Friday, February 17, 2012

The Pleasure Garden, Ctd.

David Coke graciously responded to my previous post about pleasure gardens, offering a small but important correction about Vauxhall: even though gambling took place at other pleasure gardens, like Marylebone, it was outlawed at Vauxhall. He explained,
Prostitution and gambling often did go together, especially in the Georgian period, but Jonathan Tyers [Vauxhall's owner] was very adept at gauging his audience’s tolerance of certain things. Prostitutes, if they at least looked respectable, and restricted themselves to sunset and later, were part of the attraction of Vauxhall. And Tyers was happy to admit this.  On the other hand, he knew that gambling, especially card-sharps and cheats, would have put off many of his regular audience, and would have wrecked his hugely valuable word-of-mouth publicity."
These nuances of morality, class, and business are fascinating and not unlike some of the distinctions that emerged in American theatre in the 19th century. More on this, I'm sure, in the future--I'm learning before your eyes, here!

In the meantime, I encourage everyone, again, to check out the book:

From A Companion to All the Principal Places of Curiosity
 and Entertainment In and About London and Westminster
, 1801

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