Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Gardens and Spas - Cremorne Gardens

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Illustrated London News, Jan.-June, 1851

"Let us go to Cremorne," he proposed. "There are illuminations, trees, crowds and music - an excellent place in which to have a serious conversation.
    Cremorne, I must tell you, is a pleasure resort with a lake and beautiful gardens, and is immensely popular. This establishment is situated exactly opposite its rival, Vauxhall, on the other side of the river. The company there is very mixed: students and shop girls, soldiers and civilians, dissipated young bloods, paterfamilias with their better halves, schoolboys and children's nurses; Cremorne welcomes them all. It is not an edifying place, but, as I have said before, Londoners leave their prudery at home.
    Cremorne, like Vauxhall and other such places, offers a variety of attractions. One moves on methodically from the one to the other at the sound of a large bell which a man rings as he leads the way, the crowd trotting along behind him. We trotted with the herd and Lionel continued to evade me.
    "Let us listen to the music," he suggested. As soon as the quavering melody had dissolved: "Quick, to the theatre, or we won't get a seat!" he cried. And we had to gallop after the bell-man, be jostled by the crowd, and sit though a farce acted by pierrots, harlequins, policemen, and field-marshals. There were waterfalls, snow-capped mountains and polar bears in white cotton trousers. The actors oozed sentiment, the actresses danced, the chorus bellowed. As a conclusion the devil appeared in pink tights with gilded horns - he went through various transformations and ended up as an attorney. It was all an incomprehensible jumble. As we left the theatre I perseveringly attempted to engage Lionel's attention, but the cursed bell-ringer drowned my voice and we were carried along by the human stream. We found ourselves in a large room, the centre of which had been roped off. In this enclosure was a small man, alert and thin, rolling niggerish black eyes and waving a pair of hairy hands, each one clasping a small wooden hammer. In front of this repulsive creature was a table covered with bricks of varying sizes placed on a wire frame. The hubbub ceased suddenly  and we were given a real Anglo-Saxon treat. The man hit a brick with one of the hammers and it gave out the sound that you expect from a breaking tile. After this prelude, his little hammers seemed to go mad, flying from brick to brick with incredible rapidity, and from a certain rhythm in his movements one realised that he meant to convey a musical impression. One must really be born and bred in the British Isles to listen patiently to such harmonious strains! A few moments later the bricks were discarded for wooden cylinders and the arid melody began afresh, still drier but more complicated. This concerto of demented nuts dancing in a bag roused the wildest enthusiasm from the audience. Liszt would have had a poor reception had he been billed to play after this prince of British melody.
    "Now," said Lionel. "Let us have some ginger-beer."
    In a Chinese bandstand an orchestra struck up a schottische. A minute later the carefully levelled open space was filled with couples and the surrounding tables with onlookers. We took our seats and the waiter uncorked a couple of oval-shaped bottles and poured us out a frothy sparkling liquid which might have been lemonade had it not tasted of pepper and pimentos. This fashionable refreshment sets the roof of your mouth on fire, and while I still gasped for breath, Lionel seized the hand of a young person of doubtful morality and flung himself into a Bacchanalian rendering of the polka. People dance here with their hips and their shoulders, seeming to have little control over their legs. They have no ear for time. Frivolous young things improvise all sorts of indecorous antics. This, however, does not seem in any way to interfere with the staid enjoyment of the numerous middle-aged couples who placidly saunter around, occasionally colliding with one or another of the boisterous merry-makers. Nobody here takes the slightest notice of his neighbour's doings.
    A final clanging of the bell sent us scurrying off to see the fireworks. As the last rocket vanished, the clock struck twelve; midnight - the hour of crimes and confidences.

Francis Wey, A Frenchman Sees the English in the Fifties, 1935

see also J. Ewing Ritchie in The Night Side of London - click here

The gardens were large and well laid out; some of the grand old trees had been left standing, and afforded pleasant relief to the town eyes which had been staring all day at brick and stucco, while their murmuring rustle was pleasant to the ears aching with the echo of city traffic. There were plenty of amusements - a circular dancing platform, with a capital band in a large kiosk in the middle; a lot of jeux innocens, such as you find at a French fair; once a week a balloon ascent, and a very good firework display. The admission-fee was one shilling; there was a hot dinner for half a crown, a cold supper for the same money ; and it was not considered necessary, as at Vauxhall, to go in for expense; on the contrary, beer flowed freely and it was about this time, I think, and at Cremorne, that the insidious "long" drinks - soda and "something"  - now so popular, first made their appearance. Occasionally there were big banquets organized by certain "swells," and held there, when there would be heavy drinking, and sometimes a row - on Derby night, once, when there was a free fight, which lasted for hours, involving the complete smash of everything smashable; and I mind me of another occasion, when a gigantic Irishman, now a popular M.P., sent scores of waiters flying by the force of his own unaided fists. But, on the whole, the place was well and quietly conducted, and five minutes after the bell for closing rang - just before midnight - the gardens were deserted. There was a general rush for the omnibuses and cabs, which were in great demand, and for one or two seasons there was a steamboat which left the adjacent Cadogan pier at the close of the entertainment, and carried passengers to Hungerford Bridge, and which was very popular. 

Edmund Yates, His Recollections and Experiences, 1885
[chapter on 1847-1852]

see also James Payn in Lights and Shadows of London Life - click here [1] [2]

It is about half past ten o'clock and still the middle-class visitors have not yet beat a retreat, the "swells" are just beginning to arrive; club coffee-rooms, notably the "Rag" and the "Junior" have discharged their whilome occupants into Hansom cabs and private broughams, which have wended their way Chelsea-ward, while the said occupants, in all the "gorgeous array" of evening dress, covered by the large loose-sleeved cape, in all the aristocracy of moustache, beard and wing-whisker - in all the easy elegance of toothpick-chewing hands-in-pocket-holding and semi-intelligible drawling - are wending their way to the  dancing platform at Cremorne. These young bucks are sources of the greatest delight - of delight mixed with respectful wonder - to the families who have been at the gardens since 2p.m.; who are now finishing their sandwiches and bottled porter in the supper-boxes and just waiting while father has gone round to see the horse put to that convenient green chaise-cart which will take them all to St. Mary Axe. Jolly, stout, red-faced matron, cherry-cheeked, plump buxom girls, shining with yellow soap and good humour, though somewhat "towzled" by a romp in the maze; children preternaturally excited by the lights, and the dancing and the "drops of drink" which have been continually administered - wild with sleep but refusing to believe in the existence of bed - propping their eyelids with their forefingers.

from Illustrated Times, July 1858

see also Edmund Yates in The Business of Pleasure - click here

CREMORNE GARDENS, near Battersea Bridge,-lessee, Mr. E. T. Smith,-formerly belonged, with the mansion, to Lord Cremorne, but have, for many years, enjoyed a surprising popularity as a place of alfresco amusement. Concerts, dancing, fireworks, marionettes, balloon ascents, ballets, farces, and equestrian exhibitions are here provided from 3 p.m. until 12 p.m. in amazing variety. The grounds are agreeably laid out, and refreshments of good quality supplied at moderate rates. Admission to the gardens, 1s. They are easily accessible by omnibus or steamboat.

Cruchley's London in 1865 : A Handbook for Strangers, 1865

Entertaining though operetta, burlesque, and ballet may be to some visitors to Cremorne Garden, alternated with a waltz round the circular platform, a glance of astonishment at the spread of the woman's-rights movement, as evidenced In the velocipedism of a couple of "ladies" astride bicycles, and a stroll amid the trim parterres, which are just now at their best, the faint and limp Londoner, whether jaded by a day's work in the hot city or ennuy?d with watching the beauties of the "Ladies' Mile" under a burning sun, will find a welcome summer entertainment in the aquatic feats a la "Natator" limned by our Artist.
    It is rather late (could you not make it earlier, Mr. E. T. Smith?) when the loungers of the Cremorne arbours are attracted by a procession headed by a band and an illuminated transparency indicating the way to the "Beckwith Frogs." Falling in, the band conducts us to the Marionette theatre. The stage is occupied by a huge aquarium, seeing which, one of the musicians, if not "beholding heaven and feeling hell," seems, as is indicated in the Illustration, to have caught sight of "the ocean to the river of his thoughts." To watch the wondrous evolutions of the human seals who presently glide into the water is as refreshing as Sainsbury's cooling drinks. With the ease and celerity of the sea-bear at the Zoological Gardens, Master Willie Beckwith goes through a series of acrobatic gyrations under water. Like a perch among minnows, he darts past the startled goldfish, and dives from one end of the tank to the other, until it is a relief to see him rise to the surface to regain breath. He plunges to the bottom again, and walks on his hands; and, still immersed, gracefully performs a number of somersaults. The expert tricks of this young "Beckwith Frog" are excelled by Professor Beckwith's assistant teacher of swimming, a skilful young exponent of the art named Thomas Attwood. Easy and graceful in his sub-aqueous movements - quite finished in style, in point of fact - this lithe young swimmer is also as agile as an otter, and his power of remaining under water should entitle him to be included among amphibious animals. Grateful though the idea of taking one's meals in the water, after the manner of Mr. and Mrs. Craddock, may be during sultry weather, the thought of indulging the appetite under water is not so tempting, and it is to be feared that in only too many cases the trial would end in providing a dinner for those to the manner born. To eat, drink, and smoke even under water appears, however, to come quite naturally to Attwood. As he sinks he is seen to place a portion of a roll in his mouth and to eat the whole of the bread before emerging. Down into his seemingly native element he glides once more, this time with a lemonade bottle full of milk, which be drains to the last drop before rising. Like Old King Cole, he now calls for his pipe. Taking a whiff or so above water first, Merman Attwood rejoins the gold fish, and enjoys a smoke in the attitude depicted by our Artist for an unconscionably long time, the blue vapour rolling up from his mouth in small volumes, which can be plainly seen, while the bowl of the "churchwarden" of course remains above the surface. Capping this clever feat by remaining recumbent at the bottom of the aquarium for seventy seconds (too long a time for even you to be submerged without risk, Mr. Attwood), the elder "Beckwith Frog" brought his performance to a close amid a well-merited burst of applause, which was shared by Master Willie Beckwith. Clad in fleshings and drawers, after the fashion of acrobats, these adroit young divers flash about the aquarium with a fishlike facility that is extraordinary enough to draw all London Cremorne-wards to see them.
    It may be added, for the benefit of those who many wish to witness the performances of the "Beckwith Frogs" at an earlier hour than eleven that on Saturday afternoons there is a children festival at Cremorne, when all the amusements of the gardens may be enjoyed at a reduced rate. Another opportunity of seeing these marine acrobats at a convenient time will be offered on Monday evening, the 28th inst., when they are to appear at an aquatic entertainment to be given by Professor Beckwith at the Lambeth Swimming-Bath. Champion swimmer of England for several years, the Professor is, necessarily, sadly, also a famous Performer in the water; and the natatory skill of himself and family, together with the keen racing which his prizes always call forth, causes his swimming fetes to be deservedly popular.

