When you think of Oval cricket always springs to mind, due to the ground of the same name.  With the recent demolition of England in the Ashes, perhaps that’s not such a good thing..

The station opened on the same day as the first stretch of the City and South London Railway, 18th December 1890. Sadly like all the stops on this part of the line bar Kennington, the original building was demolished in the 1920s.  The current station building is relatively non-descript and was modernised in the late 2000s. The old school lighting by the escalators is an endearing feature mind you.   The walls of the station have also been brightened up by images of cricketers in action, just in case you forgot where you were.

The underground river Effra(a name familiar to all Brixton residents) flows under the station. According to Ed Glinert’s comprehensive London Compendium, it flooded the station during the Second World War when engineers were trying to construct a bomb shelter.

The Pub: The Brown Derby, 336 Kennington Park Road, SE11 4PP

The Brown Derby was not our planned pub to visit for Oval. We had a few potential options to look at as we began to head South from Oval, along Kennington Park Road.  However the lit up interior of the Brown Derby just looked so interesting we had to drop in. The exterior is fairly low key, albeit in a funky kind of way that suits the venue well.

When we got in, we weren’t disappointed.   The interior is really eclectic with globes, old gramophones and a traditional jukebox scattered around the place.  My favourite item being the fans shaped as leaves just above the bar.The mixture of exposed brick at the bar and red walls in the back section, combined with the darkish lighting all  add to the ambiance of the place.   The comfy chairs and sofas help make it feel like a cosy place to have a drink.

You may be forgiven for thinking somewhere like here would skimp back on the ales, far from it! On our visit there were four ales available on tap, including the ever reliable Doombar,  Tribute and for an added bonus, Sussex Best from Harveys.  It also has a wide range of cocktails too, as you might more obviously expect.

I must admit, it was the fans shaped like leaves that drew me to the place, as it reminded me of a bar my friends and I used to drink at when we were at University, just near Warren Street.   When chatting to the barman, I found out that Brown Derby effectively was a reincarnation of that bar, which had been called Positively Fourth Street. Looking around,  some of the decor did look familiar.

The Brown Derby was really unexpected but a great find.  I would definitely recommend a visit here, it’s one of my favourites on the trail so far! There is also something calming about those fans…

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