulled wine:

The bar, Ice Skate Vauxhall - kenningtonrunoff.com

There are various food options including a converted Routemaster bus selling fish and chips, and The Swing Grill selling toffee apples amongst other things:

The Swing Grill, Ice Skate Vauxhall - kenningtonrunoff.com

It doesn’t get much more Christmas-y than that.

Alford House Youth Club

This is Alford House Youth Club where We Are The Lambeth Boys was filmed:

Alford House Youth Club - kenningtonrunoff.com

It has been in Kennington since 1884, originally on Lambeth Walk:

alford-house-lambeth-walk

We Are The Lambeth Boys, as sampled by Morrissey, can be viewed here.

We didn’t know Alford House existed until we read more about We Are The Lambeth Boys recently. It’s on Aveline Street which is yards from Tesco but is one of those streets you’d never walk up unless you were looking for it.

This is their programme of activities. Not bad for 25p:

Alford House Youth Club programme - kenningtonrunoff.com

 

Kennington Park Skate Bowl

Kennington Park’s skate bowl is London’s oldest, having been here since 1978. It was closed soon after due to a design flaw that made it easy to fall through the safety rail, which of course made it hugely appealing to skaters. Then in 2011 Converse came along and ruined everything refurbished it, making it safer, and it reopened in 2012.

Kennington Park Skate Bowl - kenningtonrunoff.com

Kennington Park

It’s a beautiful day so, on your way to the Pullens Yards open day, why not take a walk through Kennington Park?

This is is Lambeth’s oldest park, having been established in 1854, and was previously Kennington Common where up to 300,000 chartists rallied in 1848, as well as being the site of many other protests. Nowadays it plays occasional host to fairs and London’s version of Oktoberfest, but the rest of the time there’s plenty to look out for:

There are football and hockey astroturf pitches. Bob Marley used to play football in Kennington Park while recording the Exodus album and staying at the Rastafari temple on St Agnes Place (a long-standing squatted street alongside the park that was needlessly demolished in 2007).

Oh, and Kennington Common was the place where football began – the Gymnastic Society played regularly on Kennington Common during the late 18th century.

There are also tennis, netball and basketball courts, outdoor gym facilities, a community cricket area, a skate bowl, and these outdoor table tennis tables which are a recent arrival:

Kennington Park table tennis - kenningtonrunoff.com

Delicious local honey from Bee Urban is harvested in the grounds of the Keeper’s Lodge, although, controversially, they are due to be relocated within the park as a consequence of the Northern Line extension. You can purchase the honey from the cafe in the middle of the park, as well as at local fetes, and it really does taste great.

Prince Consort’s Lodge was originally built for the Great Exhibition of 1851 as an example of a “model dwelling” and was re-erected in the model location – Kennington – from 1852-3. It was sponsored by Prince Albert, hence the name:

Prince Consort Lodge, Kennington Park - kenningtonrunoff.com

Look out for these trees with weird triangular-shaped trunks (technical term), and there’s also a nature trail through the park (look for the silver signs):

Kennington Park triangular tree - kenningtonrunoff.com

Generally the park looks lovely at this time of year, although the English Flower Garden doesn’t really come into its own until spring:

Kennington Park in Autumn - kenningtonrunoff.com

So how did Kennington Park become so desirable and have so much going for it? Remember the Friends of Durning Library? Well, there’s another mysterious Kennington organisation that are equally feared and equally powerful – The Friends of Kennington Park – and they have a very informative website here. There’s also an exhaustive and exhausting Kennington Park Wikipedia entry.

Kennigton Park paths - kenningtonrunoff.com

Cleaver Square and boules

Cleaver Square is one of London’s most desirable residential areas – it’s picturesque, architecturally unspoilt, closed to through traffic yet lively thanks to the pub in the corner, and conveniently located close to the throbbing heart of Kennington, between Kennington Park Road and Kennington Cross.

Cleaver Square houses at dusk - kenningtonrunoff.com

It’s home to leading politicians, award-winning author Sarah Waters, and a large boules pitch in its centre, surrounded by benches for spectators and outdoor drinkers. Players don’t need to invest in a boules set, they can simply lay down a £20 deposit in the very fine Prince of Wales pub and stroll outside for a game of pétanque. But get there early if it’s a warm evening, to beat the throngs of after-work drinkers, former Liberal Democrat leaders, and students from the City & Guilds art school. A couple of years ago, luxury brands all decided to congregate eagerly around pétanque, with Karl Lagerfeld hosting a pétanque party, Chanel and Louis Vuitton creating their own limited edition boules sets, and style supplements a-cooing, dubbing it ‘the trendiest game in London’. We thought the hysteria had died down, and hoped you could once again enjoy a game of boules in Cleaver Square without someone from Pernod Ricard trying to corral you into their pop-up concept event. But Lacoste took over the square recently for precisely that purpose:

Boules, petanque in Cleaver Square - kenningtonrunoff.com

The excellent Wikipedia entry on Kennington has information on the history of Cleaver Square which was once called Prince’s Square, but has barely changed for decades as you can see in this photo from 1964 (with thanks to ideal-homes.org.uk/).

cleaver-square-01722-750 Kennington, 1964 from ideal-homes.org.uk

Cleaver Square also plays host to the annual Kennington Village Fete.

The Kennington Oval cricket ground

Even if you’re not a big cricket fan, you should spend a day at the Kennington Oval (so called because it is oval shaped, and in Kennington). Relative to other sports, cricket fans are a friendly, civilised bunch. Rivalry between supporters is good humoured, with fans of both teams intermingled throughout the ground. You will most likely end up in conversation with the stranger sat next to you. They may even collect your discarded beer glasses before passing them to a steward. There’s live music galore around the ground. The quality of food and drink puts even the most upmarket football ground to shame. In short, you will have a great day out regardless of what’s happening on the pitch.

If you are a cricket fan you will already know that The Kennington Oval is one of the world’s great cricket grounds in terms of the pitch, the facilities, and the historic games that have been played there. It also looks great:

The Kennington Oval panorama - kenningtonrunoff.com

Even if you never go inside The Oval, you can still appreciate the vegetation growing all over its perimeter:

The Kennington Oval vegitation - kenningtonrunoff.com queues outside the Kennington Oval - kenningtonrunoff.com(Pictures are from today’s opening day of the fifth Ashes test between England and Australia.)

The Siobhan Davies Centre

The Siobhan Davies Centre in North Kennington has won a RIBA Award for architecture and deservedly so. With the addition of a roof of wood and glass, this old brick building has been transformed into a beautifully light and rather magical space for dance, yoga and such like.

Our photo doesn’t really capture the full glory of the building so click here for more.

Siobhan Davies Centre - kenningtonrunoff.com