The Oval in London
The Kia Oval, still commonly referred to by its original name of The Oval, is an international cricket ground in Kennington, in the London Borough of Lambeth. In the past it was also sometimes called the Kennington Oval. In past years it was officially named as the 'Fosters Oval', 'AMP Oval', 'Brit Insurance Oval', and, presently, as the 'Kia Oval' due to commercial sponsorship deals.
The Oval is the home ground of Surrey County Cricket Club, and also traditionally hosts the final Test match of each English summer season in late August or early September. The Oval was the first ground in the United Kingdom and second in the world (after the Melbourne Cricket Ground) to host Test cricket.
The nearest Tube station is Oval, but Vauxhall is only half a mile away.
In 1844, Kennington Oval was a market garden. The Oval was then (and still is) owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. Surrey County Cricket Club was set up in 1845. The Duchy was willing to grant a lease of the land for the purpose of a cricket ground, and, on 10 March 1845, the club signed a lease with the Otter Trustees, who held the land from the Duchy of Cornwall, 'to convert it into a subscription cricket ground', for 31 years at a rent of £120 per annum plus taxes (£20 more). The original contract for turfing the Oval cost £300; 10,000 grass turfs came from Tooting Common.
In 1868, 20,000 spectators gathered at the Oval for the first game of the 1868 Aboriginal cricket tour of England, the first tour of England by any foreign side.
Thanks to C. W. Alcock, the Secretary of Surrey from 1872 to 1907, the first ever Test match in England was played at the Oval in 1880 between England and Australia. The Oval thereby became the second ground to stage a Test, after the MCG. In 1882, Australia won the Ashes Test by seven runs within two days. The Sporting Times printed a mocking obituary notice for English cricket, which led to the creation of the Ashes trophy, which is still contested whenever England plays Australia. The first Test double century was scored at the Oval in 1884 by Australia's Billy Murdoch.
The current pavilion was completed in time for the 1898 season.
In 1907, South Africa became the 2nd visiting Test team to play a Test match at this venue. In 1928, West Indies played its first Test match at this venue followed by New Zealand in 1931. In 1936, India became the 5th foreign visiting Test side to play at the Oval, followed by Pakistan in 1954 and Sri Lanka in 1998. Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are yet to play a Test match at the venue.
During the Second World War, the Oval was intended for use as a prisoner of war camp, although it was never employed as such. The Oval is referenced by the poet Philip Larkin in his poem about the First World War, "MCMXIV".
The first One Day International match at this venue was played on 7 September 1973 between England and West Indies. It had the privilege of hosting matches of the 1975, 1979, 1983 and 1999 World Cups. It also hosted five of the fifteen matches in the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy, including the final. No floodlit day/night international match has been played here to date, although Surrey have played several floodlit one-day matches. In fact, Surrey's ground is noted as having the first floodlights at a sport arena in the form of gas-lamps dating back to 1889.
The ground also had a Zeppelin and later a hot air balloon employed for aerial views during tests but this was never commercially viable and was gone by the turn of the millennium. Several other British grounds had this feature also such as Edgbaston. The Oval once held the record for the largest playing area of any Test venue in the world, but that record has since been surpassed by Gaddafi Stadium in Pakistan (though it is still the largest in Britain).
The billionaire Paul Getty, who had a great affinity for cricket and was at one time Surrey CCC President built a replica of the Oval on his Wormsley Park estate. The famous gasholders at the Oval are actually newer than the ground by several years, having been built circa 1853. There has been much speculation of late as to whether they should be demolished; however, many believe they are part of the Oval's landscape and therefore their future looks secure.
The names of the ends are the Pavilion End and the Vauxhall End.
21st century redevelopment
At the end of the 2002 cricket season, Surrey started redeveloping the Vauxhall End. The development included knocking down the outdated Surridge, Fender, Jardine and Peter May north stands and creating in their place a single four tier grandstand known as the OCS Stand. This work was completed in May 2005, increasing ground capacity to around 23,000.
In January 2007, Surrey announced plans to increase capacity by a further 2,000 seats, this time by redeveloping the Pavilion End. The Lock, Laker and Peter May south stands will be replaced with a new stand, which will have a hotel backing on to it. The Surrey Tavern at the entrance to the ground will be demolished and a new pedestrian plaza will be created in its place, improving access to the ground and opening up views of the historic pavilion. These plans were delayed by objections raised by the Health & Safety Executive as the ground is close to a gasometer. Planning permission was eventually granted, but not before the credit crunch struck. As of November 2010, Surrey still plans to proceed with the development when its hotel partner can obtain funding.
In 2009, permanent floodlights were installed for use in day/night matches. The floodlights are telescopic and can be retracted when not in use.
The Oval was also an important site in the historical development of football, before the game had its own separate national stadium. Football had been played in this part of London for many years prior to the inauguration of the Oval: "The Gymnastic Society" – arguably the world's first Football club – met regularly at Kennington Common during the second half of the eighteenth century to play football
First international football match
The Oval was home to the first ever international football match on the March 5, 1870, England against Scotland, organised by the Football Association The game resulted in a 1–1 draw. Similar international matches between England and Scotland took place at the Oval in 1871, in February 1872 and 1873. On 8 March 1873, the England national team beat Scotland 4–2. England would continue to play occasionally at the Oval until 1889.
