CAPTION BELOW PICTURE: 'The music-hall to be erected in "The Surrey Zoological Gardens"'
Royal Surrey Gardens
Royal Surrey Gardens were pleasure gardens in Kennington, London in the Victorian period, slightly east of The Oval. The gardens occupied about 15 acres (6.1 ha) to the east side of Kennington Road, including a lake of about 3 acres (1.2 ha). It was the site of Surrey Zoological Gardens and Surrey Music Hall.
The gardens were the grounds of the manor house of Walworth. The site was acquired in 1831 by impresario Edward Cross to be the location of his new Surrey Zoological Gardens, using animals from his menagerie at Exeter Exchange, in competition with the new London Zoo in Regent's Park. A large circular domed glass conservatory was built in the gardens, 300 feet (90 m) in circumference with more than 6,000 square feet (560 m2) of glass, to contain separate cages for lions, tigers, a rhinoceros, and giraffes. The gardens were heavily planted with native and exotic trees and plants, and dotted with picturesque pavilions.
The gardens were used for large public entertainments from 1837, such as re-enactments of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the Great Fire of London, or the storming of Badajoz, using large painted sets up to 80 feet (24 m) high, and spectacular firework displays, as had become popular at Vauxhall Gardens before its demise. Later, it was used for promenade concerts. The gardens suffered intense competition from the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851.
After Cross's death, the gardens were acquired by a company. The zoo had become run down, and the animals were sold off in 1856 to build Surrey Music Hall in the gardens. It was a large, rectangular building of three floors, with an arcade around the ground floor and two covered galleries above, and octagonal staircases at each corner with ornamental turrets. Like the Crystal Palace, it was largely constructed from cast iron, and was capable of holding 12,000 seated spectators, making it the largest venue in London. It was used to celebrate the return of soldiers at the end of the Crimean War in 1856, and for a four-day military festival from 27 July to 30 July 1857, to honour and raise funds for Mary Seacole. The French popular and eccentric conductor and composer of light music Louis Antoine Jullien gave numerous very successful concerts in the Royal Surrey Gardens in 1855 and 1856 mixing classical and dance music.
Religious services were held at the Music Hall weekends by the famous Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, because his audiences could not be contained in the New Park Street Chapel. The first service was held on the evening of Sunday 19 October 1856, with an audience of 10,000 inside and as many outside unable to enter. It was, however, marred by tragedy when someone shouted fire, and a panic to escape ensued. Seven were killed in the crush, and many injured. Nevertheless, Spurgeon returned a few weeks later to hold morning services in November 1856. The services continued to be very well attended, with audiences exceeding 10,000. The proprietors decided to hold Sunday evening music concerts in the hall; Spurgeon objected to the entertainment being held on the Sabbath, and the last Sunday morning service was held on 11 December 1859.
The music hall was destroyed by fire in 1861, leading to a High Court legal case, Taylor v. Caldwell (1863) 3 B & S 328, to recover the costs of printing posters for an event that could not be held at the hall as a result of its destruction. The case established the doctrine of impossibility in English contract law.
The gardens returned to holding large public entertainments, but they were less successful than before, and the gardens finally closed in 1862. St. Thomas' Hospital moved to the site temporarily, while its new buildings at Lambeth Walk, near Westminster Bridge, were constructed (its previous buildings having been sold to become London Bridge railway station).
The gardens were sold for development in 1877 and the site is now occupied by residential buildings
Notes on the historical context / background to the print can be viewed at: Royal Surrey Gardens
DATE PRINTED: 1856
IMAGE SIZE: Approx 12.5 x 22.5cm, 5 x 9 inches (Medium)
TYPE: Antique wood engraved print
CONDITION: Good; suitable for framing. However, please note: Minor blemishes; The image shown may have been scanned from a different example of this print than that which is offered for sale: The print you will receive is in Good condition but there may be minor variations in the condition compared to that shown in the image. Please check the scan for any blemishes prior to making your purchase. Virtually all antiquarian maps and prints are subject to some normal aging due to use and time which is not obtrusive unless otherwise stated. We offer a no questions asked return policy.
AUTHENTICITY: This is an authentic historic print, published at the date stated above. It is not a modern copy.
VERSO: There are images and/or text printed on the reverse side of the picture. In some cases this may be visible on the picture itself (please check the scan prior to your purchase) or around the margin of the picture.
ARTIST/CARTOGRAPHER/ENGRAVER: Engraved by Maytla Sc
PROVENANCE: Illustrated London News