Penny Illustrated Paper, 19th June, 1869

The Garden at Cremorne. It might seem rather late in the day to argue, on the grounds of its entertaining prostitutes among others, against the most beautiful public garden London can boast for the amusement of her people, and which, like many others of its kind, has taken, despite of strong objections, a position among the faits accomplis of the age. The union of Terpsichore and Melpomene, long forbidden by puritanism, has now for some time been sanctioned by the magistracy; large capital has been invested in providing local habitations for the young couple, and these are frequented without risk of more than nominal damage by great crowds of both sexes, all ranks, and all ages. No less than fifteen thousand people have been known to be present at Cremorne, on the occasion of the manager's benefit, and the nightly visitors during the fine season amount to between 1,500 and 2,000. As my present business, however, is with the demeanour of London prostitution, I must Unwillingly limit myself to the consideration of public out-door amusements with reference to that common feature only, and state some impressions of travel on a pleasant July evening from Charing Cross to Chelsea.
As calico and merry respectability tailed off eastward by penny steamers, the setting sun brought westward hansoms freighted with demure immorality in silk and fine linen. By about ten o'clock, age and innocence, of whom there had been much in the place that day, had seemingly all retired, weary with a long and paid bill of amusements, leaving the massive elms, the grass-plots, and the geranium- beds, the kiosks, temples, 'monster platforms', and 'crystal circle' of Cremorne to flicker in the thousand gas-lights there for the gratification of the dancing public only. On and around that platform waltzed, strolled, and fed some thousand souls - perhaps seven hundred of them men of the upper and middle class, the remainder prostitutes more or less prononcées. I suppose that a hundred couples (partly old acquaintances, partly improvised) were engaged in dancing and other amusements, and the rest of the society, myself included, circulated listlessly about the garden, and enjoyed in a grim kind of way the selection' from some favourite opera and the cool night-breeze from the river.
The extent of disillusion he has purchased in this world comes forcibly home to the middle-aged man who in such a scene attempts to fathom former faith and ancient joys, and perhaps even vainly to fancy he might by some possibility begin again. I saw scores, nay hundreds, about me in the same position as myself. We were there - and some of us, I feel sure, hardly knew why - but being there, and it being obviously impossible to enjoy the place after the manner of youth, it was necessary, I suppose, to chew the cud of sweet and bitter fancies; and then so little pleasure came, that the Britannic solidity waxed solider than ever even in a garden full of music and dancing, and so an almost mute procession, not of joyous revellers, but thoughtful, care-worn men and women, paced round and round the platform as on a horizontal treadmill. There was now and then a bare recognition between passers-by - they seemed to touch and go, like ants in the hurry of business. I do not imagine for a moment they could have been aware that a self-appointed inspector was among them, but had they known it never so well, the intercourse of the sexes could hardly have been more reserved - as a general rule, be it always understood. For my part, I was occupied, when the first chill of change was shaken off, in quest of noise, disorder, debauchery, and bad manners. Hopeless task! The picnic at Burnham Beeches, that showed no more life and merriment than Cremorne on the night and time above-mentioned, would be a failure indeed, unless the company were antiquarians or undertakers. A jolly burst of laughter now and then came bounding through the crowd that fringed the dancing-floor and roved about the adjacent sheds in search of company; but that gone by, you heard very plainly the sigh of the poplar, the surging gossip of the tulip-tree, and the plash of the little embowered fountain that served two plaster children for an endless shower-bath. The gratus puellae risus [pleasing laughter of a girl] was put in a corner with a vengeance, under a colder shade than that of chastity itself, and the function of the very band appeared to be to drown not noise, but stillness.
The younger portion of the company formed the dances, and enjoyed themselves after the manner of youth, but I may fairly say, without offence to the most fastidious eye or ear. ... The officiating member of the executive, Policeman T., had taken up an amiably discreet position, where his presence could in no way appear symptomatic of pressure, and the chances seemed to be, that had he stood so posed until his interference was necessary on behalf of public order, he might have been there to this day.
Lemonade and sherry seemed to please the dancers, and the loungers indulged the waiters' importunity with a rare order for bitter-beer. A strongish party of undergraduates in drinking - all males - were deepening their native dullness in a corner with bottled stout, and more seasoned vessels struggled against depression with hot grog. In front of the liquor-bar, called, in the language of the billographer, the 'gastronomic department', two rosy capitalists (their wives at Brighton or elsewhere) were pouring, for mere distraction's sake, libations of fictitious Möet, to the memory of auld lang syne with some fat old dames de maison, possibly extinct planets of the Georgian era. There was no drunkenness here to take hold of. As I have before recorded, there was among the general company barely vivacity, much less boisterous disorder. Let me try the assembly for immodest, brazen-faced solicitation by women. I declare my belief that I never saw the notoriously anti-sociable habit of English people more rigorously adhered to. Of the character of the female visitors - let me always say with some exceptions - I could have little moral doubt, but it was clear enough that self-proclamation by any great number of them was out of the question. It was open to the male visitors to invite attention and solicit acquaintance. No gentlemanly proposition of the kind would have been rebuffed, no courteous offer of refreshment, possibly, declined, but I am firmly of opinion, that had the most eligible men present tarried in hopes of overtures from the other side, they might have been there yet, with Policeman T.
As to the costumes of the company I have little more to say, than that pretty and quiet dressing was almost universal, and painted cheeks a rarity; but one or two physical characteristics seem worth mentioning. I saw many an etiolated eye and blanched chlorotic complexion, due to want of sun and air, and general defibrinization, but not more noticeable here than in Mayfair. There was here and there a deplorable hectic flush, distinguishable enough from carmine; and I noticed a great prevalence of sunken eyes, drawn features, and thin lips, resulting from that absorption of the cellular tissue which leaves mere threads of muscle stretched upon the skull. Inasmuch as within my recollection women of the town had a well- known tendency to stoutness, and they now live no worse than heretofore, I am inclined to attribute these symptoms not so much (as is the vulgar error) to the practice of prostitution, as to the dancing mania, which has been the only remarkable change of late years in their mode of life, superadded in many instances to the action of early privations, and perhaps hard work in domestic service and millinery factories, upon naturally delicate or defective organizations.
There are other pleasure gardens in or about the London district, such as the gardens at North Woolwich, Highbury Barn, and Rosherville, but they do not call for any special notice, as, except that their frequenters are drawn chiefly from a lower class, they differ in no material respect from Cremorne.

William Acton, Prostitution, Considered in its Moral, Social and Sanitary Aspects, 2nd edition 1870

NOCTURNAL REVELS - We are informed that a deputation of parochial authorities and inhabitants of the suburbs in which Highbury Barn, Cremorne, and other places of nocturnal amusement are situate, have waited upon the Commissioner of Police to state the great annoyance caused by the permission given to these places to keep open until unduly late hours; and we understand that in future there will be no extension of time granted beyond the usual hour of closing at one o'clock.

Penny Illustrated Paper, 12 March, 1870


A vigorous attempt is to be made this year to revive the somewhat faded glories of Cremorne. The welcome outburst of vegetation which has astonished us during the past six days has added a soft aspect of newness and life to the gardens, such as the highest art could not rival; but it will be when, further into the summer, the richly furnished flower beds reveal their treasures, that Cremorne will be able to boast of its highest charm. The new lessee is Mr. John Baum, for many years a director of the Alhambra Company. He has entered upon his serious venture in a spirit of radical reform. Amongst the abuses he has swept away, the public will welcome, as chief, the abolition of the many extra charges by which they were aforetime vexed. Many amusements once unattainable on account of objectionable prohibitory tariffs, are for the future to be managed on a free-trade principle. The old circus has been turned into a handsome theatre, which will comfortably accommodate 3000 persons. Two prominent features of the remodelled hotel department are a half-crown supper, and a three-and-six penny dinner, which includes a pint of claret. A steam-circus, and one or two other popular sources of enjoyment, have been provided for children. The levelling and turfing of the space recently devoted to the hapless pursuits of the Great Balloon Company, and the carting away of the railway model, have added to the space and beauty of the grounds, and enabled the management to place the Long-walk at the disposal of promenaders. Dancing visitors will find no lack of opportunity, both in the open and under cover, for engaging in their favourite amusement. The gardens are occupied by a perfect army of waiters, and officials in uniforms of gorgeous pattern and hue, in evident imitation of the servitors at the Alhambra. There was an inaugural fete on Saturday, preceded by a dinner, over which Mr. Stanley Vickers, M.P., presided. A ballet, which it is not too much to say is one of the prettiest in London, was subsequently performed in the new theatre.

Penny Illustrated Paper, 6 May, 1870

Cremorne Gardens, Chelsea - Landscape paintings, on an immense scale, in the gardens; concerts, &c. Admission 1s. Open at three. 

