As seen in Netflix’s Bridgerton, Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens was once at the heart of the capital’s nightlife and a centre for scandalous liaisons and secretive assignations.
A flash of green amid traffic-choked roads, elevated railway lines and anonymous high-rise apartment and office blocks, Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens is a well-kept but unremarkable south London park. When I visited on a sunny spring afternoon, wildflowers dotted the grass and shouts sounded from the football pitch. At the edge of the seven-acre park, mesmerised children gazed at a trio of freshly trimmed alpacas, residents of Vauxhall City Farm. In the distance loomed the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service, an ironically distinctive green-and-cream hulk on the south bank of the Thames.