Lydia Melford¹s uncle in “Humphry Clinker” by Tobias Smollett

“Vauxhall is a composition of baubles, overcharged with paltry ornaments, il conceived, and poorly executed; without any unity of design, or propriety of disposition. It is an unnatural assembly of objects, fantastically illuminated in broken masses; seemingly contrived to dazzle the eyes and divert the imagination of the vulgar-Here is a wooden lion, there a stone statue; in one place, a range of things like coffee-house boxes, covered a-top; in another, a parcel of ale-house benches; in a third, a puppet shew representation of a tin cascade; in a fourth, a gloomy cave of a circular form, like a sepulchral vault half lighted; in a fifth, a scanty flip of grass-plat, that would not afford pasture sufficient for an ass¹s colt. The walks, which nature seems to have intended for solitude, shade, and silence, are filled with crowds of noisy people, sucking up the nocturnal rheums of an anguish climate; and through these gay scenes, a few lamps glimmer like so many farthing candles.”

“To analyze the entertainments at Vauxhall would be about as easy as to fix the outlines of smoke. Everything is so evanescent, so intangible and so like a vision, that it is scarcely possible to assign a distinct character to any part of the agreeable varieties with which the gardens abound. ”

In 1663 Vauxhall gardens was “laid out in squares, enclosed with hedges of gooseberries, within which were roses, beans and asparagus” and a “freedom to eat the fruit which grew in the gardens”. Around that tiem someone else wrote “when I considered the fragrancy of cypress, fir, yew, cedar, tulip trees….”

sources in process of being tracked down in Minet Road lambeth Archives