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Lighting up Kennington’s ArtsLav

A Victorian lavatory in Kennington has been lit so it can be converted into an arts venue.

From Press releases - 8 May 2013 12:00 AM

Lighting up ArtsLav.jpg

A Victorian lavatory in Kennington has been lit so it can be converted into an arts venue.

UK Power Networks has installed a 240-volt power connection to the Grade II-listed underground gentlemen’s toilet at the junction of Kennington Lane and Kennington Road.

The Friends of Kennington Cross are lovingly restoring the 1898 heritage landmark in the heart of the conservation area to create an arts exhibition venue where students, groups and individuals can show their work to the public – but first the venue needed power.

Electrical engineers excavated a 20m-long trench and joined a new low-voltage cable to the nearest point on the network, completing the work within a fortnight.

Brian Ellis, technical assessor for the project at UK Power Networks, said: “It’s not every day we put in a new power supply to a listed building which is completely underground. That did complicate the project but it was rewarding for our teams to play a part in bringing a heritage building back into community use so everyone can enjoy this quirky landmark.”

Tony Norcross, who chairs the Friends of Kennington Cross, said: “We are thrilled to have the power turned on. It has been a two-year journey and there were literally dozens of people involved. Now that we have power and running water we are able to open the space to the public and are already lining up various exhibits and other events. There is lots of work to do and we are currently creating a list of restoration projects to use as the basis for fund-raising. Our intention is to leave as many of the original features as possible, including some stunning stone and tile work.”

The landmark will continue to have a fully functioning toilet and running water so the ArtsLav can be used for a variety of community events. A short film about the project can be viewed on YouTube: