Category Archives: parks


In the southeast at least, fading summer departs with grace cut across by wet and windy bluster.   Autumn beckons.   But the sun shone last week, and in that lingering warmth I found myself in Vauxhall Gardens, site of the original Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens between around 1650 – 1850.

The historical gardens offered pleasures  more extensive than those available today, but the past few years have seen the Gardens reclaim one aspect of their former glory: people are using them again, as a through route, as a place to linger.  Within the Gardens is Vauxhall City Farm, a stalwart which, if memory serves, dates from the early 1980s.  But this is simply background to my actual subject: Deckchairs. Continue reading

Seats of choice

This article was initially conceived as a paean to the park bench as emblem and occasion of informal sociability.  Enthused by a visit to some parks in Paris, and being delighted by the seats (more anon) seen there, I was going to make the argument for similar seats here in the UK based on the view that they could help enhance the sociability of the public realm, complements to the traditional park bench.   But a little thought made me see that I was wrong about the connection between park bench and sociability – too simplistic, seeing what I wished to see, and not what was there.  So, now I wish to promote those very same seats, but for different reasons.  But first, park benches. Continue reading