Vauxhall Gardens is a name that conjures the pleasures of big city life. It reminds us that great towns provide opportunities for communal festivities and concord, as well as the often-stressed potential for urban problems and conflict. A new study by Penelope J Corfield (pictured right) explains how Vauxhall emerged as the brand-leader of the urban pleasure garden, from among the ranks of sixty or more rival gardens in post-Restoration London.
Vauxhall became fashionable; it was popular; it was brilliantly organised; it was musical; it was entertaining; it had fireworks; it was a meeting place for lovers… it had it all. But the continuing transformations of London brought changes. Vauxhall did not endure for ever. While the new Oval Cricket. Ground managed to survive in nearby south London, Vauxhall’s Pleasure Gardens disappeared. It took more than fame and, later, nostalgia to keep a front-rank leisure amenity going on the south bank. By studying Vauxhall’s rise and fall, we can understand the upheavals of the entertainment sector in the ‘modern’ city – and appreciate the message of Vauxhall’s legend.
The Battersea Society is pleased to announce that we have invited Professor Corfield, from Royal Holloway, University of London, to talk about Vauxhall Gardens and launch her new pamplet at St Mary's Church, Battersea Church Road, on Thursday 3 April (7.00 for 7.30pm). This meeting is open to all, cost £3.00 (payable on the door).
'Vauxhall and the Invention of the Urban Pleasure Gardens' is published by History & Social Action Publications at £5 but will be available after the talk for the special launch price of £4.
Further details (and an order form) available by clicking here.
Date posted: 19 March 2008