William Godwin's Diary


Pleasure gardens were open to the public for a fee during the summer months. Entertainments offered there included fireworks, masquerades, and music as well as dining facilities. There were a number of different types of gardens in London with those at Vauxhall and Ranelagh operating on the largest scale. Ranelagh was the more exclusive and abstemious environment, charging as it did 2s 6d while one could access Vauxhall for 1s (increased to 2s in 1792). The price of admission varied according to the scale of the entertainment; fireworks or a masquerade, for example, demanded a premium.

See John Fielding, A brief description of the cities of London and Westminster, the public buildings, palaces, gardens, squares, andc. (London: J. Wilkie, 1776), pp. 28-9, 32-3 and Warwick Wroth, The London Pleasure Gardens of the Eighteenth Century (London: Macmillan, 1896, repr. 1979).