Coordinates: 51°28′53″N 0°07′11″W / 51.4813°N 0.1197°W
Kennington is an area of South London, England, in the London Borough of Lambeth. It is situated 1.4 miles (2.3 km) south-east of Charing Cross. It is a mixed class residential area, and is the location of The Oval cricket ground. Kennington covers the SE11 postcode.
Three London Borough of Lambeth wards include Kennington: Oval, Prince's and Vassall. The current Member of Parliament for Kennington (within the borough constituency of Vauxhall) is Kate Hoey (Labour). The population of Kennington, recorded by the 2001 Census (taking into account Oval and Prince's wards), was 23,619.
Kennington appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Chenintune, which may mean "place of the king" or the "farm of a man called Cena". It was held by Teodric (Theodoric) the Goldsmith. It contained: 1 hide and 3 virgates; 3 ploughs, 4 acres (16,000 m2) of meadow. It rendered £3 annually. The manor of Kennington was divided from the manor of Vauxhall by the River Effra, a tributary of the River Thames which today flows through an underground culvert.
Edward III gave the manor of Kennington to his oldest son Edward "the Black Prince" in 1337, and the prince then built a large royal palace between what is now Black Prince Road and Sancroft Street, near to Kennington Cross. Geoffrey Chaucer was employed at Kennington as Clerk of Works in 1389. He was paid 2 shillings. The manor of Kennington continues to be owned by the current monarch's elder son (HRH the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall: see Dukes of Cornwall).
The development of Kennington is attributable to the construction, in 1750, of Westminster Bridge. The modern street pattern of Kennington was formed by 1818; the village had become a semi-rural suburb with grand terraced houses. Dense building and the carving-up of villas for multiple occupation caused Kennington to be "very seriously over-populated in 1859, when diphtheria appeared" (recorded by Karl Marx in Das Kapital). Imperial Court, on Kennington Lane, was built in 1836 for the Licensed Victuallers School, and from 1921 to 1992 it was the headquarters of the Navy, Army and Air Forces Institute (NAAFI).
The Bethlem Royal Hospital (also known as Bedlam) relocated from Moorfields to St. George's Fields, at the north end of Kennington, in 1815. Buildings were laid out to a design by James Lewis, and in 1846, a cupola was added by Sydney Smirke. In 1930, the Bethlem Royal Hospital moved to Beckenham, in outer London. Viscount Rothermere, proprietor of the "Daily Mail", purchased the old hospital, and had the east and west wings demolished to create space for Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, which was given to the London County Council in memory of his mother. The central wing was retained, and since 1936 has been occupied by the Imperial War Museum.
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