The English Pleasure Garden 1660-1860                            by Sarah Jane Downing

The story of the Pleasure Gardens starts from the time of the Restoration of the monarchy, becoming the most fashionable place to be for style conscious Georgians,  only coming to a close at the height of Victoria's reign.


The first garden was New Spring Gardens which opened to the public in 1661, and as Jon Evelyn recorded in his famous diary, it was "a prettily contrived plantation".


Samuel Pepys was one of the many visitors who would spend happy sun drenched afternoons there with his family gathering fruits and flowers away from the foetid smells of the city.  


Initially the entertainment was little more than the beautiful surroundings, accompanied by birdsong from the resident nightingales and wrens, but by the beginning of the 18th century it was becoming more sophisticated.


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