Sunday, 12 August 2018

The Pleasure Gardens at the Museum of London

More pictures from my London trip, this time from the Museum of London.

Reproduction hat, part of a 1790 costume

Pleasure gardens were outdoor venues which charged an entrance fee. As well as strolling round the gardens themselves, patrons also enjoyed entertainments such as concerts and firework displays. Once inside the gardens however visitors were literally a captive audience, and Vauxhall Gardens in particular was infamous for selling poor quality food in tiny portions at outrageous prices - a tactic familiar to anyone who has flown on a budget airline!

Fortunately no food is involved here; instead the Pleasure Gardens form the backdrop to a display of eighteenth and nineteenth century costume.

The display has been open for some time, and earlier this year it was refurbished with new exhibits: as the museum has 22,000 pieces in its costume and textile collection, there was plenty to choose from! You can read more about the refurbishment here and here.

There wasn't a lot of information about the costumes (or if there was, I didn't spot it), so this is mainly a post of pictures.

1790 dress with reproduction petticoat and fichu

Showing a blurry back view in the mirror

Close-up showing the pleating detail and fly braid trim

Fabric detail, image © Museum of London

The headress reminded me of this print

Chemise dress

Moving on to the nineteenth century

1830 cotton pelisse

Close-up of cotton dress

Victorian archery outfit belonging to Mrs Fanny Giveen

The skirt and belt are originals


  1. I love the archery costume! And isn't the Museum of London excellent? I went last year and was so impressed, the day went in a flash, like travelling through time. I loved the early 20th century area - the Lyons Corner House and 40s costumes, and a tailor's shop I remember. Well worth a return trip some day soon! Great post.

    1. Thank you Kate. My main reason for visiting was the exhibition about the suffragettes, but of course I looked at other parts as well. I didn't know until I got there that the Pleasure Gardens had been redone, so the new exhibits were a bonus. The archery costume is fabulous!