January 4


Strolling the Vauxhall Gardens!

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


Articles, Regency Romance

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  • Oh, if one could only go back in time; I would definitely go ! I’m a practical person myself, especially since I have Ulcerative Colitis, I would definitely find out about the nearest available restrooms, and how clean they were kept. Then I’d want to explore the gardens, and find a musical entertainment that I liked best; and then I would check out the foods available and enjoy myself (everyone knows that one of the best parts of going to a county fair, carnival, or other outdoor activity is trying the various types of foods available!) Everything from Lemon shake ups, to corn dogs on a stick, barbecue sandwiches, kettle com, and the ever popular Funnel Cakes Yum! I would definitely be one of those who could have wondered the Vauxhall Garden for hours; but I would definitely want a big strapping man as my escort; a woman can never be too careful!

    • Oh yes, especially back in the day things were quite dangerous! We can dream and read about them in novels I guess 😛

  • I am an avid gardener, so this story interested me very much. Although I would have liked to see more of the gardens and the plants that were grown. It does look like a beautiful garden though.

  • Would definitely love to walk in the gardens(travel back in time) just to absorb the ambiance. Treading in the place where so many historical figures spent time. As a history major I love that type of exercise (went nuts in Boston and Phili). I could be standing where George IV, the Duke of Wellington, or John Locke stood mulling over the business of making England better. Would love a-simpler life (with all medical advances, working bathrooms with showers and toilets, oh! don’t forget washers at least) and leave the modern TVs, Computers, etc behind and actually converse with others.
    Although I’d most likely be bored quickly.

  • I am very much interested in the Regency period of England. I had researched Vauxhall recently and was enchanted with the whole concept. And yes it would have been amazing to attend

  • I can only imagine how lovely this garden would be, and to be able to people-watch without a care or steal away with your beloved hmmm….oh but to dream.

  • It must have been so grand,I can’t begin to imagine the opulence, what fun it would have been to see
    a showand to just people watch. I don’t think I would eat there though maybe a lemonade. Bathrooms and refridgeration would have been nice I agree with you there. Thank you Ava for sharing.

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