Top 10 Obscure London Sights

Kennington Park Memorial Stone


This unassuming stone in a South London park hides a wartime story as tragic and dramatic as any of the more famous ones. During the Blitz, a trench shelter was built in Kennington Park, for local residents to shelter in during the German air raids. The trenches were very basic and intended for short-term, emergency use, but ended up being used on a regular basis for up to 12 hours at a time.  The design was somewhat flawed, with a local vicar noting that “any bomb falling inside the grid between the trenches would create an earth shock wave sufficient to crush the trenches”.He was right – on the night of October 15th, a 50lb bomb fell on the trench and it collapsed in burying the occupants alive. People worked through the night clearing debris but it was in vain, and there were 104 deaths. Of the 104 to die, only 48 have ever been recovered, and the rest are still buried beneath the park somewhere. So when you visit the standing stone, you aren’t only visiting the memorial you’re also visiting the grave. It’s a sobering thought and a reminder of just how many people suffered in London during the Second World War.