London A to Z Runs : K   3 comments

K is for Kennington, part of, nay, most of Lambeth.  I did a commute run into work from the Park & Ride this splendid Maundy Thursday so the A to Z run this afternoon was short; however, Kennington packs a lot in its wee boundaries.  In fact, mere arrival at Kennington Station starts you off right with the weird architectural stylings of Charles Holden.  The dome used to house the lift mechanism on the deep line and has survived the introduction of hydraulics (domes on other stations have all been removed).

 

 

My first mission was to run down to Kennington Park to the site of Bob Marley’s squat in 1977.  I was led to believe, online (silly Interwebs), that the Rastafarian Temple was at the north end of St Agnes Place but spying nothing that looked — or felt — right there, I walked down toward the Kennington Common where the fence jibed and the building next door still exists (the Rose Apartments, at the bottom of the dreadlocks on the map).  Here’s Mr Marley with some mates in the Park 40 years ago:

 

 

The Temple, 10 years ago:

 

The Rasta Temple during the April 2007 drugs bust. Nothing much came of this in the courts, but with everyone out of the house it was easier to get permission to tear the place down (which happened a few months later).

The site of the Rasta Temple today (10 years after). Ghastly.

 

The Brandon Estate, a public housing development, overshadows the Common and is the site of Henry Moore’s Two Piece Reclining Figure No.3 (1961):

 

 

This is a kind of strange find amongst Council towers but it seems to be unmolested on its little knoll.  Standing up there, you wonder how many people in the art world even know this is here.  Personally, I imagined Tom Baker’s version of Dr Who emerging from the TARDIS and declaring, “back in a tick, but there’s a marvelous sculpture I must take in before we deal with The Master.”

 

 

That thought isn’t so incongruous since David Tennant’s version of Dr Who crash landed the TARDIS a mere 75 meters away, over near the Canterbury Arms.  I already did a London A to Z Run D for Dr Who on the other side of the river but this one actually had some recognisable sites:

From “The Christmas Invasion” (2005)

 

From my own “Maundy Thursday Invasion” (2017)

The TARDIS came to rest in this alley:

which is much tidier today:

 

After my beer at the pub, I headed back out across the Common toward the Kennington Oval.

 

The area is spoilt for choice with churches.  St Mark’s, bombed to the ground save the façade and the cupola, was one of four churches built in honour of the victory at Waterloo.  The cemetery is supposed to be full of the great and good of the last two centuries, as well, but on this day it was just a postcard shot on the run.

For a REAL church in the area, you should visit the Kia Oval, nicer, I have been assured, than Lords Cricket Ground and active in one way or another every day of the year:

 

I’d jogged almost all the way past before it occurred to me that the fence has a ball-and-wicket theme going on:

 

 

At the far end (from my direction of travel), you can spot the iconic gas works, next door.  The ivy hasn’t yet leafed out but I bet it is gorgeous later in the summer (and colourful in autumn).

 

 

The housing nearby is pretty nice, as well.  There should be a special prize for any batsman that knocks one of these windows in Harleyford Court for six:

 

 

At the next corner, I stopped at the Beehive and took in a few overs of Indian Premier League cricket before continuing on.

 

 

It’s a pretty neighbourhood and not entirely gentrified (there are still council housing projects dotted in amongst the astronomically priced real estate in the area).  And, there are still a few grand and very old pubs around; my third of the day was one of these, the Old Red Lion just above my starting point at Kennington Station.

 

 

But, I had one more planned stop on the way to meet Jackie after work.  The video of Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ Come On, Eileen was shot in front of the corner shop at Hayles Street and Brook Drive.  This part of town gets a lot of film and video work (some nearby pubs feature in the London A to Z Run F for Film):

 

 

It’s an earworm and I can’t shake it.  Could be worse, I guess:

 

 

Leaving Kennington past the Imperial War Museum to Waterloo, this seems like a successful (and wholly incomplete) tour.

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