Thomas Tyers, Part owner 1771–1785

Block, Tyers & Lockman, engraved 1741

The following is an indication of the variety of skilled and unskilled labour employed at Vauxhall Gardens, based partly on historical evidence and partly on common sense.

'Artificers', handymen
Boardmen (who carried advertising sandwich-boards, c.1837)
Joiners,carpenters and mechanics
Kitchen staff: - cooks, washers-up, layers-out, carvers
Lamplighters. A lamplighter also played the part of the hermit, c1840s
Painters & Decorators
Watchmen (on the approach roads; off-season, two watchmen were kept on shifts)
It is likely that some of the manual employees carried out more than one function. The most important evidence for the size of the establishment of Vauxhall Gardens in the early years comes in a manuscript fragment of 1739 in the Bodleian Library's Winston collection [Gough Adds, Surrey C21-25, Vol. I, item 75.1v]
  Tomorrow the Master of Vauxhall Gardens will go from thence in his coach attended by 50 of his Servants to his house at Denby near Dorking where two of his Drawers are to be married to two of his Bar Maids he gives each of them their Wedding Ring and an elegant Dinner. Diary 28 June 39.  
This high number of servants is supported by Baron von Bielfeld, who justifies Tyers's income from admissions:
  . . . but when we consider how many of attendants he is obliged to maintain, the number of artificers and laborers that are necessary to keep his gardens and machinery in order, and the immens sum he must have expended in constructing them, we cannot grudge a moderate profit to a man who has been the first to provide the public with an entertainment, which has no equal, that I have ever heard, in Europe. [Letter XXVI, p.168]  




