Lost in Lambeth

It would be easier to follow google map instructions if the streets had signs, thankfully a lovely local lady pointed me in the right direction but not after walking around and around.  I headed off to Lambeth today to view another archive of old Vauxhall Gardens documents.

This archive consisted of a set of newspaper cuttings and a bound volume of the playbills for the Gardens.  Fortunately it had a different set of cutting in particular several who speak directly about the crowds.  The British Magazine whose writer calls
himself “The Visitor” talks of “… people of all ranks.” and later “not while
every cook, maid and barber’s apprentice were gaping and staring at them.”

What does become evident is that as the century ages the makeup of the crowd tips from being mainly the upper classes with the few of the middling and lower that can afford the entrance fee to more middling and lower.  In 1787 the Morning Chronicle talks about the crowd being large rather than splendid.  The way in which the crowd is referenced changes to the “first rank” and then “first rank and fashionables” and by 1800 it is mainly the “fashionables”.

It appears the upper classes become bored or tired with such amusements.  Which leads me to the amusements; at the start of Tyers rule the entertainments are eating, drinking, dancing, music and most importantly seeing and being seen.  By the 1840s the list of entertainments has grown to include all kinds of diversions and in particular foreign diversions.  The peak of the empire demands that entertainments must be from far off places – exotic, perhaps unobtainable. All of which are about the crowd being entertained by some external force.  The upper classes only appear to attend when the whole event is either in their honour or someone close to them.

There is a theory that the gardens were about voyeurism and auto voyeurism – watching and being watched.  Another theory saws it is because the court of the Georges is just
boring and the aristocracy wanted a diversion.  I think its both but in the end it becomes a chore or duty to appear for the lesser classes.  And like any addiction, the lesser classes need more and more to appease them.

Tomorrow is photograph day,  need some shots to build the Gardens in SL and I have seen a couple of vistas in Hyde Park that should do nicely.  Plus Blackstone (from SL) would like some brick textuers.  So I will be the strange one taking photos of bricks.

Author: Soosie

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