The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 36 Lambeth and Battersea

Vauxhall Gardens

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From Lambeth Bridge we continue to follow the Albert Embankment to the south. Broad St., on the left, leads to Lambeth Walk, in a turning out of which (8 Bolwell St.; tablet) the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan (1845-1900) was born. We pass Doulton's Pottery Works, opposite which, on the left bank of the river, appears the Tate Gallery (Walk 43). We are here traversing the site of the Vauxhall Gardens, the most celebrated of the numerous pleasure-gardens that existed on the Surrey side in the 17-19th centuries. These gardens, laid out in 1660 and closed in 1859, have been described by Pepys, Evelyn, Addison, Fielding, Thackeray, and others, and are frequently referred to by the Restoration dramatists. They were at first called New Spring Gardens to distinguish them from the older Spring Gardens near Whitehall; the name Vauxhall Gardens first appears in 1785. Boswell describes this pleasure resort as 'peculiarly adapted to the taste of the English nation; there being a mixture of curious show, gay exhibition, musick, vocal and instrumental, not too refined for the general ear-for all which only a shilling is paid - and though last not least, good eating and drinking for those who choose to purchase that regale.' The only traces left of the gardens are such names as Vauxhall Walk, Jonathan St., and Tyers St., the last two recalling Jonathan Tyers, who reopened the gardens in 1732 and carried them on with success. The name Vauxhall is derived from Fulke or Falkes de Breaute (died 1226), who obtained the manor of South Lambeth in the reign of King John. In the old manor-house, then known as Copt Hall, Arabella Stuart, cousin of James I., was confined in 1600 for marrying William Seymour, a suitor disapproved by the king.