The Book

Brief History

Full Chronology


Occasional Singers



The Tyers Family

Proprietors & Staff

Subscribers & Others

Contemporary Sources

Further Reading

Object of the Month

Events and Lectures



Proprietors & Staff

This data includes mainly 'behind-the-scenes' staff, no musicians, singers or other performers. The bulk of the evidence for the names in the 19th century appears in the archives of the Minet Library, Lambeth. Only those years for which positive evidence exists have been cited. Except where fuller evidence is available (e.g. for 1854, from which a weekly payment register sheet survives), most of the more junior staff are never named. The list is by no means comprehensive; few names of employees have survived from before the 1820s. From the earliest days of Tyers's proprietorship, a substantial number of staff were employed, besides the self-employed staff. The ownership of the site of Vauxhall Gardens was by Copyhold from the estate of the Duchy of Cornwall, as vested in the Prince of Wales, who was ground-landlord of the gardens.
Alsager, T.M. Official Assignee, during bankruptcy sale, 1841
Andrews, John Co-lessee, 1841
Anthony Always engaged, with Rivett, as constables on Royal Birthday nights, c.1802
Asquith, John Waiter, 1785. Also at Bagnigge Wells, also known as Gillet
Atkins Part-owner, to 1758
Atkinson One of the garden constables, 1788
Austen, James Theatre-Boxes, 1854 @ 15s. per week
Banford, R. Houseboy, errand-boy, porter, stable-boy, carter, artist's colour grinder, painter and cellarman, 1838-9
Barber Billing/Posting, 1854 @ 1.15s. per week
Barber Theatre - Boxes, 1854 @ 15s. per week
Barnett, Benjamin Acting Manager, 1850; Manager, 1851
Barnett, Morris Manager, 1852
Barnett, William Constable, 1829
Barrett, Bryant (1743–1809) Part owner, c.1780–1802. Owner 1802-1809
Barrett, George Rogers (1787–after 1851) Joint owner 1809–1825
Barrett, Jonathan Tyers (1784–1851) Joint owner, 1809–1825.
Bates Bar, 1846
Bates, Miss Housekeeper, 1845, 1846; Upper Bar, 1859
Ben Jonathan Tyers's Coachman
Benton Bar, 1842
Benton, Mrs. House Keeper, 1842
Bicknell, John (1716–1754) Assistant butler of the wines, 1740s
Birman Punch, 1859
Bish, Thomas (1779–1842) Co-lessee, 1821–1823
Blain[e], Col. Henry Co-proprietor, 1849
Blakeley ? 1854 @ 18s. per week
Blarney, Ted Possibly mythical Irishman named in the song Vauxhall Watch (c.1785) as one of the garden's watchmen 'full twenty years'
Block, Mr.(?) Possibly the 'Blockee', book-keeper, that Tyers is consulting in the Ramano print, 1741
Bowen Money/Check-taker, 1854 @1.1s. per week
Brakewell, Mrs. (Kitchen) 1854 @ 12s.6d. per week
Breakwell, Miss Upper Bar, 1859
Breckell Of Drury Lane Theatre, Chief Machinist, 1845; Carpenter, 1846; Machinist, 1853
Brion MD of a scheme to build the Royal South London Polytechnic Institution on the site, 1844
Brown, Joseph Employed at Vauxhall in an unknown capacity, 1819.
Brown, Samuel Lamplighter, early C19
Brown Co-lessee, 1846; Proprietor, 1847
Brunton Property Master, 1847
Bruton, James Booking agent for singers, c.1820
Bunn, Alfred Co-lessee, 1841; Lessee and acting Manager, 1842
Burgess Punch maker for upwards of 40 years [see Evans, T.H.] (c.1795–1835)
Burry, E Stout Bar, 1854 @ 1.10s. per week
Cain, Alexander Carpenter/Labourer, 1854 @ 9.10s. per week
Carr Gas lighting, 1825–1828 1830–1832
Chiswick, Samuel Lamplighter, early C19
Clark Bar, 1822, 1823 @ 3 per week, 1824-1830
Coleman ?Treasurer, 1849
Coleman Lower Bar, 1859
Coleman, Mrs. Lower Bar Money, 1859
Collingbourne, Mr. Constable, 1818
Collins, James sr and jr Both employed at Vauxhall Gardens 1836
Crowley, Robert Lamplighter, early C19
David, Richard Mechanist, 1849
David Bar, 1849
Davy, Thomas In charge of liquor supplies, 1825
Doddington, George Part-owner, to 1752
Honest Dripping ?Mythical cook in Tyers's time
