30th August 2010
Vauxhall Gardens, London SE11 5HL
Gay Sports Day 2010
There was a time, ooh about 250 years ago, when, for most Londoners, a trip to Vauxhall involved something other than stressfully negotiating a terrifying traffic junction or being baffled by a tube/rail/rocket launcher interchange. In fact Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens was, for over 200 years, one of The places to see or be seen. So significant was it that the Museum of London (sort of) recreated a part of it when the museum was revamped in 2010.
The Gardens as was finally ceased to be in 1859 as railway-inspired urban creepage filled the area with cheap housing. All was not lost however, and slum clearance in the 1970s created space for a new Spring Gardens (and, thanks to some seriously committed locals, a City Farm). Gradually, this precious pocket of greenery is (again thanks to committed locals) slowly regaining some of its old lustre.
Ok, it’s not going to reach the giddy heights of its flamboyant predecessor for a while yet, but thanks to a thriving local LGBT community (inspired by the legendary Royal Vauxhall Tavern), there’s some major clubbing going on at weekends here.
And it’s the gay community here doing their bit for charity with their annual sports day on Bank Holiday weekend – highly colourful, but equally highly competitive, amongst the IOC approved challenges these highly trained athletes took part in were traditional egg & spoon and sack races, an unexpectedly brutal tug-o-war, space-hopper races and the challenging 50m mince. This is what it looked like in 2012. And this is the Museum of London giving us a flavour of how wild it used to be…