The station was opened on 18 December 1890 as part of London's first deep-level tube, the City & South London Railway (C&SLR) (now the Bank branch of the Northern line). The name 'Kennington' was adopted instead of 'Kennington Park Road' although in fact it was in the civil parish of Newington and thence became part of Southwark rather than in the Kennington part of Lambeth. The layout was originally similar to the current arrangement at Borough, with one platform (the northbound) having level access to the lift, and the other (the southbound) being one floor below it. Two extra platforms were added in 1926, when the connection via Waterloo to Embankment on the former Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway (now the Charing Cross branch) was built.
The station has two passenger lifts but no escalators. The platforms can also be reached via the 79-step staircase. The 20 A1-sized panels inside the two lifts, normally used for posters, were occupied in 2010 by the work of the 16 MA students at the City & Guilds of London Art School. Since 2005 Art Below have set about changing the everyday travelling experience, transforming entire platforms and corridors using advertising space to display the works of emerging artistic talent. This was the first time that they had transformed a lift into an art gallery!
Connections: London Bus routes 133, 155, 333 and 415 and night routes N133 and N155 serve the station.