Kennington tube station

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Kennington London Underground
Kennington station building.JPG
The station entrance
Kennington is located in Central London
Location of Kennington in Central London
Location Kennington Park Road
Local authority London Borough of Southwark
Managed by London Underground
Number of platforms 4
Fare zone 2
London Underground annual entry and exit
2010 Increase 4.32 million[1]
2011 Increase 4.52 million[1]
2012 Increase 4.59 million[1]
2013 Increase 4.68 million[1]
Key dates
1890 Opened (C&SLR)
1923 Closed for reconstruction
1925 Reopened
1926 Opened (Charing Cross branch)
Other information
Lists of stations
Portal icon London Transport portalCoordinates: 51°29′19″N 0°06′20″W / 51.48861°N 0.10555°W / 51.48861; -0.10555

Kennington tube station is a London Underground station on Kennington Park Road in Kennington on both the Charing Cross and Bank branches of the Northern line. It is within the London Borough of Southwark, although most of the district of Kennington is within the London Borough of Lambeth. Its neighbours to the north are Waterloo on the Charing Cross branch and Elephant & Castle on the Bank branch; the next station to the south is Oval. The station is in Travelcard Zone 2.


The station was opened on 18 December 1890 as part of London's first deep-level tube, the City & South London Railway (C&SLR) (now the Bank branch of the Northern line). The name 'Kennington' was adopted instead of 'Kennington Park Road' although in fact it was in the civil parish of Newington and thence became part of Southwark rather than in the Kennington part of Lambeth. The layout was originally similar to the current[2] arrangement at Borough, with one platform (the northbound) having level access to the lift, and the other (the southbound) being one floor below it.[3]

The northbound platform (Bank branch), looking south. The door concealing the original platform entrance is just visible in the middle of this photograph, at the left.

Two extra platforms were added in 1926, when the connection via Waterloo to Embankment on the former Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway (now the Charing Cross branch) was built. At that time the old northbound platform was reconstructed, so that the track runs down the other side of the tunnel (to allow cross-platform interchange), resulting in unusually large tunnel mouths; this also produced an apparently mysterious door in the wall opposite the platform - the original access to the platform is concealed behind the door.

The southbound (bank branch) platform, looking north, showing one of the original entrances, now concealed behind a door

Since the original access to the northbound platform had been level with the lifts, it would now have been necessary for passengers to ascend stairs, cross a bridge over the tracks, and then descend again. Therefore, to ease the burden on passengers, the lift landing was raised up, by one floor, to the bridge level; this is why there are now so many stairs to the southbound platform. The old entrances to this platform, which have a more decorative appearance than the current entrances, still survive; despite this, the existence of these abandoned areas is not generally known to the public.

Unlike the other original C&SLR stations at Stockwell, Oval and Elephant & Castle, which were all rebuilt during the 1920s modernisation, and despite the major works taking place underground, Kennington's surface building saw little in terms of a physical update at that time. It is therefore the only station of the C&SLR's original section still in a condition close to its original design.

In order to improve the ventilation facilities of the station, without harming the historic fabric of the surface station, additional staff access from the surface to the tunnels has recently[4] been built a short distance to the north, on the opposite side of the main road (adjacent to the pub). The station has now reopened after its first extensive refurbishment in more than eighty years.

Despite having a heavy footfall from all the transferring passengers from the Southbound Charing Cross branch service, the Southbound Bank branch platform has no advertising panels opposite the platform.[citation needed]

Kennington loop[edit]

A loop tunnel south of the station enables southbound Charing Cross branch trains to be terminated at Kennington, leave the station in a southward direction and, traversing the loop, enter the northbound Charing Cross branch platform. Because of the arrangement of junctions, trains using the loop cannot reach the northbound Bank branch platform nor can trains from the southbound Bank branch reach the loop. For southbound Charing Cross branch or Bank branch trains to reach the northbound Bank branch platform a reversing siding between the two running tunnels must be used.

Because of the layout, it is almost always southbound Charing Cross branch trains that terminate at Kennington. One of the station's four platforms is thus mainly used by terminating trains and sees relatively few operational departures.


The loop tunnel is said to be haunted. There have been several reports of train crew hearing the doors between carriages being opened and closed in sequence, as if someone were walking through from the rear of the train to the cab.[5][6] A passenger was allegedly killed at Kennington while attempting to board the train between the carriages and being dragged into the loop.[7] Furthermore, Kennington park, above the loop, was historically notorious as a place of execution; St. Marks Church, near the southern end of the loop, was deliberately built on the site of one of the main gallows.[8]


London Buses routes 133; 155; 333; 415 and night routes N133 and N155 serve the station.


External links[edit]

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