I am completely fascinated by the Pleasure Gardens of London, they are in effect the first Theme Parks and having been to a few modern ones, I know I would have prefered the Vauxhall Gardens to them.
The gardens had activities like strolling through the tree lined avenues, rendezvous and trysts in side lanes, watching the water cascade, people watching, dining in a private box, picnicking in the grounds, or sampling the food from the stalls. You could see an exhibition of the latest paintings by Hogarth or listen to music by Handel or dance the night away. Fireworks, balloon rides and other new inventions could be experienced. The Gardens also had the same issues that large scale events of today do; traffic jams, long queues for the dirty toilets and poor quality but expensive food vendors.
I am so fascinated that I am going to do my next research project on them. I am curious as to how the gardens worked socially. It was open to anyone who could afford the entrance fee and as such attracted many levels of society. And as you can see from the list in the last post there was a huge gap in what the lower to upper classes viewed as entertainment. But that’s for next semester.