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Vauxhall Revisited: The Afterlife of a London Pleasure Garden, 1770–1859

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1 Blanchard Laman, ed., George Cruikshank's Omnibus (London, 1869), 172.

2 Brewer John, The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century (New York, 1997), 67.

3 Wroth Warwick's The London Pleasure Gardens of the Eighteenth Century (London, 1896) and his Cremorne and the Later London Gardens (London, 1907) remain the best studies. Although the debt owed to Wroth (1858–1911) by any scholar of the Gardens is obvious, his histories offer little in the way of analysis. The same can be said of highly derivative later works by other authors: Southworth James Granville's Vauxhall Gardens: A Chapter in the Social History of England (New York, 1941) and Scott Walter Sidney's Green Retreats: The Story of Vauxhall Gardens, 1661–1859 (London, 1951). Edelstein T. J.'s short exhibition catalogue, Vauxhall Gardens (New Haven, CT, 1983), is excellent, but does not consider the nineteenth century.

4 Porter Roy, London: A Social History (London, 1994), 289; Altick Richard D., The Shows of London (Cambridge, MA, 1978), 320. Altick offers a wealth of detail on the personnel and programming of other London venues, but very little analysis of the social or gender makeup of audiences. As with Wroth's earlier accounts of London's pleasure gardens, little explanation is offered for changes in the content of such entertainments, apart from a desire for novelty.

5 The word is used here in the same sense as that used by de Bolla Peter in his article entitled “The Visibility of Visuality: Vauxhall Gardens and the Siting of the Viewer,” in Vision and Textuality, ed. Meville Stephen and Readings Bill (Basingstoke, 1995).

6 Ibid., 294.

7 Cooper Anthony Ashley, Shaftesbury Lord, Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, ed. Klein Lawrence E. (Cambridge, 1990), 31.

8 Réponse d’un artiste a un homme de lettres qui lui avoit écrit sur les Waux-halls (Amsterdam, 1769), 1011; Le Rouge, Description du Colisée (Paris, 1771); Coyer Abbé, Nouvelles observations sur l’Angleterre (Paris, 1774), 109–10; Goodman John, “‘Altar against Altar’: The Colisée, Vauxhall Utopianism and Symbolic Politics in Paris (1769–1777),” Art History 15, no. 4 (1992): 434–69.

9 The Warwick Wroth Collection, comprising four large scrapbooks held in the Museum of London Library, is the richest collection. Other repositories, however, have single-volume scrapbooks or miscellanies: Jacob Henry Burn, “Historical Collections Relative to Spring Garden at Charing Cross … and to Spring Garden, Lambeth … Since Called Vauxhall Gardens,” British Library, Cup.401.k.7; Oxford, Bodleian Library, G.A. Surrey c. 21–25; “Vauxhall Miscellany,” Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington, CT. Sadly, identifying the precise date and source for the many newspaper and other clippings in these scrapbooks is difficult. Although the year is almost always recorded, the source and precise date are often not given.

10 Cunningham Hugh, Leisure in the Industrial Revolution (London, 1980), 95.

11 Wahrman Dror, The Making of the Modern Self: Identity and Culture in Eighteenth-Century England (New Haven, CT, 2004); Roberts M. J. D., Making English Morals: Voluntary Association and Moral Reform in England, 1787–1886 (Cambridge, 2004). For a useful discussion of literature on gender, see Vickery Amanda, “Golden Age to Separate Spheres? A Review of the Categories and Chronology of English Women's History,” Historical Journal 36, no. 2 (1993): 383414.

12 Solkin David, Painting for Money (New Haven, CT, 1992), 111.

13 Hodgkinson Terence, “Handel at Vauxhall,” Victoria and Albert Bulletin 1, no. 4 (October 1965): 113.

14 Gowing Lawrence, “Hogarth, Hayman, and the Vauxhall Decorations,” Burlington Magazine 95, no. 598 (January 1953): 417; Solkin, Painting for Money, 190–99.

15 G. F. P., Vauxhall Gardens Past and Present (London, 1849), 34.

16 “Vauxhall,” source of clipping unidentified, Museum of London (Wroth Collection), Vauxhall Scrapbook (hereafter cited as WWC), 3:38.

