Strolling the Vauxhall Gardens!

Ava MacAdamsSource

Hello my dearest!I heartily wish that the New Year will bring us all only happiness and health! And parties, more parties for all! Have you ever thought what would be the first thing you would do had you lived in the Regency Era? No? Well, I would definitely pay a visit to the Vauxhall Gardens! Why?I could go on for hours about why pleasure gardens rock, but since we don’t have all day, I will just tell you some things about the most popular pleasure gardens of the 19th century! The gardens opened in 1661, so you see there is a lot of history to them! Oh I can just imagine the spicy affairs that took place there over the centuries!

As you can see from the map, the place was enormous! And the best part of all, you had to get there by boat through the Thames! A very romantic way to start the night, if you ask me! And the magic has just begun! There was music everywhere! From amateur performers to the big orchestra located at the very center, people could choose their way of entertainment. But I think what made them so popular was the mingling of all social classes and the discarding of the restrictions of polite society! Just imagine that for just a shilling, anyone could be granted entrance.And even strangers could speak to each other without the proper introductions that were required during balls. A perfect place for a meeting or a steamy rendezvous!Oh well… I guess this is why it was a favorite among prostitutes and rakish lords! No one really paid attention to what happened in the romantic alleys or which lady disappeared with which lord.

So, I guess for the poor it would be enough to just go and watch wealthy people in their extremely lush clothing, but how would the rich entertain themselves? Why, with lots of dancing and eating of course! There were several performances that took place and you could make a reservation at one of their dinner boxes. “The Vauxhall Supper began about 9pm as dusk fell. It consisted of Vauxhall ham, cold meats, salad, cheeses custards, tarts, cheesecakes and other puddings. As night fell during the supper a whistle was blown. Servants lit thousands of lamps positioned strategically about the gardens and illuminated the scene. The effect was sensational.”

Oh what I wouldn’t give to be able to attend! Which got me thinking, where were all these kitchens and servants located? (did they even have toilets? 😛 ) Sorry, my family always calls me a killjoy for saying these things, but I just can’t help but wonder! One thing is certain, I wouldn’t want to be a servant among these flamboyant lords, but I would definitely go there to spend time with my prince charming!Pretty sad that people stopped visiting and it shut down in 1859… I guess all good things eventually come to an end!Would you go there if you had the chance? Send me a comment about what you would do there! 

Written by Ava MacAdams

Source: Jane Austen’s World

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