Routledge's Popular Guide to London, [c.1873]


Sir, I must respectfully decline to be dragged into a controversy with Mr. John Baum, lessee of Cremorne Gardens, whose "private character, name and reputation" I do not mean to canvass; but as he has chosen to make your columns a vehicle for suggestion that the opposition to his establishment "was the result of malice," I deem it due to myself and to my friends to give the most unqualified denial to such an unblushing misrepresentation. I have had to perform a most disagreeable public duty, for which I have, however, received the hearty thanks of many of the most respectable persons in the parish of Chelsea; while, on the other hand, I have been made the object of some of the coarsest ribaldry I ever read. I thought threatening letters had been confided to Ireland, but I have received from a gentleman styling himself "Chief of the Secret Society," a warning "to beware of dark lanterns and sharp daggers, especially on the 5th November, for that the United Brotherhood of Chelsea have sworn (I will not transcribe the oath) to riddle me "with duck shot" and to set my "castle in flames". I would merely inform this gentleman, through the medium of your columns, that I shall hope to escape from his horrible machinations by using ordinary precautions and by requesting the police to keep an eye upon him and the "united brotherhood." Such is the plan adopted for deterring individuals from daring to utter a complaint against Cremorne, and many persons have through fear of the consequences declined to come forward as witnesses, though they assured me that they thoroughly approved the opposition made. Mr. John Baum omits to mention that, though the formal petition lodged by me in compliance with the requirements of the law contained only 13 signatures, another petition, started some days after his petition, received the signatures of 410 householders, including tradesmen, mechanics, ministers of religion and professional men; that this petition was also signed by 33 vestrymen of Chelsea, and that the Board of Guardians passed a special resolution in support of the petition, and forwarded it by their clerk direct to the magistrates. Are all these persons to be accused of "malice" against Mr. John Baum? His counsel, Mr. Digby Seymour, availed himself of a technical plea which prevented this petition to the Court, but the fact of its existence was nevertheless brought out during my examination, and was perfectly well known to Mr. Seymour's client, and yet he and his friends are now trying to make it appear that no one opposes his Gardens except a small knot of persons actuated by "malice". Your readers will see on which side the "malice" exists. The general character of Cremorne I must decline to discuss with Mr. John Baum; but I can assure the public that the evidence adduced before the Bench of magistrates was not a tithe of that which might be produced. For example, the desecration of Sunday was not mentioned in court, but the condition of the King's-road is so bad on Sunday nights that I am authorized by one of my neighbours, Mr. Henry Veltch, to state that he cannot return home with his family from church along that road, and is compelled to go out of his way to reach his own door. I beg to point out to Mr. Baum that I have never confessed "that there was no more noise during last season that formerly." I stated the direct contrary and his own counsel strengthened my case when he informed the Bench that 300,000 persons had last season visited Cremorne, whereas only 200,000 has been present in the preceding season. Did not this statement imply that the annoyances of which we complained must, in all probability, have increased in like proportion? 
I am, Sir, your obedient servant, 

Sir, - You have with much consideration and justice admitted into your columns a statement by Mr. Baum of the grievance and monetary loss occasioned by him by the refusal of his licence as lessee of Cremorne-gardens, but as there may be the gain of the one at the expense of the many, it is right that the other side of the question should not be lost sight of. I have known Chelsea for upwards of a quarter of a century, and remember it as an agreeable suburb before the gardens in question had marred the future which the development of its building capabilities promised. Let anyone now view in daylight he neighbourhood of Cremorne and its degraded aspect and the gardens themselves at night (say on the evening of a Derby-day) observing the conduct and demeanour of the visitors, and then judge whether Cremorne has contributed to, or has not powerfully retarded, the material and social well-being of the important parish of Chelsea. I remember, also, Cremorne-gardens when they were a place of innocent amusement and recreation. Mr. Baum does not venture to characterize them now as such, and, apart from the questions of noise and discomfort necessarily incidental to such an establishment, with its fire-works, its Derby-day festivities, and its bal masques, I am not interpreting the feeling of my fellow parishioners too strongly when I describe the Cremorne-gardens as the blight of the quarter in which they are situated. I have seen it said that, granting the noise and discomfort, such an establishment is an inevitable appendage to a metropolis; if so, I say that the ratepayers and residents of Chelsea have borne the incubus long enough, and that other districts and parishes may not take their turn for the assumed well-being of London. Let me suggest Lincoln's-inn-fields or Leicester-square as appropriate, both rivalling Cremorne in point of rusticity. Mr. Baum's pecuniary loss may be heavy, but he should remember that the profits of his predecessors and himself have been the cause of preponderating injury to others, and he must not suppose that the interests of a private speculation can be allowed to outweigh the public good. As to this, however, I have little doubt that if the proprietors of Cremorne (for I believe Mr. Baum is tenant only) would be content to surrender the making of profits at a cost beyond estimate, because not measured in coin, they would find in the application of the ground for erections fit for the pure homes, whether of the merchant or mechanic, ample compensation within a reasonable time for the present sacrifice they are called on to submit to. 
I am, Sir, your obedient servant, 
Chelsea, Oct. 19

the Times, Oct 20 1871

PLEASURE-GARDENS of the German Volksgarten type have yet to be acclimatised in this country. That these rational recreation-grounds would soon become popular among us, if established upon a liberal scale, and with a firm resolve to encourage the family rather than the fast element, will be clear to any one who will journey to the Willesden People's Garden on Whit Monday, and (weather permitting) see croquet, dancing and various other healthy pastimes being indulged in with a propriety, and at the same time a zest, which conclusively prove how keenly such Family Pleasure-Gardens would be appreciated by the public at large, were they to be opened in more accessible parts of the suburbs. To early visitors Cremorne is unobjectionable enough, whatever the Chelsea [?Mabille?] may be when the popping of champagne corks resounds from the al-fresco cabinets looking on the gas-lit promenade, and syrens in silk circulate round the "crystal platform" devoted to automaton (or are they human?) dancers, and the fireworks burst forth in meteor-like showers to the illumination of Chelsea. The recent rains have made the lawns of Cremorne alluringly green, and tinted the fine trees and shrubs till their fresh leaves glisten like so many emeralds. To the natural charms of the gardens the manager has added a host of indoor attractions which should afford abundant amusement for Whit Monday afternoon. Down the river, at North Woolwich Gardens, Mr. William Holland successfully vies with Cremorne. His favourite holiday haunt is as different to Cremorne as the East End is to the West End. The stiffness peculiar to those who trip it on toes anything but light and fantastic at Cremorne (as who should say "we're nigh the marble 'alls of the haristocracy, and so much dance accordingly") is not observable at North Woolwich. Quadrille, polka, schottische, and galop are really danced on Mr. Holland's platforms, albeit some of the gallant waltzers do occasionally rotate a leetle monotonously and betray a curious fondness for thrusting their noses (slightly curly) into their fair partner's cheeks. On a popular night in the season North Woolwich Gardens are brilliant in the extreme. Stepping from the hotel into the gardens, one is dazzled by the glow of coloured lamps and the sparkle of the innumerable gas jets which illuminate the long avenue leading to the centre of attraction, the platform whereon couples twirl and dance to the inspiriting music of a capital band, conducted by Mr. S. Davis, whilst a skilful master of the ceremonies, ever on the alert, preserves strict order. No use to run down to North Woolwich if you would see the can-can a la Valentino (you should have joined the Bessemer trial trip for that: "in the interest of science, my dear"); but North Woolwich is the place for thoroughly hearty and vigorous dancing, and impropriety withal. And the refreshments! Piles of wholesome, substantial sandwiches (no Vauxhall veneer, not a bit of it) and plenty of cheap and homely refreshments, are provided by the experienced "People's Caterer," who must have been the innocent means of promoting many and many a match in his time, thanks to the facilities offered for open and honest courtship at his riverside garden, and who, animated with a sense of poetical justice, maybe, yet further encouraged the matrimonial tie a few years ago by the institution of Baby Shows. Holidaymakers can also "go in" for the dizzying delights of the swing, or pursue their wild career on the merry-go-round, or display their skill as marksmen, or, for a change, watch the agile movements of the corps de ballet, and hear a song or so in the Music Hall, till the final shower of fireworks warns them it is time to catch the train back to town.

Penny Illustrated Paper, 15 May, 1875

AT WESTMINSTER, JOHN ROBERT GORRALL, tailor, of 39, Blantyre-street, Chelsea, was summoned by Mr. John Baum, proprietor of Cremorne-gardens, for wilfully and maliciously publishing a defamatory libel concerning the said John Baum. Mr. John Evans (Evans and Eagles), John-street, conducted the prosecution, and Mr. P.J.Gordon appeared for the defence. Mr. Evans said he had to lay before the magistrate a libel of a very gross, scandalous, and wicked character, from which he read extracts and produced a copy in print, which had been largely circulated in Chelsea. This, no doubt, related to Mr. John Baum, the proprietor of Cremorne-gardens. He would, before he handed the libel to the Bench, submit that it, in fact, charged Mr. Baum with the most heinous offences a man could commit. It charged him with keeping open his premises (apparently respectable) for the purposes of the grossest immorality. It charge him with keeping the place open for the ruin of servant girls. It charged him with inducing clerks and cashiers to rob their employers. It alleged that he induced husbands to attend his gardens and neglect their wives, who became widows, for their husbands committed suicide. It alleged that three sons had been ruined, and the persons who attended there had danced "Satan's hornpipe." Evidence was then given of the defendant having gone to a newspaper office in the King's-road, Chelsea - the Chelsea News - and attempt to get the alleged libel inserted and it appeared that the defendant said he and Mr. Baum were well known, and that Mr. Baum owed him ?3 10s. and he mentioned that he had published something when Mr. Baum was the manager of the Alhambra. The matter was submitted to the editor, who declined to publish it. The alleged libel was then put in. It was in doggerel rhyme and was headed "The Trial of John Fox or Fox John, or the Horrors of Cr*m*rne." Mr. John Baum said he had been proprietor of Cremorne-gardens for seven years at a rental of ?3,000. His licence had been opposed four years up to this year, and then unopposed and granted unanimously. He had not doubt the pamphlet referred to him, but it was quite untrue; the gardens were kept select and the charges were false. In cross-examination the witness said he did not know the prisoner and he owed the prisoner nothing. Mr. Gordon asked further questions as to the truth of certain parts of the pamphlet, and producing a newspaper asked Mr. Baum whether he had ever heard of a person committing suicide through going to the gardens. Mr. Baum said certainly not. Mr. Arnold asked whether the defence would be that the libel was true, and under Lord Campbell's Act, that it was published for the public benefit. Mr. Gordon contented that it was not published with a malicious intent. The defendant certainly had delivered the pamphlet, but not maliciously. He asked whether the magistrate considered it a libel. Mr. Arnold considered that there was a case to go to a jury. After further remarks, Mr. Arnold sent the prisoner for trial to the Old Bailey, required two sureties in ?50 each for his appearance, Mr. Evans pressing for good bail with notice. Prisoner was sent to Newgate in default.

