Description

The history of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens can be traced back to the mid 17th century, when (as the New Spring Gardens) the venue was already attracting a regular clientele, among them Samuel Pepys, who recorded visiting the site on more than 20 occasions in his diary. The heyday of Vauxhall Gardens arrived after their redevelopment by London entrepreneur Jonathan Tyers in the early part of the 18th century; Tyers organised the Gardens on a firmer business footing. At only one shilling entrance fee, Vauxhall proved popular with both rich and poor visitors, who all came to marvel at the fashions on display there and to explore the various artistic and leisure attractions. These included viewing Louis Francois Roubiliac’s famous statue of Handel, listening to the various orchestras playing popular tunes of the day, taking dinner in one of the 50 ‘supper boxes’ (served promptly at nine o’clock each evening) or simply exploring the wooded ‘grove’. Unlike well-to-do Ranelagh Gardens, however, Vauxhall eventually earned a reputation for late-night drunkenness and associated scenes of violence.

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