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Vauxhall Garden: Paradise in London

Although Vauxhall no longer stands in London, the history of the pleasure gardens continues to intrigue. During the Regency era, admission into the pleasure gardens cost three shillings and a sixpence. With such a price, Londoners from all walks of life mingled and enjoyed the entertainments Vauxhall provided.

tom-and-jerry-vauxhallVisitors could enjoy an array of amusements. An orchestra played in an Orient-inspired stand. Entertainers, acrobats, and singers performed throughout. Cold meats and refreshments were offered for supper, but at a relatively expensive price. Balloon rides and firework displays proved popular, and of course, the grandest attraction was the beauty of the pleasure gardens.

thVP9SOLEXWalks snaked and sieved through the gardens. The Grand Walk served as the main route through Vauxhall. Underneath the branches of grandiose elms, lords and ladies, members of the middle class, and commoners strolled along the Grand Walk. Branching off from this main route were the “Dark Paths” illuminated by the light of thousands of colorful lanterns, which offered the perfect setting for clandestine meetings. Lovers escaped from the crowds for trysts, or prostitutes met with clients in the shadows. It is safe to say a proper, young lady never wandered far from the Grand Walk.

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Along the paths ranged monuments and other sights. Waterfalls, pavilions, and bridges designed in an Oriental manner were scattered throughout the pleasure gardens. Roman and Grecian statuary were also strewn throughout the gardens. In short, Vauxhall was picturesque. It is of little wonder why Vauxhall serves as a popular setting in regency romances.

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