Caret Press to publish David E. Coke’s Six Essays on Vauxhall Gardens in October 2021

Vauxhall Gardens by Thomas Rowlandson (c. 1784). Courtesy of Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.

A collection of six papers on Vauxhall Gardens by David E. Coke, a leading expert on London’s Georgian pleasure gardens and’s consulting editor, is to be published in autumn 2021 by Caret Press in association with The Vauxhall Society.

This book is a selection of essays written following the publication of David Coke and Alan Borg’s Vauxhall Gardens, A History (Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre, 2011) and published on  “One of the most problematic and painful aspects of preparing that book was the necessity to edit it down to a manageable size, which meant losing fascinating topics and stories,” David says. “This sequel was conceived partly to expand coverage of subjects only mentioned in Vauxhall Gardens, A History, and partly to explore subjects that the book had to lose altogether, or even subjects Alan and I were unaware of at the time of publication.”

The essays in the new book combine new research with recent scholarship. Six Essays on Vauxhall Gardens is extensively illustrated in colour.

David is an assiduous collector of all things to do with the two great commercial pleasure gardens of Georgian London – Vauxhall in Lambeth and Ranelagh in Chelsea. He believes that discoveries should be shared with fellow-students and Vauxhall Gardens enthusiasts worldwide as soon and as accessibly as possible. The essays on board games and Henry Evans Evanion were prompted by David’s discoveries.

Through his website and his close association with the Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury, David receives regular enquiries from individuals and institutions interested in particular aspects of the pleasure gardens, and these too prompt new writing – ‘The Career of C.H. Simpson’ is one of the articles that arose from intriguing enquiries from members of the public.

Subjects in Six Essays on Vauxhall Gardens:

  • The surprising career of C.H. Simpson, Master of Ceremonies 1795–1835. 
  • Vauxhall Gardens in contemporary children’s board games. 
  • Evanion – the ‘Royal Conjuror’, supplier of refreshments to Vauxhall, and obsessive collector of entertainment ephemera. 
  • The record-breaking flight of the Royal Vauxhall Balloon in 1836. 
  • Evidence of the popular nostalgia for Vauxhall after it closed. 
  • Tracking the fate of Vauxhall’s outdoor bandstand. 

Six Essays on Vauxhall Gardens will be available through Amazon print on demand and Ingram Global Distribution (£14.99), as well as an ebook (£11.99). 

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