The Oval Cricket Ground in London

Monday, 7 November 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, London, Sport
Reading Time:  7 minutes

The Oval © Chino990/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Oval © Chino990/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Oval, currently known for sponsorship reasons as the Kia Oval, is an international cricket ground in Kennington, located in the borough of Lambeth, in south London. The Oval has been the home ground of Surrey County Cricket Club since it was opened in 1845. It was the first ground in England to host international Test cricket in September 1880. The final Test match of the English season is traditionally played there. In addition to cricket, The Oval has hosted a number of other historically significant sporting events. In 1870, it staged England‘s first international football match, versus Scotland. It hosted the first FA Cup final in 1872, as well as those between 1874 and 1892. In 1876, it held both the England v. Wales and England v. Scotland rugby international matches and, in 1877, rugby’s first varsity match. It also hosted the final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.

At the end of the 2002 cricket season, Surrey started redeveloping the Vauxhall End. The development included demolishing the outdated Surridge, Fender, Jardine, and Peter May north stands, and creating in their place a single four-tier grandstand, currently known as the OCS stand, as it is sponsored by Outsourced Client Solutions International Facilities Management Services. This work was completed in May 2005 and increased ground capacity to around 23,000. In January 2007, Surrey CCC, 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 were to be replaced by a new stand, which would have a hotel backing on to it. The Surrey Tavern at the entrance to the ground would be demolished, and a new pedestrian plaza would 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 a result of which this development did not proceed. In 2009, four masts of semi-permanent telescopic floodlights costing £3.7m were installed for use in late-day through evening matches. The floodlights were especially designed to comply with strict residential planning regulations to lessen their visual impact and any light overspill to residents, as well as to improve the game experience within the ground by reducing excess glare that can affect players, umpires, broadcasters and spectators. Precision reflector systems were fitted for tight beam control to decrease overspill and direct light only where needed. Each mast was made extendable to a maximum height of 47.6 metres (156 ft) and, when not in use, retractable to 30 m (98 ft). At the end of each season, all four masts can be removed and stored away. After the 2013 season, a new project was started to add ‘wings’ to either side of the OCS Stand at the Vauxhall End of the ground. The development was finished in time for the start of the 2014 season. Each ‘wing’ added 500 seats, increasing the capacity from 23,500 to 24,500.

Kia Oval Pavilion © Tmx468/cc-by-sa-4.0 The Oval Clock © SovalValtos/cc-by-sa-4.0 The Oval Gasholders © Jguk The Oval © Chino990/cc-by-sa-4.0 Surrey v Derbyshire © geograph.org.uk - John Sutton/cc-by-sa-2.0 Hobbs Gate © Spudgun67/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Surrey v Derbyshire © geograph.org.uk - John Sutton/cc-by-sa-2.0
In September 2015, the Peter May and Tony Lock stands were demolished, to be replaced by a single new and much larger stand named after Peter May. May led Surrey to their sixth and seventh consecutive County Championships in 1957 and 1958 and also captained England from 1955 to 1961, winning the Ashes in 1956. Construction of the new stand, which cost around £10m, began in September 2015. It officially opened on 15 May 2016, increasing the capacity of the ground by 1,300 seats to 25,300. Following the demolition of the Tony Lock stand, the club renamed the Laker Stand as the Lock/Laker Stand, continuing to honour the contribution made by the spin partnership of Tony Lock and Jim Laker, who collectively took 3,108 wickets for the club. The Lock/Laker stand was itself demolished in September 2019, and work began on the construction of a new development in its place, initially named “One Oval Square”. The new structure will include a three-tier stand that will increase the ground’s total capacity to almost 28,000, as well as providing state-of-the-art facilities for the Club’s hospitality, conference and events businesses, and provide improved facilities for Members. The new stand is due to be completed in mid 2021. The project is part of a planned £50m long-term redevelopment of the ground by Surrey County Cricket Club which will see The Oval transformed into the largest cricket stadium in the western hemisphere, with a capacity of 40,000. Floodlights were added in the shape of an O for oval on one side of the ground to emulate the e-shaped floodlights at Edgbaston.

A tall Victorian gasometer, sited less than 50 metres beyond the north-eastern stadium wall, has been a dominating feature of the view from the ground since the mid 1800s. A movement to preserve iconic gasometers across the UK as important and historic monuments of Britain’s industrial heritage has emerged in recent years, with the one visible from The Oval often cited as a particularly notable example. The skeletal but decorative wrought iron structure is a landmark in the area and has become an intrinsic part of The Oval’s history and urban allure. The cricket commentator Henry Blofeld once said in a broadcast, “As the bowler runs in, it’s so quiet you can hear the creak of the gasometer.” Although long unused as a gas holder, the aging structure was only officially decommissioned in 2014, with plans to demolish it being announced in 2013. Blofeld stated: “In comparison, pulling down the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace would be child’s play.”. After local public protest at the proposed demolition, in March 2016 the structure was given Grade II listed status to protect its future (The Oval Gasholders).

Read more on The Kia Oval and Wikipedia The Oval (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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