History falls… to parking lots and shopping malls

Actonbooks

I will give you two examples of the way that society in the 19th century decreed that pleasure should not be un-policed. The first in this post was the fate of the Cremorne Gardens by the river in the Chelsea district of London.

cremorne map

It is 1877. The poor and immoral had been invading the space that the increasingly puritanised post-Georgian, post-Regency establishment had lately marked off for the well-to-do. There was a degree of class miscegenation that was unacceptable to the control-freakery that was instinctive to social ayatollahs. The Tivoli-style pleasure ground known as Cremorne Gardens had to close — and so it did. A petition from the locals, annual objections to the dancing licence, a libel suit from the lessee to defend his Cremorne’s reputation that resulted in him winning just a farthing damages all presaged the ending of an era.

Chelsea was the artists’ quarter. Whistler painted the…

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