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The clock outside the Members' Entrance.

The Brit Insurance Oval, still commonly referred to by its original name of The Oval, is an international cricket ground in Kenningtonmarker, London. In the past it was also sometimes called the 'Kennington Oval' (not to be confused with Kensington Ovalmarker in Barbadosmarker). In recent years it has been officially titled as the 'Fosters Oval', 'AMP Oval', and, currently, as the 'Brit Insurance Oval' (or 'Brit Oval') due to various commercial sponsorship deals. It is located in the London Borough of Lambethmarker.It is the home ground of Surrey County Cricket Club, and also traditionally hosts the final Test match of each English summer in late August or early September. The Oval was the first ground in Britain and second in the world (after the Melbourne Cricket Groundmarker) to host Test cricket.

The nearest tube station is also called Ovalmarker, but the ground can also be easily reached from Vauxhallmarker.


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 Commonmarker.

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 MCGmarker. 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 Pakistanmarker 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 Larkinmarker in his poem about the First World War, MCMXIV.

The first One Day International match at this venue was played on September 7, 1973 between England and West Indiesmarker. 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 Edgbastonmarker. 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 Stadiummarker in Pakistanmarker (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 Parkmarker estate. The famous gasholders at The Oval are actually younger 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.

End names

The names of the ends are the Pavilion End and the Vauxhall End.

Twenty-first century redevelopment

The OCS Stand as pictured from the Bedser Stand
The Pavilion

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. This is subject to the planning application being approved by Lambeth Councilmarker. 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. However, these plans have been delayed due to fears over health and safety as the ground is very close to a gasometer.

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 against Scotlandmarker, 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 March 8, 1873, the England national team beat Scotland 4-2. England would continue to play occasionally at the Oval until 1889.

An illustration of an 1872 England vs Scotland match.
The background shows the distinctive gasometer of The Oval

Scores and results list Scotland's goal tally first.
Date Venue Result Competition Location Winner
5 March 1870 The Oval, Londonmarker 1–1 Friendly Draw
19 November 1870 The Oval, Londonmarker 0–1 Friendly
25 February 1871 The Oval, Londonmarker 1–1 Friendly Draw
17 November 1871 The Oval, Londonmarker 1–2 Friendly
24 February 1872 The Oval, Londonmarker 0–1 Friendly
30 November 1872 Hamilton Crescentmarker, Glasgowmarker 0–0 Friendly Draw
8 March 1873 The Oval, London 2–4 Friendly
7 March 1874 Hamilton Crescentmarker, Glasgowmarker 2–1 Friendly
6 March 1875 The Oval, London 2–2 Friendly Draw
4 March 1876 Hamilton Crescentmarker, Glasgowmarker 3–0 Friendly
3 March 1877 The Oval, London 3–1 Friendly
2 March 1878 Hampden Parkmarker, Glasgowmarker 7–2 Friendly
5 April 1879 The Oval, London 4–5 Friendly
13 March 1880 Hampden Parkmarker, Glasgowmarker 5–4 Friendly
12 March 1881 The Oval, London 6–1 Friendly
11 March 1882 Hampden Parkmarker, Glasgowmarker 5–1 Friendly
10 March 1883 Bramall Lanemarker, Sheffieldmarker 3–2 Friendly
15 March 1884 Cathkin Parkmarker, Glasgowmarker 1–0 Home International
21 March 1885 The Oval, London 1–1 Home International Draw
27 March 1886 Hampden Parkmarker, Glasgowmarker 1–1 Home International Draw
19 March 1887 Leamington Road, Blackburnmarker 3–2 Home International
17 March 1888 Hampden Parkmarker, Glasgowmarker 0–5 Home International
13 April 1889 The Oval, London 3–2 Home International

First FA Cup Final

On March 16, 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 Lanemarker in Sheffieldmarker 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 Placemarker 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 Football Club defeat the West Coast Eagles.

Results of FA Cup Finals at the Oval

Year Attendance Winner Runner-up Notes
1872 2,000 Wanderers 1 Royal Engineers 0
1874 2,000 Oxford University 2 Royal Engineers 0
1875 3,000 Royal Engineers 1 Old Etoniansmarker 1
Replay 3,000 Royal Engineers 2 Old Etoniansmarker 0
1876 3,500 Wanderers 1 Old Etoniansmarker 1
Replay 1,500 Wanderers 3 Old Etoniansmarker 0
1877 3,000 Wanderers 2 Oxford University 1
1878 4,500 Wanderers 3 Royal Engineers 1
1879 5,000 Old Etoniansmarker 1 Clapham Rovers 0
1880 6,000 Clapham Rovers 1 Oxford University 0
1881 4,500 Old Carthusiansmarker 3 Old Etoniansmarker 0
1882 6,500 Old Etoniansmarker 1 Blackburn Roversmarker 0
1883 8,000 Blackburn Olympic 2 Old Etoniansmarker 1
1884 12,000 Blackburn Roversmarker 2 Queen's Park 1
1885 12,500 Blackburn Roversmarker 2 Queen's Park 0
1886 15,000 Blackburn Roversmarker 0 West Bromwich Albion 0 2-0 in replay at Racecourse Groundmarker, 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 Roversmarker 6 Sheffield Wednesday 1
1891 23,000 Blackburn Roversmarker 3 Notts County 1
1892 32,810 West Bromwich Albion 3 Aston Villa 0

The ground has hosted many other events, including hockey fixtures, as well as concerts.

Floor Directory

Bedser Stand

4th floor Executive Boxes 33-41
CEO and Finance Department

3rd floor Executive Boxes 21-32
Communications Centre
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 Recpetion
The Brit Oval Retail Store
Prince's Trust Team Room
TriNorth Offices
Staff and Player Entrance

Basement floor Ken Barrington Cricket Centre

OCS Stand

4th floor Roof Terrace
3rd floor Executive Boxes 43-57
Broadcast Centre
Legends Lounge

2nd floor England Suite
John Major Room
India Room

1st floor Australia Suite
Press Box
Debenture Lounge
Ashes Suite
Suite 3
Pakistan Room

Ground floor Reception


5th floor Library
CW Alcock Room
Guildford Room
Mickey Stewart Surrey Club's Room

4th floor Pavilion Café Bar
Counties Room
Pavilion Top Seating

3rd floor Pavilion Restaurant
Captain's Room
Pavilion Shelf Seating

2nd floor Committee Room
Prince of Wales Room
Pavilion Balcony Seating

1st floor Long Room and Bar
Laker and Presidents Rooms
Pavilion Terrace Seating

Ground floor Members Entrance

Transport Links

Public transport access
London Buses Oval Station 36, 185, 436
Oval Station 155, 333
Camberwell New Road 155 333

London Underground Ovalmarker
National Rail Vauxhallmarker

See also

  • Tenison's School, Lambethmarker - historic school located next to the ground, often used as a vantage point for TV cameras and crews


  1. Surrey CCC history.
  2. As if they were stretched outside The Oval or Villa Park... Philip Larkin, MCMXIV.
  3. Cricket's Strangest Matches page 34 ISBN 1-86105-293-6
  4. [Deathwatch] John Paul Getty II, billionaire , 70
  5. Exciting ground developments continue at the Oval,, 18 January, 2007.
  6. Football The First Hundred Years: The Untold Story by Adrian Harvey, Routledge 2005, page 54
  9. Details of the 1872 FA Cup Final (PDF file)

External links

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