October 28, 1876


(Before the RECORDER)

    John Robert Gornald, a tailor, was indicted for a libel on Mr. Baum, the proprietor of Cremorne Gardens.
    The defendent pleaded "Not guilty."
    Mr. Poland, with whom was Mr. Horace Avory, appeared for the prosecution; Mr. Straight for the defence.
The alleged libel had assumed the shape of a series of doggerel verses attributing to the prosecutor a certain amount of responsibility for the alleged immoralities said to be associated in the public mind with Cremorne Gardens. The production in question was entitled "The Trial of John Fox or Fox John, or the Horrors of Cr-m-rne" - that being a pun upon his Christian name and on the motives assumed by the writer to actuate him in conducting his establishment at Cremorne.
    Edwin Andrew Armour, having been called as a witness for the prosecution, deposed that in October last, witness being then manager of the Chelsea News, publishing twice a week, the defendant brought a pamphlet to the office and asked if it could be inserted in the paper, adding that he and Mr. Baum were well known to each other, that he, the defendant, was the author, and that 10,000 copies had been printed and circulated in Chelsea with the view of closing the gardens. The defendant then left, saying he would call again. Witness in the meanwhile gave the pamphlet to the editor. The defendant called afterwards, and appeared disappointed at the pamphlet not having appeared in the paper. He left seven or eight other copies of it at the office with witness, who afterwards handed them to Mr. Richard Russell, the editor.
Mr. John Baum, being called as a witness, said he was the proprietor of Cremorne Gardens, and had a music, dancing and dramatic licence in connexion with them. He paid a rent of ?3,000 a year and had expended ?12,000 in improving the premises. In 1874 and 1875 there was an opposition to the gardens, and the matter was discussed at the Sessions. In October last no opposition was made to the gardens, and the music and dancing licences were continued as usual. The suspension of his music and dancing licences in 1873 and 1874 caused him very serious loss, and he had to compound with his creditors. During the last season nearly 300,000 persons of all classes, and especially of the middle class, had visited the gardens. Policemen were always in the gardens to maintain order.
    By Mr. STRAIGHT - Husbands and wives, with their daughters and other members of their families, visited the gardens in great numbers. Towards 10 o'clock he had lately increased the price, with the view of discouraging the attendance of women of the town. More people, in his opinion, could be seen at the Crystal Palace after 10 o'clock at night than in his gardens. He had not seen, between 12 and half-past 12 at night, hundreds of women of the town leaving his gardens with men. His licence was once refused by the magistrates. In 1874 his music licence was restored; the gardens were then much more popular, and still more after he got the dancing licence. The Rev. Canon Cromwell had complained of the fireworks - not of the music or dancing. People who behaved themselves properly were invariably admitted to the grounds. He did not know, indeed, that he had power to exclude any one. When the licence was renewed it was at the largest meeting of the magistrates that had assembled in the district.
    Mr. POLAND then reviewed the evidence for the prosecution, and submitted that he had proved his case.
    Mr. STRAIGHT, for the defence, submitted that the alleged libel, if it could be called such, was within the scope of reasonable and proper criticism, and that its object was to purge the town and society, so far as that was practicable, from courses which led to vice and immorality. The defendant's case, continued Mr. Straight, was that the alleged libels were published without malice, and that he took the course he did with the view to put down what was regarded as a pest in the whole neighbourhood. It was, after all, only a miserable piece of doggerel verse, such as the jury might over and again have read in the comic papers. The defendant, moreover, believed at the same time that it was a righteous crusade upon which he had entered; and, that being so, were jury going to fix the stigma of a conviction on him for such doggerel? What his client had done he did in the belief that it was to the public interest, and he did it without the remotest possible ill-feeling towards Mr. Baum. He submitted that this was not a case in which the jury would allow the criminal law to be strained.
    The RECORDER, in summing up the case to the jury, said the question was whether this was a defamatory libel, impugning the character of Mr. Baum, and whether it was written without lawful excuse. If so the defendant would be liable. He had not put on record that it was for the public interest that it should be published, and the jury had to say whether or not it was a defamatory libel and affected the character of the person mentioned in it by the name of John Fox - to determine the question whether the contents of the libel were such as that any person would be led to believe that "John Fox" meant "John Baum." One of the great difficulties in this country was provide reasonable and rational amusement for the people. If licences were granted for admission to places like the one in question, admission to them of persons who might go there for improper purposes could not for an obvious reason be denied; but the question for the jury was, Did the alleged libel amount to that reasonable and proper criticism applicable to such cases? The Recorder had no doubt that places in question was much abused by many persons who went there, but was Mr. Baum accountable for that? He did not understand why the name of Canon Cromwell should have been introduced into the matter, seeing that the objection of Canon Cromwell was not to the dancing, but to the noise of the fireworks and what was called the "bombardment." He thought it was a great pity that the Canon's name should have been introduced into the affair; but however that might be, if the jury thought that the criticism was not fair and reasonable, they would say so by their verdict.
    The jury, in the result, returned a verdict of Guilty; upon which the RECORDER said he would take time to consider what sentence he should pass.

The Times, December 13, 1876


(Before the RECORDER)

    John Robert Gorrall, a journeyman tailor, who was yesterday found guilty of unlawfully and maliciously publishing a false and defamatory libel of and concerning Mr. John Baum, the proprietor of Cremorne-gardens, was brought up for judgment, and was sentenced by the learned RECORDER to one calendar month's imprisonment without hard labour

The Times, December 14, 1876

Cremorne in those days was a delightful resort, with an excellent band, and frequented by the most exalted of men and the most beautiful of women. Here might be seen nightly during his stay in London a late ruling monarch (then Crown Prince) whose moustache the ladies insisted on twirling; here, too, occasionally big rows took place, affairs that originated in some trifle, such as the irritation of an excitable blood on seeing a harmless shop-boy dancing in the ring. King-Harman probably was the principal originator of these encounters. Naturally of an amiable but plethoric disposition, a sight such as the above was like a red rag to a bull, and in no time the fight became universal and furious. Gas was turned off, the ringleaders bolted, pursued by police. A run as far as Chelsea Hospital with a "bobby" in full cry was by no means an uncommon occurrence.
    ... Cremorne on a Derby night baffles description; progress round the dancing platform was almost impossible. The "Hermit's Cave" and the "Fairy Bower" were filled to repletion, and to pass the private boxes was to run the gauntlet of a quartern loaf or dish of cutlets at one's head. Fun fast and furious reigned supreme, during which the smaller fry of shop-boys and hired dancers pirouetted within the ring with their various partners. But as time advanced, and the wine circulated, the advent of detachments of roysterers bespoke a not-distant row.

'One of the Old Brigade' (Donald Shaw), London in the Sixties, 1908 

Victorian London - Publications - History - Views of the Pleasure Gardens of London, by H.A.Rogers, 1896

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Cremorne Gardens


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MR. NICHOLSON, of the "Garrick's Head" Hotel, Bow Street,
And Editor of the
Has the honour to announce to his best Friends, the Public, that he will offer to their patronage a
in the Park and Grounds attached to the above-named
July 31st & August 1st & 2nd.

Amongst the Thousand and One Entertainments provided by MR. NICHOLSON, are a
Embracing the attractive Impersonations of more than ioo Eminent Pantomimic and Comic Actors, Posturers, Dancers, Conjurors, &c., with Graphic Delineations, in Song and Dance, of the far-famed
The Immortal Clown, the Joey Grimaldi of Modern Times.
Will ascend from the Lawn, in his
Taking up with him, and liberating experimentally, an extensive

Will trot seven miles and a half in 30 minutes,
Attired ? la CHIFNEY, in Jockey Cap, Jacket, Top Boots and Spurs, and carrying a Whip in his hand.

The Amusements of each Day to conclude with a
In the Illuminated Gardens.


~ Cremorne House can be reached from any part of the Metropolis by Omnibus, for 6d., and by Steam Boat for 4d.





Monday, July 29th 1861.

~ Be it remembered, MR. JAMES ELLIS was the Original Projector of these delightful Gardens, which now stand confessedly the noblest among all the public places of resort in England, on the Continent, or in any part of the habitable world.

Entertainments on this occasion will have the additional aid of many novelties too numerous to be specified in the programme, but particular attention is called to the following important arrangements. The brilliant, matchless, and unparalleled performances of 


The English Rope-Walker, and Blondin's Challenger, who will go through his extra ordinary and incredible performances on the 
(By the kind permission of E. Macnamara, Esq., of the Royal Pavilion Gardens, North Woolwich).

(By the same kind permission) will appear in her novel Characteristic Entertainment, consisting of New and Original Songs, written expressly for her by W. BROUGH, ESQ.

Al Fresco,
by the Great Cremorne Band, M. RIVIERE, Conductor, will be followed by 
The New Grand Ballet Pantomime, in Six Tableaux, entitled

Performance of MR. HENRY CooKE's celebrated Circus Troupe of

The Celebrated Company of SWISS FEMALE SINGERS.
Grand Equestrian Performances in the Great 

The Italian Salamander, or Fire King.