Duff Lamplighter, early C19
Duffell, Robert Lighting, 1822, Illuminations & devices, 1823, 1824; oil lighting, 1825–1839; Illuminations Director, 1850–1856; and Director, 1858; Illuminations, 1859
Duffield, Mrs. Bar, 1859
Dufour, Mrs. Coffee Room, 1854 @ 10s.6d. per week
Edwin Gate staff, 1833
Ella, Miss Bar, 1847
Ellis Of Her Majesty's Theatre, Refreshments, 1844, 1845
Epps Painter, and in charge of liquid refreshment, 1822
Ernest, Henry His name on a refreshments ledger in 1853; Proprietor, 1858. Licensee 1859 (his name is over the front door in J, Findlay's watercolour)
Evans, Henry Of Kennington Lane, Ices and Confectionery, 1851
Evans Lower Bar, 1854 @ 1.1s. per week
Evans Reserved Seats, 1854 @ 15s. per week
Evans, T.H. Punch-maker for upwards of twenty years to the 'Royal Property' [Shaw VIII p.85, 1859] [see Burgess above] (one of the Mr Evans listed here was the father of Henry Evanion the conjuror)
Everit, William Waiter, 1757.Lived in St George's Parish
Eves Supper Room, 1854 @ 1.1s. pe rweek
Fairbrother, B.S. Treasurer, 1851
Farrance, Mr. Supplying pastry and confectionery, 1823
ffoulis, J.J. In charge of music, c.1790/91. A Fowles family was living at Vauxhall House, from 1684 until well into 18th century
Finlayson Machinist, Carpenter, 1851
Flower(s) Acting manager, 1816. Manager, 1822
Fountain Coffee Room, 1854 @ 1.4s. per week
Fowler, Thomas ?owner 1841; Co-lessee, 1846
Fowler, William Owner, 1841, 1849
Frere MC, 1848, 1854 @ 1.10s. per week, 1856, 1859
Fyf(f)e Gardener, 182–21827
Gahey ? Waiter, killed when the starting cannon for the sailing match burst in the Cumberland Gardens, June 1791
Gascoigne Lower Bar, 1854 @12s.6d. per week
Genesie/Genesy Assistant propertie , 1826, 1827; Head, 1830, 1834-1839
Ghent / Gent Manager, 1823 @ 100 per annum
Gilson, James Servant 1739. Employed in an unknown capacity, 1742
Goldthorp, David Constable, employed on day of opening ridotto, 7 June 1732
Gouriet (of Her Majesty's Theatre) MC, 1846, 1848 ( 'the Gouriet brothers' , 1850
Green, Mrs. Cigar Bar, 1854 @ 10s.6d. er week.
Greener ? 1854 @ 1.1s. p.w.
Guilleford, John Lamplighter, early C19
Gye, E. Gate staff, 1833
Gye, Frederick (1781–1869) Lessee, 1821–1824; Proprietor, 1825–1840
Gye II, Frederick (1809–1878) Manager, 1831, 1832; lighting, 1841 @ 230 per week; ?1842
Hall Property Master, 1847
Hall Mr. Constable 1818, 1825
Harris, Nicholas (d.1789) Cellarman to Jonathan Tyers. Later, master of the Guy's Head, Southwark
Harrison, Joseph Waiter in 1785
Henry Bar, 1847
Hill, Philemon Owner, 1717, with his wife, Hannah
Hinson John Lamplighter, early C19
Holbury Gate staff, 1833
Holt, Thomas Treasurer & Manager, 1845, 1846
Howard Director of the 'Free List', 1847
Hughes, Henry Manager, 1823–1830
Hughes, Richard Lessee, 1823–1824; proprietor, 1825–1840
Hughes, Thomas Gate staff, 1833
Hughes, William ?W.H paid with Simpson in 1824
Hurwitz Painter & decorator, 1844–5
Hutchinson Butler of the wines, 1740s
Jabet, R. 15, High Street, Printer, 1815
Jarvis MC, 1854 @ 1.10s. per week, 1855, 1856, 1859
Jenks (Of the York Assembly Rooms) MC, 1855
Jennings, Mrs. Part-owner to 1758
Jessup, Benjamin Principal waiter 1823
Johnson Billing/posting in 1854 @£1 1s. per week
Johnson, William Lamplighter, early C19
Jones, Mr. Assistant firework manufacturer and worker 1820
Keeley & Bill Billing/Posting, 1854 @ 9 per week
King ? in charge during bankruptcy case.
Leonard, Albert MC, 1849
Lewis, T.R. Secretary, 1847, 1848, [not 1849], 1850
Lewis, John MC, 1844
Liddle/Liddell, George Refreshments, 1845; Proprietor, 1846
Lillywhite Assistant carpenter, 1827 @ 5s. a day
Lime, T. Assistant carpenter, 1827 @ 2 per week
Lloyd, Mr. Constable with Rivett and Anthony
Lockman, John (1698–1771) Publicity and Copy-writing for Jonathan Tyers
Longshawe, Edward Fisher

