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Spas, Wells, & Pleasure-Gardens of London

James Stevens Curl


In the Georgian period, many public houses exploited springs and wells in their often capacious gardens, allegedly to promote health (supported by absurdly exaggerated testimonials from medical quacks) and pleasure, but mostly to attract customers to partake of their beverages and food. Music (often by imporant composers such as Arne, J.C. Bach, and Handel) was provided in the better class of ‘spaw’: long-rooms, shady garden-walks, and grounds where plashing fountains soothed the ear and cooled the salubrious air, provided opportunities for much ogling and quizzing, assignations, and much else.

This lecture gives a flavour of those long-vanished places of recreation and amusement, lost as the Great Wen spewed bricks and mortar over the charming countryside around the capital.

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