THE old house by the river had often changed hands, but the new possessor, who was reputed to be a Baron, somewhat puzzled the quiet inhabitants of Chelsea. Great oaks and elms surrounded the grounds, but through the fine iron gates, which were left half open, it was not difficult?as on this summer morning of 1830?to catch a glimpse of the owner, engaged, apparently, in the survey and measurement of his estate. He was a man of over sixty, dressed in a faded military uniform of no known pattern, but which seemed to have done service in some company of sharpshooters in the days of 'Napoleon. In the middle of the lawn was a table, on which a rifle reposed amid a litter of plans and papers. But if the Baron had a gun it was not to shoot you, but one of the targets at the far end of the garden, and his successive bull's-eyes certainly proclaimed the hand of a master. A little intrusion he did not seem to mind, and as you advanced he only offered you a prospectus: 'THE STADIUM, Cremorne House, Chelsea, established for the tuition and practice of skilful and manly exercises generally.' * [* The institution was being formed chiefly in 1831. There is a prospectus dated May 28, 1831.]
    The estate of Cremorne House (or Farm), which was afterwards to be developed into the notorious Cremorne Gardens, had once belonged to the pious Lady Huntingdon, and George Whitfield had prayed and discoursed within the house. Later on, it passed to the Earl of Cremorne, then to his widow, a descendant of William Penn. The last owner was Granville Penn.* [* On the owners of Cremorne House, built circa 1740, see Beaver, Chelsea, p. 156.]  The purchaser of 1830, in whom we are interested, was Charles Random de Berenger, who styled himself Baron de Beaufain, or, more often, the Baron de Berenger. His name seemed French, but he boasted of ancient Prussian lineage, and long before this date had settled in London. He was a skilful draughtsman, an inventor of peculiar guns* [* A double-barrelled gun made according to the Baron's patent for preventing accidents is shown in a table-case in the Chelsea Public Library. It is inscribed, 'Patent Gun Manufactory, Cremorne House, Chelsea.'] and explosives, and believed to be the owner of innumerable patents, which had only brought him to a debtors' prison. In the slimmer of 1815 he had emerged from a term of imprisonment in the King's Bench, for it was he who with consummate skill and audacity had carried through the great Stock Exchange hoax of 1814, in which Lord Cochrane and his friends were so painfully involved.* [* The fullest account of this extraordinary affair is in Atlay's Trial of Lord Cochrane, in which the evidence is carefully brought together and sifted.]  In fifteen years these things were nearly forgotten, and the Baron, who was a sportsman and a dead shot, found himself well supported when he opened his Cremorne Stadium in 1832.
    The subscription was two or three guineas, and the members, under the Baron's tuition, could shoot, box and fence, and practise 'manly exercises generally' in his beautiful grounds. He also established, so to speak, a 'Ladies' Links,' with its clubroom,  'which Gentlemen cannot enter,' unless (such is his quaint proviso) 'by consent of the Ladies occupying such.'  In 1834 George Cruikshank made a design for a ' Chelsea Stadium Shield,' which was quite Homeric in its form, and showed every conceivable kind of sport and exercise, including pole-jumping and golf.? [* Cruikshank also illustrated a 'Stadium' prospectus which was published in the form of an attractive little book in 1834.]
    The Stadium flourished, or, rather, lingered on, till 1843, but only with the adventitious aid of occasional galas and balloon displays that already foreshadowed Cremorne.* [* In 1836 fireworks by Duffell and Darby. In 1837 a music and dancing licence was granted to 'Charles Random.' In 1837 and 1839 John Hampton's balloon ascents and parachute experiments (cf. the Mirror, June 15, 1839). A fete-champetre and Mrs. Graham's balloon, June r6, 1838. ' A fete-champetre to the Foreign Ambassadors,' July 21, 1838. Admission 5s. to 10s. 6d. Fete for the benefit of the Poles, 1840 (Bell's Life, August 23, 1840).
    The transformation of this failing arena of British sport into the full-blooded pleasure-garden of Cremorne was effected by another Baron, though he was such only by the courtesy of Bow Street and Maiden Lane. Renton Nicholson (for that was his name), like most of the managers of Cremorne, was a man who knew a thing or two. He was born early in the century, and his boyhood was spent in the quiet village of Islington, where his two sisters kept a young ladies' seminary. His tastes early led him to the distractions of Sadler's Wells, and at sixteen,*  [* See note by Cecil Howard and Clement Scott in Blanchard's Life. Some details are differently given by Bosse, Dict. Nat. Biog., art. ' Nicholson.' But I am not attempting a critical biography of this worthy.] when he became a pawnbroker's assistant in Shadwell, he began to acquire his remarkable knowledge of the 'flash' life of London in all its grades. About 1830 he opened a jeweller's shop in the West End, which supplied the 'swells' of the day and their female friends, and by this time his London acquaintanceships were extensive and peculiar, consisting, as we are told, of shady journalists, players, tavern vocalists, and rooks of all shades from the welsher to the skittle sharp. He knew the taste of his public, and in 1837 began to issue the scurrilous journal called The Town, for which Dr. Maginn and other lively contributors used to write. After a minor experience of gambling-houses and doubtful premises of various kinds, he became (in 1841) proprietor of the Garrick's Head in Bow Street, and here, in a room holding about 300 people, and fitted up like a law-court, he presided?as Lord Chief Baron Nicholson?over the judge and jury trials that were so attractive to the Londoner of the forties and fifties. The causes that came before this tribunal were chiefly matrimonial?the crim. con. cases of the time?and were such that their obscenity and heartlessness (mitigated, it is true, by flashes of wit) often made the most hardened sinner shudder. Nicholson presided over similar trials at those famous haunts, the Coal Hole and the Cyder Cellars, till his death in r86r. He was impudent in manner, obese and sensual in appearance, yet a man of real talent and geniality, gone hopelessly upon the wrong track. His apologists describe him as a sort of nineteenth-century Robin Hood, who plucked the aristocratic pigeon, but was 'the soul of good nature' to the poor Bohemian.* [* A portrait of Nicholson by James Ward, formerly hanging at the old Judge and Jury, Leicester Square, was sold at Puttick's on February 7, 1899.]
    His connexion with Cremorne was brief, and his capital inadequate. In 1843 he replaced the timid prospectus of De Berenger by flaming bills announcing a 'Thousand Guineas Fete,' which during three days (July 31, August 1 and 2), at one shilling admission, provided, among other diversions, a mock tournament, a pony-race, a performance by Tom Matthews the clown, and a pas de deux by T. Ireland and Fanny Matthews.
    In 1845 De Berenger died, and this year Littlejohn (the refreshment caterer to the gardens) and Tom Matthews managed the place between them. Charles Green, the balloonist, was called in, and began that long series of Cremorne ascents which a spice of eccentricity and danger always rendered popular. For example, in September, Green went up with a lady and a leopard?the latter a magnificent animal, so perfectly subdued in the presence of his mistress or her 'livery servant,' as to lay (according to the bill) at her feet or crouch in her lap at command. In August the balloon party consisted of Green, Lord George Beresford, and Tom Matthews, who preluded the ascent by singing his ' Hot Codlings.' The balloon went up at seven, and, after visiting the General Post Office and passing over Stamford Hill in perilous proximity to the New River Reservoir, landed its occupants, after a voyage of two hours, cold and shivering, on a marsh at Tottenham.
    In 1846 (or more probably a few years later) Cremorne was purchased by Thomas Bartlett Simpson, who guided its destinies till the beginning of the sixties.* [* It is sometimes stated that Simpson bought the property in 1846, and put in James Ellis to act as manager. But other accounts speak of Ellis as the real lessee, 1846-1849, and this seems to be correct, because, when Ellis became bankrupt in 1849, execution for ?8,000 was levied upon Cremorne. Ellis's unsecured debts amounted to over ?16,000, of which ?250 was due to a confiding Cremorne waiter. The rent of the gardens had been ?582 per annum, and there was an unpaid gas-bill for ?665. Simpson was certainly proprietor from 1850 onwards to 1861.] Simpson had been head-waiter at the Albion, a well-known theatrical tavern that stood opposite Drury Lane Theatre in Russell Street, and was afterwards its lessee. He was a shrewd man of business, and, according to George Augustus Sala, 'a kindly and generous gentleman.' Sala, who knew the gardens well from about 1850, tells us that, unlike the Vauxhall of the time, Cremorne was a real pleasaunce surrounded by magnificent trees, with well-kept lawns and lovely flowers, and melodious singing-birds. Nothing was pleasanter in the summer-time than to saunter in at midday or in the early afternoon (for the gardens were not properly open till three or five), and find Mr. Simpson's daughters there with their work-baskets--to say nothing of the pretty barmaids employed by the kindly and generous gentleman, who were busy, in their cotton frocks, arranging the bars, and paying, it is implied, no ordinary attention to Mr. G. A. Sala.
    Five thousand pounds was spent in preparing for the opening of 1846, and a banqueting-hall and theatre were constructed, as well as some 'delightful lavender bowers' for the accommodation of the 1,5oo persons who were likely to need a bowery seclusion. The gardens were rapidly getting into shape, and we can now survey them almost as they appeared till their close in 1877.
    They were about twelve acres, to which must be added, from 1850, the grounds of Ashburnham House on the west, in which flower-shows and other exhibitions were held. Cremorne lay between the river and the King's Road, Chelsea. The grand entrance was in the King's Road, where a big star illuminated the pay-box. On a summer evening, if you did not mind the slow progress of the threepenny steamer from the City to Cremorne Pier, you entered by the river gate at the south-east corner of the gardens. The grounds were well lit, but on entering there was not that sudden blaze of light that was the visitor's great sensation when he came through the dark pay-entrance into the garden of Vauxhall. The most conspicuous feature was the orchestra to the southwest of the gardens?a ' monster pagoda,' brilliantly lighted with hundreds of coloured lamps, and surrounded by a circular platform, prepared, it is said, to accommodate 4,000 dancers. Here the dancing took place from 8.30 till 11 or later. There was always a dignified master of the ceremonies (in 1846 Flexmore the pantomimist), but little introduction was required in that easygoing place. There was a good band of fifty, for some years under Laurent, of the Adelaide Gallery Casino in the Strand.* [* In 1850 under Borini; in 1851 under Isaacson, of the Grecian Theatre. In 1860, Marriott's band.]  In the early part of the evening?at any rate, in the seventies?the dancing was left to the shop-girls and their friends: the gilded youth and the 'smart' female set of Cremorne began their waltzing later on, after the fireworks.
    The gardens had a tendency to become congested with side-shows, flaring stalls and shooting-galleries, too much suggesting a fair ; but, unlike Earl's Court and the later Vauxhall, Cremorne remained a garden. There was still the encircling fringe of ancient trees, and an avenue on the west stretching from north to south; on the east side was the broad lawn from which the balloon ascents took place.
