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

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Bagnigge Wells Gardens

 (Circa 1690-1842)


WELLS, and the place I sing, at early dawn
Frequented oft, where male and female meet,
And strive to drink a long adieu to pain.
In that refreshing Vale with fragrance fill'd
                         * * *
... where each by turns
His venal Doxy woo'd, and stil'd the place
Black Mary's Hole
-there stands a Dome superb,
Hight Bagnigge; where, from our Forefathers hid,
Long have two Springs in dull stagnation slept;
But taught at length by subtle art to flow,
They rise, forth from Oblivion's bed they rise,
And manifest their Virtues to Mankind.
                         * * *
Of these the one will purge the human frame
The other call'd Chalybeate, corroborates the Nerves, 
And winds up firm the tottering Jack of Life.
Delightful Spot! and bounded on the right
With summit super-eminent, debas'd
With Dunghill's name inglorious! tho' by some
Than Pindus' Mount more priz'd, or cloud-crown'd head
Of strong-bas'd Promontory. For from thence
Springs richer Pasturage, and Earth receives
The stercorareous Compost with a smile.
From hence the eye surveys the faint remains
Of Land Hockleian, where the race canine
Whilom were wont with surly bulls to cope,
And rugged Russian bears, much fam'd of old
For black-ey'd Heroes, where stout Britons dar'd
The Combat of the Fist, jaw-breaking sport,
Discountenanc' d of late. Sweet brick-kiln there
Wheels up the steep of air its dusky wreaths,
Cloud above cloud ascending. Sight of sights!
Efluvium strong! yet preferable far
To leaf of myrtle, or the flower of bean.

Close by the Garden Wall meand'ring stream
Its jetty Wave devolves, degraded oft
With term of Ditch. Insinuation vile!
Dishonourable name! and rough to ear
Of Water-drinking Mortal. Silence! thou,
Do thou the lips of bitter Malice close,
If once she dare the gliding Lymph prophane,
Or with unhallow'd tongue proclaim it foul.

A holey Temple there invites the view
To Cloacina sacred. Here repair
In order due her Votaries well-pleas'd,
And offer up their Morning Sacrifice
With lowly reverence, performing rites
With modest face, averted from the Fane.
                 * * * *
Here ambulates th' Attorney looking grave,
And Rake from Bacchanalian rout uprose,
And mad festivity. Here, too, the Cit
With belly turtle-stuffed, and Man of Gout
With leg of size enormous. Hobbling on,
The pump-room he salutes, and in the chair
He squats himself unwieldy. Much he drinks,
And much he laughs to see the females quaff,
The friendly beverage. He, nor jest obscene,
Of meretrician wench, nor quibble quaint
Of prentic'd punster heeds, himself a wit
And dealer in conundrunis, hut retorts
The repartee jocosely- ...
                  * * * *
Farewel, sweet vale! how much dost thou excel
or Andalusia !-More methinks b
Than do the hills around thy bosom girt
The mounts recourded in poetic song.
Yet e'er I leave thy bounds, let me proclaim
With voice of inspiration, that from thee,
And from thy genuine Wells our heads derive,
Their fluid volatility.--And hence
The dull Mechanic, careless of his shop,
Into a Politician brightens. Hence
The man of Law conceives, and hence the Bard
"Bursts forth all oracle, and mystic song."

- Shrubs of Parnassus. -  J. COPYWELL (W. WOTY), 1760.


                        * * *
AH! I loves life and all the joy it yields,
Says Madam Fussock, warm from Spittlefields,
Bon Ton's the space twixt Saturday and Monday,
And riding in a one-horse chair o' Sunday!
Tis drinking tea, on summer's afternoons
At Bagnigge Wells, with china and gilt spoons!
                     * * *

-COLMAN, Prologue to Bon Ton, 1775.



THY arbours, Bagnigge, and the gay alcove,
Where the frail Nymphs in am'rous dalliance rove;
Where prentic'd Youths enjoy the Sunday feast,
And City Matrons boast their Sabbath's rest
Where unfledged Templars first as fops parade,
And new made Ensigns sport their first cockade.
                         * * *

(Probably by CHURCHILL), 1779.


COME, come, Miss Prissy, make it up, and we will lovers be,
And we will go to Bagnigge Wells, and there will have some tea;
It's there you'll see the lady-birds upon the stinging-nettles,
And there you'll see the waiters, ma'am, with all their shining kettles. 
Oh la! Oh dear! Oh dash my vig, how funny.

It's there you'll see the waiters, ma'am, will serve you in a trice,
With rolls all hot and butter pats serv'd up so neat and nice;
And there you'll see the fishes, ma'am, more curioser than whales,
Oh! they're made of gold and silver, ma'am, and they wag their little tails. 
Oh la! Oh dear! &c.

And there you'll hear the organ, ma'am, and see the water-spout,
Oh, we'll have some rum and water, ma'am, before that we go out,
We'll coach it into town, ma'am, we won't return to shop,
But we'll go to Thingimy hall, ma'am, and there we'll have a drop. 
Oh la! Oh dear! &c.

- Old Song

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            * * *
EVERY evening he was seen
In a jacket and shorts of velveteen;
And to Bagnigg-e Wells then in a bran
New gown she went with the dog's-meat man
She walked up and down with the dog's-meat man;
And the people all said that around did stan',
He was quite a dandy dog's-meat man.

- Popular Street Ballad, 1800


WHAT passion cannot Music raise and quell!
When G(riffith) * struck his corded shell,
The list'ning Drunkards stood around,
And, wond'ring, on their faces fell.

* Organist at the Wells.

- Vide DRV(DEN)'S Ode to S. Cecilia's Night.
Pub'd for the Benefit of decayed Musicians.

So Cits to Bagnigge Wells repair,
To swallow dust and call it air.

- Every Night Book, 1827.


AIR- "Let us haste to Kelvin Grove."

WILL you go to Bagnigge Wells, Bonnet builder, O!
Where the Fleet-ditch fragrant smells, Bonnet builder, O!
Where the fishes used to swim, So nice and sleek and trim, 
But the pond's now covered in, Bonnet builder, O!

Will you toddle with your Bill, Bonnet builder, O!
To the Crown at Pentonville, Bonnet builder, O!
Where the cove sells Kennett ale, Which, like you, looks very pale; 
I like it best when stale, Bonnet builder, O!

Then we'll to the Conduit go, Bonnet builder, O!
You're fond of it, I know, Bonnet builder, O!
Where the songsters sing so sweet, And the garden looks so neat, 
As the stockings on your feet, Bonnet builder, O!

Oh! I must cut my stick, Bonnet builder, O! 
For here there's no pon tick, Bonnet builder, O!
Now sorely do I fear We must pass the Belvidere, 
Unless you can stand a tear, Bonnet builder, O!

Poverty on me frowns, Bonnet builder, O!
I've now left but three browns, Bonnet builder, O!
Ere six o'clock to-morrow, Five shillings I will borrow 
Till when I leave in sorrow, Bonnet builder, O!

And when I'm gone to bed, Bonnet builder, O!
With my night-cap on my head, Bonnet builder, O!
Will you, builder, if you hear The pot-boy crying "Beer!" 
Take a pint for me, my dear, Bonnet builder, O!

-The Little Melodist, 1839.