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I having hold of him all the while; he then began striking me as hard as he could in my face, with both hands, and I was obliged to let go to defend myself; I knocked him down in the kennel, and as he endeavoured to get up, I made a grasp to lay hold of him again; he got from under my arm, and ran down Holborn; I pursued ... source; Old Baily records online.

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That's it? You're not going to tell us anything else about where you found this? (I don't know what "Old Baily records online" means.) Or why you're confused? –  J.R. Nov 8 '12 at 22:21
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"kennel" is an old word for "gutter" (related to "channel") –  StoneyB Nov 8 '12 at 22:27
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@J.R. It's the records of criminal proceedings in the Old Bailey. Fascinating reading. –  StoneyB Nov 8 '12 at 22:30
    
@StoneyB: I'm sure you've got it. So if you're not going to vote to close as Too Localised (I'm not) you should probably post that as an answer. –  FumbleFingers Nov 8 '12 at 22:31
    
Here's a couple more instances of "knocked him down in the kennel" from Google Books, so it isn't (or at least, wasn't) that much of an unusual thing to say. –  FumbleFingers Nov 8 '12 at 22:35
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1 Answer

Kennel is an old word (an alternative spelling of cannel, cognate with channel) for gutter, a channel provided along a street to drain rainwater.

Just for grins, OED 1 offers some useful phrases using kennel

  • kennel wits, muddy brains
  • kennel-nymph, a girl of the streets
  • kennel-raker, a scavenger, a term of abuse.
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kennel-nymph? Garrggghhhh! OED's cited 1771 Smollett Humph. Cl. 10 June, Let. i, He‥indulged himself‥with one of the *kennel-nymphs. (and cross-references to the same) seem to be just about the only instances in Google Books. That particular one is definitely Too Localised for me! –  FumbleFingers Nov 8 '12 at 22:49
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