Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London



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18 August 2009

Visit Samuel Johnson's House

The man whose quote inspired this website, the author of the dictionary, the great poet, essayist, moralist, novelist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer, Dr Samuel Johnson is 300 years old this year, so it's the perfect moment to learn a little more about him. The best place to begin the journey is the building at 17 Gough Square, off Fleet Street, which he made his home.

In the house you can learn a lot about the life of the great wig-wearing manic depressive who lived there, and all those who he allowed to share it. The garret where he formulated his dictionary is still furnished in a similar style to how it would have been in his lifetime, and a copy of his will still hangs on the wall.

The house was acquired by an MP in 1911, thoroughly restored, and opened to the public in 1912. During the Second World War the house was damaged by incendiary bombs on three occasions. The House was saved by the Auxiliary Fire Service, who had been allowed to use it as a rest centre and arts club by the serving curator, who should be congratulated on her foresight as well as her generosity.

Your author does not want to spoil the experience by recounting all the stories of Johnson's residence here, but would encourage readers to visit. £4.50 well spent.

The house is open Monday to Saturday, 11am - 5.30pm in summer, and 11am - 5pm in winter. It's near the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub off Fleet Street. For more information, visit http://www.drjohnsonshouse.org/

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