Fig. 1: A View of the Temple of Comus in Vauxhall Gardens, 1751, coloured engraving by Johann Sebastian Müller

Space and Gesture: researching Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens

With the ‘urban renaissance’ of the eighteenth century came new forms of sociality which included unprecedented levels of social mixing.1 One of the spaces in which these forms occurred is the pleasure garden, and this literature review collates varying perspectives on Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in the mid eighteenth century. While Vauxhall has been studied far

Moonlight, Shadows

A lie is halfway around the world before the truth has got its boots on

Mark Twain probably never said this. It’s another case of the Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect, or if you prefer, the Mandela Effect, or still again, cultural mnemohistory (this is my preferred term). It’s strangely ‘meta’ then that the saying describes its own social genesis as a saying. Knowledge spreads, with many loud and knowledgeable people

Joseph Mallord William Turner, English - The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834 - Google Art Project

Have you tried turning it off and on again?

The Need-Fire (alt. Force-Fire, meaning ‘forced fire’) tradition depended on a structure of exception. In a superstition widely chronicled across Old Europe it was popularly believed that the efficacy of the need-fire (to cure ills, to establish normality where sickness — of animals, relations, etc — had taken hold) depended on the extinguishment of all