Diarmuid Gavin and Helen Dillon visit three very different secret hideaways around a particular part of Northern Ireland.

Greatest Gardens - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 30 minutes

Premier: 2015-06-01

Greatest Gardens - P. T. Barnum - Netflix

Phineas Taylor Barnum (July 5, 1810 – April 7, 1891) was an American showman, politician and businessman remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes and for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus (1871–2017). Although Barnum was also an author, publisher, philanthropist, and for some time a politician, he said of himself, “I am a showman by profession…and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me”, and his personal aim was “to put money in his own coffers.” Barnum is widely credited with coining the adage “There's a sucker born every minute”,, although no evidence can be found of him saying this. Born in Bethel, Connecticut, Barnum became a small-business owner in his early twenties and founded a weekly newspaper, before moving to New York City in 1834. He embarked on an entertainment career, first with a variety troupe called “Barnum's Grand Scientific and Musical Theater”, and soon after by purchasing Scudder's American Museum, which he renamed after himself. Barnum used the museum as a platform to promote hoaxes and human curiosities such as the Fiji mermaid and General Tom Thumb. In 1850 he promoted the American tour of singer Jenny Lind, paying her an unprecedented $1,000 a night for 150 nights. After economic reversals due to bad investments in the 1850s, and years of litigation and public humiliation, he used a lecture tour, mostly as a temperance speaker, to emerge from debt. His museum added America's first aquarium and expanded the wax-figure department. While in New York, he converted to Universalism and was a member of the Church of the Divine Paternity, now the Fourth Universalist Society in the City of New York. Barnum served two terms in the Connecticut legislature in 1865 as a Republican for Fairfield. With the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution over slavery and African-American suffrage, Barnum spoke before the legislature and said, “A human soul, 'that God has created and Christ died for,' is not to be trifled with. It may tenant the body of a Chinaman, a Turk, an Arab, or a Hottentot – it is still an immortal spirit”. Elected in 1875 as Mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, he worked to improve the water supply, bring gas lighting to streets, and enforce liquor and prostitution laws. Barnum was also instrumental in starting Bridgeport Hospital, founded in 1878, and was its first president. The circus business was the source of much of his enduring fame. He established “P. T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome”, a traveling circus, menagerie, and museum of “freaks”, which adopted many names over the years. Barnum died of a stroke at his home residence in 1891, and was buried in Mountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport, which he designed himself.

Greatest Gardens - Jenny Lind - Netflix

A risky decision of Barnum's established him as a legitimate impresario. During his Tom Thumb tour of England, Barnum had become aware of the popularity of Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale”. Lind's career was at its height in Europe. She was unpretentious, shy, and devout, and possessed a crystal-clear soprano voice projected with a wistful quality and earnestness that audiences found touching. Barnum had never heard her and conceded to being unmusical himself. He approached her to sing in America at $1,000 a night for 150 nights, all expenses paid by him. He knew that his risk was great, noting: “'The public' is a very strange animal, and although a good knowledge of human nature will generally lead a caterer of amusement to hit the people right, they are fickle and ofttimes perverse.” But Barnum was confident that her reputation for morality and philanthropy could be turned to good use in his publicity. Lind demanded the fee in advance. Barnum agreed, and she accepted the offer, which would permit her to raise a huge fund for charities, principally endowing schools for poor children in Sweden. To raise the money to pay Lind, Barnum borrowed heavily on his mansion and his museum. Still short of funds, he persuaded a Philadelphia minister, who thought that Lind would be a good influence on American morals, to lend him the final $5,000. The contract also gave Lind the option of withdrawing from the tour after sixty or one hundred performances, paying Barnum $25,000 if she did so. Lind and her small company sailed to America in September 1850. As a result of Barnum's months of preparations, Lind was a celebrity even before she arrived in the U.S., and close to 40,000 people greeted her at the docks and another 20,000 at her hotel, the press was in attendance, and “Jenny Lind items” were available. When she realized how much money Barnum stood to make from the tour, Lind insisted on a new agreement, which he signed on September 3, 1850. This gave her the original fee plus the remainder of each concert's profits after Barnum's $5,500 management fee was paid. She was determined to accumulate as much money as possible for her charities. The tour began with a concert at Castle Garden on September 11, 1850, and was a major success, recouping Barnum four times his investment. Washington Irving proclaimed, “She is enough to counterbalance, of herself, all the evil that the world is threatened with by the great convention of women. So God save Jenny Lind!” Tickets for some of her concerts were in such demand that Barnum sold them by auction. The enthusiasm of the public was so strong that the American press coined the term “Lind mania”. The blatant commercialism of Barnum's ticket auctions distressed Lind, and for her second concert and thereafter, she persuaded him to make a substantial number of tickets available at reduced prices. On the tour, Barnum's publicity always preceded Lind's arrival and whipped up enthusiasm (he had up to 26 journalists on his payroll). After New York, the company toured the east coast of America, with continued success, and later took in Cuba and the southern states of the U.S. By early 1851, Lind had become uncomfortable with Barnum's relentless marketing of the tour, and she invoked a contractual right to sever her ties with him. They parted amicably, and she continued the tour for nearly a year under her own management. Lind gave 93 concerts in America for Barnum, earning her about $350,000; Barnum netted at least $500,000 (equivalent to $14,708,000 in 2017).

Greatest Gardens - References - Netflix