17 Oxford, Bodleian Library, G.A. Surrey, c. 23, 35.

18 From The Citizen of the World, 71. Friedman Arthur, ed., The Collected Works of Oliver Goldsmith, 5 vols. (Oxford, 1966), 2:296.

19 Fielding Henry, Amelia, ed. Battestin Martin C. (Oxford, 1983), 395.

20 Burney Fanny, Evelina; or, The History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World, ed. Cooke Stewart J. (New York, 1998), 162.

21 See the clipping of ca. 1769 in WWC 3:6.

22 Cited in Ogborn Miles, The Spaces of Modernity: London's Geographies, 1680–1780 (New York, 1998), 137. See also Breward Christopher, “Masculine Pleasures: Metropolitan Identities and the Commercial Sites of Dandyism, 1790–1840,” London Journal 28, no. 1 (2003): 71.

23 Oxford, Bodleian Library, G.A. Surrey, c. 21, fol. 161.

24 Egan Pierce, Life in London (London, 1821), 338.

25 “A Swell out of luck!!!” print, 837/0/12, Lewis Walpole Library, Farmington, CT. Nead Lynda, Victorian Babylon: People, Streets and Images in Nineteenth-Century London (New Haven, CT, 2000), 132.

26 Even in the cant-ridden, “fast” world of Pierce Egan, one must admit that the swashbuckling male heroes have very little presence. The only characters that step off the page in The Pilgrims of the Thames are Penelope (a “questionable female” they meet in Vauxhall) and the match girl Charlotte, whose life story is interpolated among the otherwise wearisome antics of three heroes. Egan, The Pilgrims of the Thames, in Search of the National! (London, 1838), 246.

27 Carter Philip, Men and the Emergence of Polite Society in Britain, 1660–1800 (London, 2001), 137; Breward, “Masculine Pleasures,” 70–71. For the shift from politeness to chivalry, see the essays in the Journal of British Studies, vol. 44, no. 2 (April 2005), especially Michèle Cohen, “‘Manners’ Make the Man: Politeness, Chivalry, and the Construction of Masculinity, 1750–1830,” 312–29.

28 The Times, 27 June 1804.

29 WWC 3:68.

30 The Examiner 291 (25 July 1813): 466.

31 Clipping dated 22 August 1819, WWC 3:84.

32 The year 1821 was an important caesura in management terms, as the Gardens finally passed out of the Tyers family. The great Jonathan Tyers had been succeeded by his son, and then in turn by his son-in-law, Bryan Barrett, whose elder son George sold up in 1821 for £30,000.

33 Vizetelly Henry, Glances Back Through Seventy Years, 2 vols. (London, 1893), 1:20.

34 Letter of 12 July 1827. “A German Prince” [Hermann, Fürst von Pückler-Muskau], in Tour in England, Ireland, and France (Philadelphia, 1833), 157.

35 For Professor Keller, see Altick, The Shows of London, 345–46.

36 Cunningham, Leisure in the Industrial Revolution, 164–65. For a rare mention of Vauxhall in this context, see Bratton J. S., The Victorian Popular Ballad (Totowa, NJ, 1975), 9798.

37 The New Picture of London, Being a Complete Guide and Hand-book (London, ca. 1840), 113.

38 For examples of their rhetoric, see the evidence presented to the Select Committee on the Observance of the Sabbath Day (Parliamentary Papers [1831–32], vol. 7).

39 Roberts, Making English Morals, 118.

40 The Times, 9 October 1827.

41 WWC 3:102.

42 Egan, Life in London, 336.

43 See the comment appended to the letter of “Laicus,” The Times, 8 June 1837. See also the response to the letter of “Civis,” The Times, 20 July 1830.

44 The Original Picture of London, Enlarged and Improved (London, 1826), 360–62 (362).

45 Egan, Pilgrims of the Thames, 303.

46 Ibid., 55.

47 Dickens Charles, Sketches by Boz and Other Early Papers, 1833–39, ed. Slater Michael (Columbus, OH, 1993), 127, 129–30.

