Wednesday 25 January 2012

Garden History Inspiring the Contemporary - Again

A site called Treehugger reports that ‘Derelict Docks in London Will be Transformed into "Pleasure Gardens" for the 2012 Olympics’.  The Aim of the Pleasure Gardens is, and I quote:

‘This is a two stage project to kick start the regeneration of The Royal Docks. The first stage involves bringing East London Culture to The Olympic Last Mile, the second stage aims to support the cultural legacy of the games through the provision of a multi-functional cultural destination.  We will transform Pontoon Dock from its current state of dereliction into a cultural hub for Londoners seeking a vibrant and exciting cultural experience that is both avant-garde and inclusive. During the Olympics, we will be proud to say, this is our London – an innovative and creative world, acclaimed for its cultural influence, yet previously without a defined hub.  The Pleasure Gardens will provide London with a 60,000 sq.m waterside leisure park featuring both year-round attractions and seasonal spectaculars.’

Interestingly, today's Royal Victoria Gardens which was opened in 1890 and is also in the Borough of Newham, was created on what was then last surviving Pleasure Garden in London - the full story is via the above link.

Vauxhall Gardens c.1751
The concept of the Pleasure Garden can be traced back to 18th century London with Vauxhall and Ranelagh Gardens being perhaps the most famous. These were places which charged a small entrance fee, where members of the opposite sex could meet (who knows what happened in the shrubberies!?) and where tea was served.  Indeed, today’s gem of useless information is the origin of giving TIPS  - a coin for the serving staff was placed on the table when you sat down To Insure Prompt Service.

Ranelagh Gardens 1754
I'll post something on the history of tea soon but in the meantime, here is more fascinating information on Vauxhall and Ranlelagh and their social context, together with information about tea gardens on a delightful blog called Jane Austen’s World.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Toby, and we also had such pleasure gardens in Bath, at Sydney Gardens, still in existence but sadly altered.