    Cremorne had the usual pleasure-garden equipment of fountains and statuary; refreshment-bars, boxes, and tables were placed at every coign of vantage, though the right place to go was the Cremorne House (or Hotel) dining-room, or the upper and lower tiers of supper-boxes in the south and south-western comer. Here there was a half-crown supper, and, if you aspired no higher, the Cremorne sherry, that fine old wine, 'free from acidity, and highly recommended to invalids.' In the centre of the grounds was an American bowling-saloon, which made its appearance, together with American drinks, in '48 or '49.
    On the west side was the circus; the theatre was in the south of the garden. A smaller theatre, north of the lawn, was appropriated to a troupe of marionettes, introduced by Simpson in 1852. They were great favourites of the public and of the proprietor, who liked  'the little beggars who never came to the treasury on Saturday.' Besides this, there was a maze and (as Vauxhall had its hermit) a gipsy's tent and a 'double-sighted youth.' The admission to the gardens was one shilling, and the season tickets cost one guinea or two guineas.
    Simpson's management (i.e., till 1861) provided some special diversions, of which the most curious, perhaps, was an Aquatic Tournament or Naval Fete (1851). About eleven at night a fortress (either St. Jean d'Acre or Gibraltar) on. the river esplanade was vigorously attacked by a squadron consisting of fourteen steamers of the Citizen Company (whose 'entire fleet' was embarked in the enterprise); seconded by the hull of a retired Citizen steamer, which was laden with combustibles. To this attack the land battery?its necessary smoke, fire, and noise supplied by Mortram and Duffell, the Cremorne fireworkers?made a suitable reply, and eventually the old hull was blown to pieces amid the cheers of the spectators.
    The Italian Salamander, 'Cristoforo Buono Core,' was, later on, in 1858, another attraction of a fiery kind. Like Chabert, the more famous Salamander of 1826,* [* At White Conduit House. See Wroth, London Pleasure-Gardens of the Eighteenth Century, p. 10.] this man entered a burning furnace with apparent unconcern, and (as he informed an inquisitive spectator) ' titt as fell as he cott,' though the performance made him very ' dursty.'
    In contrast to these popular shows, the manager on Friday, July 9, 1858, gave an  'Aristocratic Fete,' arranged by a committee of gentlemen assisted by lady patronesses, who are said to have been very chary of issuing tickets to other ladies whom the gentlemen proposed to invite. But the invitations mattered little, for the 9th turned out to be one of the wettest days of an English July, and the aristocratic ambitions of Cremorne were damped down for ever* [* Among the miscellaneous amusements of this period are : 1849, circus from Astley's ; storming of Mooltan, military and pyrotechnic spectacle. 1850, dahlia show, 1851, Franconi's circus; the Bosjesmans, the bushmen of South Africa.]
    In the balloon ascents of Cremorne (as already remarked) there was often a dangerous element, usually a parachute descent. Without dwelling on the ascents of balloonists like Lieutenant Gale and the celebrated Charles Green, who made his three hundredth and sixty-fifth voyage (of course including his ascents at Vauxhall and many other places) on August 2, 1847. we can notice only the Bouthellier, Poitevin, and Latour performances.
    In August, 1852,* [* Theatrical Journal, 1852, p 260] a French aeronaut named Bouthellier ascended on a trapeze attached to the car of a balloon, and when the balloon was at a respectable height began to twist himself round ' almost in a knot,' then to untie himself, and finally to suspend his body as he hung, first by his neck, then by his heels. The reporter tells us that this was done 'to the evident mingled alarm and pleasure of the spectators,' and the whole thing was considered to 'redound greatly to the credit ' of Mr. Simpson.
    In September of the same year (1852), Madame Poitevin, 'in the character of Europa,' ascended from Cremorne on the back of a heifer which was attached to her balloon. This was nothing new to her or to the sight-seers of Paris, where she and her husband had made hundreds of ascents on the backs of horses, and even 'a great many ascents with a bull.' A pony ascent had been made by Green at Vauxhall in 1850,* [*  London Pleasure-Gardens. p. 321]  but the English magistrates drew the line at a heifer, and Simpson and his Europa were fined at the Ilford Sessions on September 7. 1852, for cruelty to animals.
    This wretched exhibition was not, of course, repeated, but risky parachute feats were by no means to be abandoned. On June 27, 1854, at about seven o'clock, Henri Latour, a balloonist of the age of fifty, went up lashed to a parachute which was formed like a horse, and suspended from W. H. Adams's balloon. As the balloon was rising an attempt was made (by means of a trigger-iron) to release the parachute, but it somehow got twisted, and its two guiding 'wings' did not expand. The descent of the balloon continued, and in the Tottenham marshes, which it had now rapidly reached, struck the earth, and the unhappy Latour was dragged over the ground and through the trees, and died a few days after of his injuries.* [* Coxwell, My Life, second series, p. 13 f.; Bosse, Biog. Dict., s.v. Latour]
    The programme of the theatre and the concert-room was less exciting. The Cremorne theatricals never aimed much higher than the farce and the vaudeville, but there were some good ballets, in which (circa 1847-1851) the Deulins took part. Under Simpson some of the old favourite comic singers were engaged?Sam Cowell in 1846, Robert Glindon in 1847 and 1850.* [* Creole choristers under Cave and Mackney in 1846. Miss Love also sang in 1846. In 1851 Lambert Edwards became popular as a comic singer. He published a Cremorne Song-Book, which, both for matter and metre, is trying reading.]  Herr Von Joel, who appeared in 1848, was ' a peculiar old German'* [* Stuart and Park, Variety Stage, p. 20 f. ] who had made a sensation?which became a bore?at Vauxhall Gardens. His business was to appear at unexpected moments and in unsuspected parts of the gardens, to yodel Swiss ditties, and to give imitations, on his walking-stick, of birds and feathered fowl. In his later days he was a familiar figure at Evans's Supper-Rooms, where he used to retail dubious cigars, and dispose of tickets for benefits which never carne off. J. W. Sharp (' Jack Sharp'), who sang at Cremorne in 1850, was at one time the rage of the town, and his comic songs were in demand at Vauxhall and at such places as Evans's and the Mogul in Drury Lane. But he took to dissipated ways, lost his engagements, and died in the Dover Workhouse at the age of thirty-eight.* [* Ibid, p.18 f.]
    Simpson's varied enterprises resulted in a substantial profit, even if he did not make (as he told the impecunious Baron Nicholson) the sum of ?100,000 during his first years at Cremorne. His patrons were people of all ranks, and of varying degrees of virtue. But Cremorne was never able  to parade in the newspapers that array of fashionable and distinguished personages who ' last night ' visited Vauxhall. It was not, for one thing, a place that ladies (in the strict sense of the word) were in the habit of visiting, unless, perhaps (as Mr. Sala puts it) 'in disguise and on the sly,' or, at any rate, under the safe conduct of a husband or brother. Ladies of some sort were, ho doubt, considerably in evidence there, though we are not to think of Cremorne as so entirely given over to ' drink, dancing, and devilry ' as its sterner critics declared. If it was a place for the man about town, it also attracted a number of worthy citizens and country cousins who went there for an evening's pleasure with their wives and daughters, and were ' not particular.' A livelier element was imported by the medical students?a high-spirited race made responsible in those days for the sins of many non-medical youngsters?by Oxonians and Cantabs, by temporarily irresponsible clerks and shopmen, and ' flash ' personages of various kinds.
    In 1857 the Chelsea Vestry had presented the first of many annual petitions against the renewal of the licence, setting forth the inconvenience of the late hours of Cremorne, the immoral character of its female frequenters, and its detrimental influence generally on the morals (and house property) of the neighbourhood. Such petitions, like the annual protests against old Bartholomew Fair, were a long time in taking effect, but, as Cremorne grew older, the rowdy and wanton element certainly increased, and finally, as we shall see, not undeservedly brought about its downfall. In spite of all this, we know of more than one respected paterfamilias who has still somewhere a Cremorne programme or two, the relic of some pleasant and doubtless romantic evening in the sixties or seventies, when he imagined himself to be seeing something?if not too much?of ' real life ' in London. In the sixties some charming little folding programmes were issued, printed in colour, and presenting on every page a view of Cremorne. Portions of the programme were ingeniously cut out, so that on the front page there was a view up the long walk, flanked by its trees and lamp-bearing goddesses, right to the great fountain. Another page depicted the supper-table spread with its choice viands and 'rarest vintages,' and on another was a view of the circus, the supper-boxes, and the promenade enlivened by a peripatetic band?all for a shilling admission, and the patron, Her Majesty the Queen.* [*The programmes in the seventies were generally of virginal white, with embossed edges. They were scented by Rimmell, and some were printed in colours, with views of the gardens. They were of the ordinary theatre-programme shape.]
    Time has cast a veil over the orgiastic features of Cremorne, and though this is just as well, some of its old frequenters may cherish the feeling that there are no ' intrepid aeronauts ' now, no fireworks like Duffell's, no gaily-lighted tiers of supper-boxes, and no waltzing on circular platforms with beauteous, if little known, damsels.
    Simpson retired in 1861* [* He died in 1873] and on July 30 there was a new manager, Edward Tyrrell Smith.* [* Boase's Biog. Dict., s.v. ; Blanchard's Life, ii., p. 472 f; Sala in Daily Telegraph. August 7, 1894; Licensed Victuallers' Gazelle. March 22, 1889.] He has been denied, somehow, a place in the great Dictionary of National Biography, but one cannot turn over a programme of London amusements in the fifties or sixties without encountering the name of E. T. Smith?an interesting man, of boundless energy and resource, and a lucky, if wayward, speculator, who was everything by turns and nothing long. He was the son of Admiral E. T. Smith, but his aspirations were not lofty, for he began life?he was born in 1804?as a Robin Redbreast, one of the old red-waistcoated Bow Street runners. When the new police force was established Smith was too young for superannuation, so he was made an inspector. But he soon tired of this, and after trying his hand as a sheriff's bailiff or auctioneer, went into the wine trade. In 1850 we find him landlord of a tavern in Red Lion Street, Holborn, attracting custom by dressing his barmaids in bloomer costume. From about this date his speculative genius turned to the management of London theatres. He took the Marylebone, then Drury Lane, where he made quite a lengthy stay, and even plunged into opera at Her Majesty's. One of his eccentricities was to present silver snuff-boxes and watches to his master-carpenters and property-men, each presentation taking place on the stage, accompanied by an appropriate speech. He was lessee of the Lyceum, of the Surrey, of Astley's (when Ada Menken appeared as Mazeppa), and he took Highbury Barn for one season. He also founded the Alhambra in Leicester Square, making short work, for his purpose, of its instructive predecessor, the Panopticon.