MC, 1836

Louis ? 1854 @ 15s. per week
Lowdon, John Employed in an unknown capacity in the 1730s; servant dismissed 1739
Lowe, Thomas Assistant carpenter, 1824, 1827 @ 2 per week, 1828–1839, 1841, 1842, 1844, 1845; Chief Machinist, 1846, 1859
Malcolm, John Signed tickets for the Vittoria Fete in 1813
Masters, Elizabeth Owner, 1729
Matthews,T. Stage Manager, 1847
Matthews Assistant Manager, 1847
Mills [?] In-house parson, c.1750
Mitchell, John Co-lessee, 1841
Mitchell, Robert Lamplighter, 1806; indicted for stealing oil
Morris(s) Property, 1822–1828
Moxsy, R.W. MC, 1849, 1858
Munro Carpenter, 1852
Nathan, Isaac Costumier, 1847, 1850–1853
Northcote Box Keeper, 1854 @ 15s. per week
Parker, B. Treasurer, 1825
Parsons Box Keeper, 1854 @ 15s. per week
Partridge Bar, 1845
Patrick, Mr. In charge of lighting, 1786
Pearce, Charles Thomas Co-proprietor, 1849
Pedder Carpenter, 1852
Pedley, William Lamplighter, early C19
Pentelow Door-keeper, 1854 @ 1.5s. per week
Pentleton, Abraham A watchman in 1845
Penton Theatre-Boxes, 1854 @ 15s. per week
Perkins / Parkins Manager, 1804, 1806. Vauxhall's 'very active and judicious Manager, Mr. Perkins' [Burn Coll. p.360]
Phillips Mechanist, 1823, 1849
Pidgeon Billing/Posting, 1854 @ 1.1s. per week
Plant, Elizabeth Owner, 1694
Points Money/Check-taker, 1854 @ 1.1s. per week
Pollard, Thomas Lamplighter, 1806; indicted for stealing oil
Potter, John/Joe (1734/5–1813) Manager, c.1762–1777. The Locum Tenens of old Jonathan Tyers. Still associated with VG in the 1780s
Randle/Randall Master Machinist & Carpenter, 1857
Reynall (H. Reynell was printing for the gardens in 1786) Mortgagee, 1826f; agent for owner (Wm Fowler), 1841f