48 In addition to Bunn, these included Robert Wardell (1845–54), Edward Tyrrel Smith (1855), and Robert Duffell (1858). Smith later leased Cremorne Gardens, the much less venerable pleasure garden that operated on a site north of the river from 1846 until 1877. For Cremorne, see Nead, Victorian Babylon, 109–38.

49 Poster, 30 August 1841, Oxford, Bodleian Library, G.A. Surrey c. 25, fol. 45.

50 Vizetelly, Glances Back, 1:208.

51 “Vauxhall Gardens,” The Times, 7 July 1842.

52 For an account of one of these spectacles, see Schlesinger Max, Saunterings In and About London, trans. Wenckstern Otto (London, 1853), 40.

53 Altick, The Shows of London, 323–31.

54 See “Punch at Vauxhall,” Punch, 12 July 1845, 30.

55 The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction 446 (14 August 1830): 5.

56 For an example, see Cruikshank's “Scene at Vauxhall” in the second volume of Thomas Roscoe's 1832 “Novelist's Library” edition of Fielding's Amelia.

57 For a rare complete run of Vauxhall Papers, see WWC 1:40. This quotation is from the first number, dated 19 July 1941. The Vauxhall Papers had a predecessor in the Spring Garden Journal published ca. 1770. Sadly, no issues of this periodical survive. Ogborn, Spaces of Modernity, 123.

58 Vizetelly, Glances Back, 1:206–7.

59 Mandler Peter, The Fall and Rise of the Stately Home (New Haven, CT, 1997), 38.

60 For the stage version, see T. P. Taylor, The Miser's Daughter. A Drama, in Three Acts (London, n.d.).

61 Ainsworth William Harrison, The Miser's Daughter, 2nd ed., 3 vols. (London, 1843), 2:215.

62 Ibid., 2:257.

63 For these episodes, see ibid., 2:99–119, 206–44, 257–75.

64 For Cruishank's three engravings of pleasure gardens, see ibid., 2:118 (“Mr Cripps Encountering his Master in Mary-le-bone Gardens”), 230 (“The Masquerade in Ranelagh Gardens”), 262 (“The Supper at Vauxhall”).

65 Walford Edward, Old and New London: a Narrative of its History, its People, and its Places, 6 vols. (London, 1873–75), 6:466.

66 [Tallis John], Tallis's Illustrated London (London, 1851), 233–34.

67 Ritchie James Ewing, Here and There in London (London, 1859), 108–9.

68 Smith Albert, Sketches of London Life and Character (London, 1859), 150–51.

69 Dickens, Sketches by Boz, 131.

70 Knight Charles, Cyclopaedia of London (London, 1851), 45.

71 Knight Charles, London, 6 vols. (London, 1860), 1:397.

72 “A Last visit to Vauxhall,” Punch, 17 September 1859, 119.

73 The Times, 9 October 1827.

74 Manners Lord John, A Plea for National Holy Days (London, 1843); see also the contributions of “Parson Lot” [Charles Kingsley] to the short-lived periodical Politics for the People (1848).

75 Jevons William Stanley, “Methods of Social Reform: Amusements of the People,” Contemporary Review 33 (October 1878): 498513 (512).

76 Marius Kwint, “The Legitimization of the Circus in Late Georgian England,” Past and Present, no. 174 (February 2002): 98–99.

77 Davidoff and Hall, Family Fortunes, 370–74.

78 The Rev.Richardson J. , Recollections, Political, Literary, Dramatic, and Miscellaneous, of the Last Half-century, 2 vols. (London, 1856), 1:230. Though “younger,” Astley's also became “a fount of perpetual nostalgia.” Kwint, “The Legitimization of the Circus,” 99–100.

79 Smith, Sketches of London Life and Character, 149–50.

80 Unidentified clipping, 17 July 1830, Oxford, Bodleian Library, G.A. Surrey c. 24, fol. 25.

81 Dickens, Sketches by Boz, 129.

82 Bunn Alfred, The Vauxhall Papers (London, 1841), WWC 1:40.

83 Nord Deborah Epstein, Walking the Victorian Streets: Women, Representation, and the City (Ithaca, NY, 1995), 38; Nead, Victorian Babylon, 9; Wilson, “The Invisible Flâneuse.”

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