A Vauxhall masquerade ball ticket dating back to 1792 will be on display to the public for just one day.

The ticket is one of only seven known surviving entrance tickets for the masquerade that opened the new season at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in 1792.

It will be dug out of the Foundling Museum’s Gerald Coke Handel Collection archive and put on display for the entire day on May 31 as part of London History Day.

Colin Coleman, librarian of the Gerald Coke Handel Collection, described the ticket and the gardens.

“It’s very decorative and a beautiful, engraved thing,” he told the Weekender. “It’s quite large and must be about 20cm by 15cm, if not bigger.

“It [the gardens] would have been one of the main points of entertainment at that time. If you wanted to hear music you either went to the theatre or, in the summer season, you went to the gardens and there would be food, lighting, live music and the outside walks at Vauxhall, and a lot of performers were there.”

Vauxhall Gardens was re-launched in 1732 as the first and most significant of the true pleasure gardens of Georgian London.

Mr Coleman said a mix of classes would visit the garden, and the wealthier visitors would sometimes take their servants along with them for the evening.

London History Day is run by Historic England and encourages museums across the city to take an important item relating to the capital’s history out of their archives for the day.

Katharine Hogg, who is also a librarian of the collection, will give a talk at 1pm on the day, exploring the social and musical activities that took place at the gardens during the 1792 season.

Visitors will have to pay general admission into the Foundling Museum, in Bloomsbury, on the day, but the talk will be free.


For address and full details about Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens click here.