…and no, it wasn’t with Lady Pendleton this time.
It’s remarkably easy to get there. I took the Bakerloo tube line to Oxford Circus, switched to Victoria, got off about four stops later, at Vauxhall (also a rail station). It took a bit of walking and looking at maps to figure out which way to go, but once I found Kennington Lane, I was good. It wasn’t hard—just opposite Vauxhall Bridge, in fact. The old Vauxhall Bridge was not in existence in 1814 when the current story I’m writing takes place (it opened in 1816 and was called Regent Bridge at first), so people had to come by Westminster Bridge or by water. By water seems more romantic than coming by tube, but with all the tall buildings and traffic, I couldn’t see the river anyway.
When Jonathan Tyers first leased the “Spring Gardens,” that part of town was pretty much still rural. Not town at all. Which was really the source of its allure. One could get away from all the ugly sounds and smells of the city for an afternoon or an evening. And it was open to all classes—well, anyone with a shilling to pay, that is—and there was always something interesting to see and do.
Sadly, London expanded and took over Vauxhall. As buildings were raised around it, it lost much of its appeal. In any case, the advent of trains meant that people could travel further out to see the country if they wished. In 1859, after more than a hundred years, it finished its final season.
What’s left is hardly even a shadow of its former glory. A handful of grassy knolls, a modern-y stone bench, a basketball court with energetic neighborhood youth dribbling the ball from one side to the other. Further on, there are housing units, parking spaces, and even community vegetable plots on Glasshouse Walk. Nearby is the Vauxhall City Farm, where you can pay to see cattle and horses and such—I suppose there must be people still today who don’t get far out of the city.
But the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens still function for the pleasure of local residents. Here’s a link to one event from April of this year: https://vauxhalltrust.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/st-georges-22nd-and-23rd-april-2017/
I feel certain Jonathan Tyers would approve.