Always engaged, with Anthony, as constables on Royal Birthday nights, c.1802

'Robert' The boy, 1841
Robins, James Labourer, 1854 @ 18s. per week
Robson, Mr. Tutor to Jonathan Tyers's sons
Rogers, Margaret (1724–1786) Jonathan Tyers's daughter. Part owner, 1771–1785
Rooks, Henry ? c.1854–1859
Ross, Mrs. Margarit (c.1770–1834) Housekeeper, 1811–1834 (1822 —@ 100 per annum 1823 —@ 150 per annum). Mrs. Ross was a permanent employee, also in charge of the Bars, and kept one female assistant throughout the year
Rouse Treasurer, 1822, 1823 @ 500 per annum, 1824. Mr. Rouse was a permanent employee, but had to pay his own servant if he stayed in the house out of season
Rutland Money/Check-taker, 1854 @ 1.1s. per week
Rutt Theatre - Boxes, 1854 @ 15s. per week
Ryan, John Acting Manager, 1847, 1848
Ryan ? 1854 @
Rye, S. Assistant carpenter, 1827 @ 2 per week
Sartam Gate staff, 1833
Saul Architect and Machinist, [possibly William Saul of Norwich] 1823; carpenter, 1825, 1826, Head Carpenter, 1827
Scott Billing/Posting, 1854 @ 2 per week
Sharp Gate staff, 1833
Shaw Head Carpenter and Machinist, ex CG, 1822, 1823
Simpkins Bar Assistant, 1854 @ 15s. per week
Simpson, C.H. Master of Ceremonies 1797–1835 (1823 @ 34 per season)
Simpson Money/Check-taker, 1854 @ 1.1s. per week
Sladden, James Lamplighter, 1806; indicted for stealing oil
Smith, Dick (d.1782) Master of the tap-house
Smith, Edward Tyrrel (1804–1877) Co-manager, 1855 (involved from c.1845)
Smith, Thomas 'Many years Moneytaker and book keeper to Jonathan Tyers Esq. of Vauxhall' [inscr. on rev. of drwg.], late18th century
Spooner Assistant carpenter, 1827 @ 5s. a day
Stevens, George Assistant Gardener, 1824, 1827; Head Gardener, 1828, (and gas lighting for one year only) 1829, 1830-1839, 1840, 1841, 1842, 1844, 1845, 1846, 1849; Lessee and Director, 1859
Stevens, Mrs. Lower Bar, 1854 @15s .pw, 1859
Stevens, Miss Coffee Room, 1859
Stokes American Bar, 1854 @ 1.1s. per week
Taylor, Charles Director, 1814, 1822
Taylor, John C. Licensee, 1859
Thomas Reserved Seats, 1854 @ 15s. per week
Thompson, T. Stage and Equestrian Director, 1850
Tilt, Henry (d.26 March 1754) Master of the Tap
Townsend, John (1760–1832) Bow Street Runner, employed at VG (DNB)
Trippet Waiter in 1769
Twist Cook, 1859
Tyers, Elizabeth (1700–1771) Jonathan Tyers's widow. Owner, 1767–1771
Tyers, Jonathan (17021–767) Lessee, 1729–1752; Part owner 1752–1758; Owner, 1758–1767
Tyers, Jonathan jr (1728/9–1792) Part owner 1771–1792
Tyers, Thomas (1726–1787) Part owner 1771–1785
Waller Assistant carpenter, 1827 @ 5s. a day
Tyler, Willy ?Tyers's first gardener, 1732 [Minet Doc]
Wardell, R. Manager, 1844; Lessee, 1845 @ 850 pa, 1846; Lessee and Director, 1847; Director and Sole Lessee, 1848, 1850–1854; (also looked after Gallery @ 1.1s. per week), 1856
Wardell, J. Billing/Posting, 1854 @ 1.10s. per week
Watling Co-manager and Refreshments, 1855
Wiberg/Weber Manager, 1849
Weber, Madam Housekeeper, 1849
Widdicomb, Henry (1813–1868) Master of Ceremonies, 1842, 1845, 1846
Wild Equestrian Director, 1851
Wilkinson Money/Check-taker, 1854 @ 1.1s. per week
Wilks Door-keeper, 1854 @ 1.5s. per week
Williams, Charles Gardener and porter 1836
Winsland, Thomas Gas Fitter, 1850, and Manufacturer of the Chandeliers, 1851–1854 @ 5 per week, 1855, 1856, 1858, 1859
Winsland, Mrs. Lower Bar, 1859
Wood, Elizabeth (1727–1802) Jonathan Tyers's daughter. Part owner, 1771– 1802
Wood Coffee Room, 1859


1st perf. First year of performing as a soloist at Vauxhall
Burney Memoirs Slava Klima, Garry Bowers, and Kerry S. Grant, Memoirs of Dr. Charles Burney 1726-.1769 (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1988 )
CG Covent Garden
DL. Drury Lane
KT King's Theatre
Last Night The night Vauxhall closed for ever on Monday 25 July, 1859
Manning & Bray Manning, Revd. Owen, and Bray, William, The History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey, Vol. III of 3 (London: White, Cochrane & Co.,1804–14), p.489f.
MG Marylebone Gardens
Minet The Vauxhall Gardens archive at the Minet Library in Lambeth
Parke... William Thomas Parke, Musical Memoirs, 2 vols. London 1830
PS Philharmonic Society
RG Ranelagh Gardens
Vauxhall Papers Bunn, Alfred [ed], The Vauxhall Papers, 17 Parts (London: John Andrews & John .Mitchell, July—August 1841) Illustrated by Alfred Forrester (pseud. Crowquill)
VG .Vauxhall Gardens
Walford Walford, Edward, Old and New London: A .Narrative of its History, its People and its Places .Vol. IV (London: Cassell Petter & Galpin, .n.d. 1873–8), pp.447–467
Much additional information from:
S. Sadie [ed], The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, 4 Vols. (London,Macmillan, 1992)