    He effected another transformation by turning Crock-ford's gaming-house into the Wellington Restaurant, and opened a second restaurant?but this was a dismal failure?in the vaults of the Royal Exchange. He further made a handsome profit out of a French bonnet-shop which he established at Brighton, under the alluring name of Clementine. He financed Baron Nicholson at the Coal Hole, became proprietor of the Sunday Times, and finally settled down in the metal trade. If Smith had little money of his own, he had a marvellous talent for extracting it from others, for, with some managerial humbug in his doings, he was a good-natured man, with plenty of friends who believed in his speculative flair. One of his early devices was ingenious. He hired from a money-lender at the rate of ?1 a day a ?1,000 banknote, which he always carried in his pocket?not to spend, but to deposit when he made a purchase, and to inspire confidence generally. He retired from Cremorne in 1869, and managed just to outlive the gardens, for he died in 1877, on November 26.
    Smith began his enterprise with a startling novelty?a 'female Blondin' who undertook to cross the Thames. Late on an August afternoon of 1861 thousands of spectators thronged the river banks and the esplanade of Cremorne, or waited in small boats to see this new heroine of Niagara. A tight rope was stretched across the river at a height varying from 5o to too feet, and at last the female Blondin appeared. She was a delicate-looking little woman, who called herself Madame Genvieve. Her real name was Selina Young. and she was the granddaughter of James Bishop the showman. One has seen the male Blondin making a careful inspection of his guy-lines and supports before starting on his perilous course. His female imitator began her progress at once. When she had traversed about two-thirds of the distance, she paused to rest on the narrow timber ledge of one of the main supports of the rope. The rest was a long one, and it was soon felt that something was wrong when the attendants were seen tightening the remaining boo or boo feet of rope. At last, after this trying pause ?she had started three-quarters of an hour earlier, and it was now growing dusk and chilly?she moved a few feet forward ; then she halted, and then moved again. But the rope was now swaying like a garden swing, for the guy-lines had been cut?apparently by some scoundrel who wanted the leaden weights. Attempts were being made to throw cords over the rope, when suddenly she let go her balance-pole. It was a terrible moment, but with infinite pluck and presence of mind the female Blondin caught the rope with both hands, then a couple of weights suspended from it, and next the cords by which that part of the rope was steadied. Descending by the grasp of a three-quarter-inch cord, she reached a boat, and was saved.* [* G. L. Banks, Blondin (1862), p. 85.] But the warning was disregarded, and the very next year the female Blondin was performing at Highbury Barn. Here she fell from a rope which was damp and slippery, and was made a cripple for life.* [* A married woman named Powell, who called herself 'Madame Geneive (sic), the Female Blondin,' was killed by falling from the rope on July 20, 1863, at Aston Park, Birmingham. The occasion was a Forester's fete, and she was paid ?15. The incident was a particularly shocking one, for the rope is said to have been old and decayed, and the poor woman, for certain reasons, ought to have been anywhere at the time rather than on the tight-rope.]
    Another sensation, though void of peril, of Smith's management was the Cremorne tournament, which began on Wednesday, July 8, 1863,* [* Under Ellis in 1849 there bad been a less elaborate 'Eglinton Tournament' managed by Batty, of Astley's.] and lasted two or three days. It was suggested by the famous Eglinton tournament of August, 1839, which is said to have cost the Earl of Eglinton ?80,000. The Cremorne imitation was held, not in the park or tilt-yard of a castle, but in the large pavilion of the Ashburnham grounds, which was gay with flags and garlands and the escutcheons of medieval heroes. The velvet and the gold lace may have been less costly, but the effect was equally impressive. At Eglinton Castle the Queen of Beauty was the lovely Lady Seymour ; the Marquis of Waterford was one of the knights, and Prince Louis Napoleon one of the squires. The knights and squires of Cremorne came chiefly from the theatre and the circus, and the pages were ladies described by a journalist as 'no strangers to the choreographic stage.' The Queen of Beauty was Madame Caroline, a circus-rider well known at Vauxhall and elsewhere, who is believed to have resided in the New Cut.
    The Scottish tournament was a fiasco, and was carried out under the cover of umbrellas and great-coats in the intervals of drenching rain which lasted for three days. The opening day at Cremorne was bright and sunny, and the procession of 300 made its entrance in imposing style : heralds in their gaudy tabards, yeomen in Lincoln green, men-at-arms in glittering armour?a whole Ivanhoe in motion. The tournament King, the Queen of Beauty, and their suite, were escorted to a tapestried tribune, and their gorgeous array contrasted strangely with the tall-hatted and coal-scuttle-bonneted spectators who occupied the seats on every side. The heralds made the proclamation, and the jousting began. First, there were trials of skill between knights of different countries all in armour, and mounted on chargers with emblazoned housings. Some sports, like tilting at the ring and the quintain, followed, and then came the grand melee between the two companies of knights. Finally, one of the combatants was unhorsed?pro forma?and his antagonist received the prize of valour from the Queen of Beauty.
    Bands of music and facetious clowns, or rather ' jesters,' enlivened the proceedings, which were at first exciting and a fine spectacle, though they tended to grow monotonous.* [* A good account in Illustrated London News for July 18, 1863, apparently by Sala; also Illustrated Times of same date. In 186. Smith gave a monster Belgian fete to the members of the Garde civique of Belgium. On the afternoon of July s., 1866, there was a pretty juvenile fete, during which a number of miniature balloons were sent up to please the children.]
    Among the minor entertainments of Smith's management was the exhibition, in 1867, of Natator, the man-frog. This human frog was a young man of twenty, who was to be seen through the plate-glass front of a huge tank filled with 6 feet of water. He imitated the motions of fish, stood on his head, ate a sponge-cake, or smoked a pipe. A more rational exhibition was the appearance of the Beckwith family in 1869.* [* Some other entertainments during Smith's management were: 1861, the graceful gymnast Leotard on five trapezes, in the Ashburnham Hall. March, 1863, dog-show in the Ashburnham Hall. This hall was also used for trotting matches and for wrestling and sports on Good Friday, 1865. 1868, Madame Pereira, gymnast.]
    In his last year (1869) Smith exhibited the French 'captive balloon' in the Ashburnham grounds. This balloon was made of linen and india-rubber, and held thirty people. It was attached by a strong rope worked by an engine of 200 horse-power, and could be let out, so as to soar 'in an aerial voyage over London,'  2,000 feet. The charge for an ascent was ten shillings, but a free admission was granted to a female inmate of the Fulham Workhouse, who chose to celebrate her hundredth birthday by a trip in the balloon, attended by the matron. It was fortunately not on this occasion that the captive balloon, after the manner of its kind, escaped.* [* G. Bryan, Chelsea (1869), p. 169; Walford, Old and New London, v. 86. In July, 1864, Eugene Godard's huge Montgolfier balloon ascended from Cremorne, and came down in the East Greenwich marshes. It was heated by air, there being in the centre of the car
a stove filled with rye-straw compressed into blocks. An earlier London ascent of a Montgolfier balloon took place at the Surrey Zoological Gardens (see infra). For Godard's balloon, see Illustrated London News for July 30, 1864; Coxwell, My Life, second series, p. 207 f., with picture of the balloon. In August, 1865. Delamarne's sailing balloon, L'Esperance, was shown. It was about 200 feet long, and had screw propellers and a rudder set in motion by machinery.]
    John Baum, who became lessee in 1870, had not the character of his predecessors, nor a hand strong enough to restrain the vagaries of his more troublesome clients. But he was by no means incapable as an entertainment manager, and when the gardens were opened they were found to be much improved, and a new theatre was built. He developed the stage amusements, and produced some good ballets, such as Giselle, in 1870. In 1875 there was a comic ballet by the Lauri family, and Offenbach's Rose of Auvergne, with a ballet of roe, was given. Auber's Fra Diavolo was presented before a Bank Holiday audience in 1877.* [* Burnand's burlesque, Black-eyed Susan, was one of the entertainments under Baum.]  The orchestra was a capable one under Jules Riviere. In 1872 the licence for dancing, the great attraction of Cremorne, was refused, but in 1874 the waltzing on the ' crystal platform ' was again as lively as ever.
    The one great, but melancholy, sensation of Baum's management was the episode of  'Monsieur de Groof, the flying man.' Vincent de Groof was a Belgian who had constructed a flying machine on which he made some ascents with doubtful success in his native land. He came to England in 1874, and with some difficulty persuaded Baum to let him go through his dangerous performance at Cremorne. Certainly the flying man made a good advertisement, and on the evening of June 29, 1874, there was a great concourse in the gardens. The machine was suspended by a rope, 30 feet long, from the car of Simmons's 'Czar' balloon, and while the tedious process of inflation was going on the spectators had time to inspect a flying apparatus strange and wonderful. It was constructed of cane and waterproof silk, and was made in imitation of the bat's wing and peacock's tail.' Evidently De Groof, like his inventive predecessor in Rasselas, had considered the structure of all volant animals, and found 'the folding continuity of the bat's wing most easily accommodated to the human form.' His wings were 37 feet long from tip to tip, and his tail 18 feet long. In the centre was fixed an upright wooden stand about 12 feet high, in which De Groof placed himself, working the wings and tail by means of three levers. He ascended from Cremorne about eight, and as the balloon rose seemed like a big bird perched in his net framework. He was meant to descend in the gardens, but the wind carried the balloon away to Brandon in Essex, where he made a perilous descent from the balloon, almost unseen, but apparently without injury. The Cremorne habitue felt that he was cheated of a sight, and on July 9 the experiment had to be repeated. At about half-past seven the machine was once more taken up by Simmons's balloon, and this time there was no changing of the venue. The balloon soared to a great height, but for fully half an hour continued to hover over the gardens. Then the wind bore it rapidly away in the direction of St. Luke's Church, Chelsea, till the machine was perilously near the church tower. No one quite knew what happened at this moment. Simmons seems to have called out, 'I must cut you loose,' and De Groof to have responded 'Yes, and I can fall in the churchyard.' Suddenly the rope was severed, the machine, without resistance to the air, was seen to collapse, and wind round and round in its descent, till it fell with a heavy thud near the kerbstone in Robert Street.* [* Now Sydney Street] A great crowd had collected, and De Groof was picked up in a terrible state, and taken into the Chelsea Infirmary to die. The fate of the balloon was an anti-climax: it was carried away to Springfield in Essex, where it came down on the Great Eastern railway-line after a narrow escape from a passing train. The whole affair caused great excitement in London, and the details were copied into papers like the Indian Mirror. A sheet-ballad sold in the Chelsea streets drew the obvious morals, and appealed to the tender-hearted passer-by:

