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Vauxhall gardens

Vauxhall gardens (London), just south of the Thames, opened soon after the Restoration as New Spring gardens, and were visited by Pepys, who complained of high prices. In 1732 Jonathan Tyers arranged a grand reopening, attended by Frederick, prince of Wales. The central features were the Rotunda and a famous statue of Handel by Roubiliac, erected in 1738. In 1749 a rehearsal of Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks in celebration of the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, brought 12,000 people to Vauxhall. Most visitors came by water. Leopold Mozart, in London in 1764 to show off his extraordinary son, wrote: ‘I thought I was in the Elysian fields, with a thousand glass lamps turning night into day.’ In the 19th cent. there were increasing complaints of rowdiness and vulgarity, and the gardens closed in the summer of 1859. They were soon built over.

J. A. Cannon

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