"Vauxhall is an...area....located on the south bank of the River Thames, across the water from...the House of Commons."
This was an area of pleasure gardens beside the Thames; avenues, covered walks and booths in which one could obtain a drink. It provided (as in Pepys' case) an area providing discreet, amatory resort and became notorious by the early 18th century for the numbers of prostitutes who plied their trade there.
VauxHall as Mary described it, in 1746.
Vauxhall Gardens, on the Surrey side of the Thames, and a short distance east of Vauxhall Bridge, over against Millbank, a place of public resort from the reign of Charles II. almost to the present time, and celebrated for its walks, lit with thousands of lamps; its musical and other performances; its suppers, including ham cut in wafery slices, and its fireworks. The Gardens were formed circ. 1661, and originally called "The New Spring Gardens," to distinguish them from the Old Spring Gardens at Charing Cross.
Not much unlike what His Majesty has already begun by the wall from Old Spring Gardens to St. James's in that Park, and is somewhat resembled in the New Spring Garden at Lambeth.—Evelyn's Fumifugium, 1661.
July 2, 1661.—I went to see the New Spring Garden at Lambeth, a pretty contrived plantation.—Evelyn.
The ladies that have an inclination to be private take delight in the close walks of Spring Gardens,—where both sexes meet, and mutually serve one another as guides to lose their way, and the windings and turnings in the little Wildernesses are so intricate, that the most experienced mothers have often lost themselves in looking for their daughters.—Tom Brown's Amusements,, 1700.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.
Foxhall, Faukeshall, or Vauxhall, a manor in Surrey, properly Fulke's Hall, and so called from Fulke de Breaute, the notorious mercenary follower of King John. The manor house was afterwards known as Copped or Copt Hall. Sir Samuel Morland obtained a lease of the place, and King Charles made him Master of Mechanics, and here "he (Morland), anno 1667, built a fine room," says Aubrey, "the inside all of looking-glass and fountains, very pleasant to behold." The gardens were formed about 1661, and originally called the "New Spring Gardens," to distinguish them from the "Old Spring Gardens" at Charing Cross, but according to the present description by Pepys there was both an Old and a New Spring Garden at Vauxhall. Balthazar Monconys, who visited England early in the reign of Charles II., describes the Jardins Printemps at Lambeth as having lawns and gravel walks, dividing squares of twenty or thirty yards enclosed with hedges of gooseberry trees, within which were planted roses.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.