'You feeling hearts, list to my story,
It is a most heartrending tale;
And when the facts are laid before you
To drop a tear you cannot fail'*

[* Entertainments under Baum: Simmons's balloon ascent, June 29, 1874; Audrian the dog-faced man, and his son, from a Russian forest, 1874; Boisset family, gymnasts, 1874; De Vere, conjuror, 1877 ; Doughty's performing dogs, 1877.]

But we are nearing the last days of Cremorne. At no period could the gardens be described as a place of quiet family resort, and under Smith in the sixties we begin to hear of rows and cases in the police courts. In 1863, for instance, there was a ' riot ' on the night of the Oaks day, and a number of men, apparently of decent position, stormed and wrecked one of the bars. Six of them were caught, and fined from Ј20 to {,So apiece. A scene of this kind was partly the fault of the manager, who had advertised his gardens as just the pleasure resort for a gentleman returning from the races. One (undated) story of a Cremorne fracas, told by G. A. Sala, is rather amusing, and worth repeating nearly in his words. 'A gallant Captain and M.P.,' who was engaged to a young lady of good position, began to repent of his promise. To get out of it honourably he could devise no better plan than to disgrace himself at Cremorne. One night, accordingly, he repaired to the gardens 'with a few chosen boon companions,' who, like himself, imbibed freely of the rare vintages in the supper-rooms. The moment came when he was in a mood 'to break things,' and his first onslaught was on the glasses and decanters of a refreshment counter. Then he charged the dancing platform, frightened the dancers, and scattered the musicians 'like blossoms before a March blast.' They tried to stop him, but he put the waiters hors de combat, and for some time made short work of the police. The next morning the gallant Captain and M.P. found himself, at the police court, Westminster, provided with a sentence of fourteen days. From his dungeon-cell in Holloway he wrote an abject letter to his impending father-in-law, deploring the degradation he had brought on himself and his friends, and relinquishing for ever all claims on the beloved daughter. Next day the governor of the prison handed him a letter from the same father-in-law, which ran as follows : 'DEAR JIM,?Sorry to hear you have got yourself into such a scrape. Never mind ; boys will be boys Katie and I will call for you in an open carriage on Monday week, and the marriage will take place on the following morning at St. James's, Piccadilly.'
    These things were relatively trifles, and it was really not till the seventies?under Baum?that Cremorne became an impossible place. The Westminster Police Court was now hardly ever without its drunk or disorderly case from the gardens. Even the normal evenings at Cremorne were fairly fertile in incident, but a big crop followed the abnormal evenings?the night of some great event, the Derby, the Oaks, the return of the Prince from India, or?a new institution?the Bank Holiday. At such times extra late hours were always granted, and they were those occasions when champagne is said to ' flow like water.' It was half-past ten, half-past eleven, twelve, and still the theatres and music-halls were sending down fresh visitors, and the cabs came rattling down the King's high road. The bars and braces were so many hives of drinking mortals?men who had lost and men who had won, and the drinking quickly led to an almost indiscriminate pugnacity. The wretched waiters, even, were assaulted, though the pugilist thought he amply atoned by a money payment 'on the spot.'
    The efforts of the half-hearted Chelsea Vestry of 1857 were renewed with more vigour (and with more justification) from 1870 onwards, and they had a valuable ally in Canon Cromwell, the principal of St. Mark's Training College, which stood almost opposite the entrance of Cremorne. One of the many unedifying illustrated papers of the seventies, the Day's Doings, portrays the Canon in cap and gown ejecting two flashily dresied females from the gardens, and he and his docile students for the next six years are said to have given Mr. Baum a very rough time. This opposition was not popular, and on one 5th of November the worthy Canon was paraded on a coster's barrow in front of Cremorne as a guy. The comic papers sneered at the petitions 'signed by all the babies and children under ten,' and issued a revised set of Cremorne Regulations. All ladies were henceforward to have certificates of respectability from the Board of Guardians, though members of the London School Board were to be admitted free. No fireworks, dancing, smoking, laughing, or flirting were allowed, but by an order from the Vestry you could obtain a coffee cobler or a cocoa cocktail. Ridicule is sometimes a legitimate weapon against the Puritan, but in this case Canon Cromwell and the Vestry were hardly in the wrong.
    The end came rather suddenly and in a curious way. Towards the close of 18.76 there was distributed in Chelsea a pamphlet in verse, entitled The Trial of John Fox, or Fox John, or the Horrors of Cremorne. It was signed 'A. B. Chelsea,' but the author was soon discovered to be a Mr. Alfred Brandon, a worthy and evidently courageous man, who had long been known as minister of the Chelsea Baptist Chapel. By trade Mr. Brandon was a tailor, and no doubt his coats were better than his poetry, which is, indeed, sad doggerel. This pamphlet was an indictment of Cremorne as the nursery of every kind of vice,' and of its callous money-grubbing manager John Fox. The jury decide against John Fox :

'Our verdict this : the Fox has had his day.
Destroy his covert?let him run away.'

Mr. Baum is said to have been 'stung by these cutting remarks '?' remarks ' which, whether they stung or cut, constituted, from the legal point of view, a highly defamatory libel. He doubtless went unwillingly into court, but in May, 1877, the libel action of Baum v. Brandon was heard in the Queen's Bench before Sir Henry Hawkins. Brandon pleaded, in the familiar way, first, that he had intended no allusion to Baum, and, secondly, that he had alluded to Baum, but that what he said was true, and, moreover, not malicious. In court it was averred by Baum that Cremorne was most respectably conducted, and that the houses in the neighbourhood were most respectable. Brandon, to justify the libel, called various witnesses, among whom were a Cremorne waiter and a woman from a reformatory, who both traced their downfall to the gardens. The jury found for Baum, but awarded him a farthing damages, and each side had to pay its own costs.
    At this time Baum was greatly in debt, and for the next few months was too ill to superintend his gardens personally. None the less preparations were made for the licensing day in October. Petitions were prepared, and counsel on both sides were engaged. October 5, 1877, arrived, and the Cremorne case was called on. To the astonishment of London, Baum's counsel quietly announced that the lessee had withdrawn his application, and the licence of Cremorne Gardens lapsed for ever.
    John Baum here vanishes from the scene, though we seem to catch a glimpse of him it the end of the eighties as a waiter at a North London tavern, discoursing freely to sympathetic customers on the great days when he owned Cremorne.
    The owner of the land, Mrs. Simpson, lost no time in letting it in building plots, and most of the present rows of small houses made their appearance in the next year or two. As early as 1880 Cremorne Gardens is described as 'already the lawful prey of the Walfords and Cunninghams,' and brought within ' the range of practical antiquaries.'* [* Percy Fitzgerald in Gentleman's Magazine, 1880, 'Cremorne to Westminster.']  But the gardens had first to be cleared, and the Cremorne sale took place on April 8, 1878, and the following days. The buyers and sightseers who attended the auction found the place already in a neglected state?the grass uncut, and the canvas coverings and panoramic views rent and blown about by the winds of the last six months. The sale began with the hotel and the effects of the sitting-rooms on the first floor known as the Gem, the Pearl, the Rose, and the Star. Then the public supper-room on the ground-floor was taken in hand. There was a great stock of wine and spirits? 600 dozens?and a unique opportunity for buying claret cheap. The grand ballroom with theatre combined, the theatre royal, and the marionette theatre, were next disposed of, and the circular dancing platform, about 360 feet in circumference, was sold in thirty-two sections, including the pagoda orchestra.
    The elms and poplars and all the growing timber were then offered, besides numerous portable bay-trees in boxes and about 20,000 greenhouse plants. The statuary, over and above the Cupids and Venuses and the 'females supporting gas-burners,' included some classic masterpieces like the Laocoon and the Dying Gladiator. With the disposal of the large reflecting stars, ' the stalactite rustic enclosure of the Gypsey's Cave,' and a couple of balloons, Cremorne was completely stripped.
    A walk round Cremorne at the present day is a little depressing, though less so than a visit to the squalid sites of Vauxhall and the Surrey Zoo. The western boundary of the gardens is, approximately, the present Ashburnham Road (or Uverdale Road, if we include the Ashburnham annexe of Cremorne). The eastern boundary was Cremorne Lane, now mainly represented by Dartrey Street. The southern limit is the present Lots Road, and a public-house, the Cremorne Arms, is close to the former Cremorne Pier and the river entrance. The Thames front is now covered with wharves and tall buildings. The north boundary is still the King's Road, the entrance being where the southern continuation of Edith Grove begins. Stadium Street, Ashburnham Road, Cremorne Road, and the Cremorne Arms, recall the varying fortunes of the place.
    In spite of the builders, a small portion of the gardens has always remained. Forming a pleasant fringe to the King's Road is the nursery-ground of Messrs. Wimsett and Son, which stretches from Ashburnharn Road to the part of Edith Grove which represents the old entrance of Cremorne, and a grotto or bower surmounted by some of the plaster goddesses of Cremorne is still to be seen there.* [*In October, form, this nursery was advertised for sale for building purposes, 100,000 feet and 900 feet frontage, but at the present moment (April, 1907) it has not yet been built over. In the rear of Messrs. Wimsett's, and also on the site of Cremorne, was the nursery-ground of W. J. Bull, but since 1897 this space?an acre and a half?has been covered with flats and other buildings. The iron entrance-gates (see Frontispiece) now stand in Tetcott Street, on the premises of the Royal Chelsea Brewery (Welsh Ale Brewery, Limited), not far from the site of Cremorne.]
    [A collection relating to Cremorne formed by the present writer ; a collection in the British Museum (1880. c. 9). Various details have been derived from two excellent articles, signed 'T. E.,' contributed to the West London Press for September 18 and October 2, 1896, and based on material in the Chelsea Public Library ; also from an article by G. A. Sala in the Daily Telegraph for August 7, 1894 ; Blanchard in Era Almanack, 1871, etc.
    Views : Of Cremorne House, various views in Chelsea Public Library (cf. Beaver's Chelsea, pp. 155, 157). Of the Stadium grounds, two fairly common lithographs published by Day and Haghe in 1831. A Stadium bill (British Museum) has a lithographic view of the house and part of the grounds as a heading. The Particulars . . . of the Stadium (London, 1834), contains views by G. Cruikshank. Of Cremorne Gardens, many views in the illustrated papers ; also a water-colour by T. H. Shepherd, 1852, showing orchestra, etc. (Chelsea Public Library), and another by Shepherd, 1852 (same collection); etchings by W. Greaves of Chelsea, etc.]

Warwick Wroth, Cremorne and the Later London Gardens, 1907