- Scores and results list England's goal tally first.
|5 March 1870||1–1||Friendly||Draw|
|19 November 1870||1–0||Friendly|
|25 February 1871||1–1||Friendly||Draw|
|17 November 1871||2–1||Friendly|
|24 February 1872||1–0||Friendly|
|8 March 1873||4–2||Friendly|
|6 March 1875||2–2||Friendly||Draw|
|3 March 1877||1–3||Friendly|
|5 April 1879||5–4||Friendly|
|12 March 1881||1–6||Friendly|
|21 March 1885||1–1||Home International||Draw|
|13 April 1889||2–3||Home International|
First FA Cup final
On 16 March 1872, The Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers 1–0 to win the first ever FA Cup. This final was notable for the Engineers' modern footballing style of teamwork rather than individual play. C. W. Alcock, Secretary of the Football Association, was the prime mover of the competition. He had just become Secretary of Surrey, so that The Oval was the natural choice of venue for the final. Alcock also captained the successful Wanderers side. The Oval hosted all subsequent FA Cup finals (1873 excluded) up until 1892.
The Oval is one of two grounds (Bramall Lane in Sheffield being the other) to have staged both England Football and Cricket internationals, and also FA Cup Finals. The Oval also hosted the second ever Rugby Union international between England and Scotland in 1872 (the first was hosted at Raeburn Place a year earlier).
In recent years, the Oval has held an exhibition match for Australian rules football in October each year, between better performing Australian teams or to show the rivalry between certain clubs. In 2005, a record crowd for Australian rules football in England (18,884) saw the Fremantle Dockers Football Club defeat the West Coast Eagles.
Results of FA Cup finals at the Oval
|1874||2,000||Oxford University||2||Royal Engineers||0|
|1875||3,000||Royal Engineers||1||Old Etonians||1|
|Replay||3,000||Royal Engineers||2||Old Etonians||0|
|1879||5,000||Old Etonians||1||Clapham Rovers||0|
|1880||6,000||Clapham Rovers||1||Oxford University||0|
|1881||4,500||Old Carthusians||3||Old Etonians||0|
|1882||6,500||Old Etonians||1||Blackburn Rovers||0|
|1883||8,000||Blackburn Olympic||2||Old Etonians||1|
|1884||12,000||Blackburn Rovers||2||Queen's Park||1|
|1885||12,500||Blackburn Rovers||2||Queen's Park||0|
|1886||15,000||Blackburn Rovers||0||West Bromwich Albion||0||2–0 in replay at Racecourse Ground, Derby|
|1887||15,500||Aston Villa||2||West Bromwich Albion||0|
|1888||19,000||West Bromwich Albion||2||Preston North End||1|
|1889||22,000||Preston North End||3||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0|
|1890||20,000||Blackburn Rovers||6||Sheffield Wednesday||1|
|1891||23,000||Blackburn Rovers||3||Notts County||1|
|1892||32,810||West Bromwich Albion||3||Aston Villa||0|
Between 1872 and 1879, the Oval held 7 full cap international rugby union matches, as follows:
|Date||Competition||Home team||Away team|
|5 February 1872||1G||2G|
|23 February 1874||1G||0G|
|15 February 1875||2G||0G|
|6 March 1876||1G||0G|
|5 February 1877||1877 Home Nations Championship||2G||0G|
|4 March 1878||1878 Home Nations Championship||0G||0G|
|24 Mar 1879||1879 Home Nations Championship||3G||0G|
On Wednesday 3 March 1875, the Oval held the final of the United Hospitals Challenge Cup, the oldest rugby union cup competition in the world.
The ground has hosted many other events, including hockey fixtures, as well as concerts.
In October 2011 the grounds served as the practice facility for the NFL's Chicago Bears. The Bears were in London to play a match against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium.
|4th floor|| Executive Boxes 33–41|
CEO and Finance Department
|3rd floor|| Executive Boxes 21–32|
|2nd floor|| The Montpelier Club|
Surrey Cricket, England and Visiting Player Facilities
|1st floor|| Staff Administration Offices|
Upper Bedser Stand Seating
|Ground floor|| Ken Barrington Cricket Centre Reception|
The Brit Oval Retail Store
Prince's Trust Team Room
Staff and Player Entrance
|Basement floor||Ken Barrington Cricket Centre|
|4th floor||Roof Terrace|
|3rd floor|| Executive Boxes 43–57|
|2nd floor|| England Suite|
John Major Room
|1st floor|| Australia Suite|
|5th floor|| Library|
CW Alcock Room
Mickey Stewart Surrey Club's Room
|4th floor|| Pavilion Café Bar|
Pavilion Top Seating
|3rd floor|| Pavilion Restaurant|
Pavilion Shelf Seating
|2nd floor|| Committee Room|
Prince of Wales Room
Pavilion Balcony Seating
|1st floor|| Long Room and Ali Brown 268 Bar|
Laker and Presidents Rooms
Pavilion Terrace Seating
|Ground floor||Members Entrance|
|London Buses||Oval Station||36, 185, 436|
|Camberwell New Road||155, 333||0.1 mile walk|
|Oval Station||155, 333||0.1 mile walk|
|Vauxhall||0.5 mile walk|
|National Rail||South West Trains|
- List of cricket grounds in England and Wales
- List of Test cricket grounds
- History of Test cricket (to 1883)
- History of Test cricket (1884 to 1889)
- History of Test cricket (1890 to 1900)
- List of international cricket centuries at the Oval
- Gasworks Gallery, next to the ground
- Archbishop Tenison's School – an historic school located next to the ground, often used as a vantage point for TV cameras and crews
- Surrey Cricket web site
- Cricinfo page on The Oval
- Aerial view of The Oval at Google Maps
- Annotated aerial photograph
- Images of The Oval