Dr Samuel Johnson, the compiler of the first ever dictionary of the English language, lived here from 1748 to 1759. Opened to ... More
Dr Johnson's House
Dr Samuel Johnson, the compiler of the first ever dictionary of the English language, lived here from 1748 to 1759. Opened to the public for the first time in 1912, and having survived several near misses during the Blitz, Dr Johnson's House has been restored to its original condition, including paneled rooms, a pine staircase and a collection of period furniture, prints and portraits. The house is nestled in a maze of courtyards and passages that are reminiscent of historic London. Timings vary. Check website for details.
As the place where the first comprehensive English dictionary was written, Dr. Johnson's house is not set up like your typical museum. Each room -- styled as it was in the 18th century -- contains a laminated sheet of paper describing what the room was used for, and pointing out several interesting tidbits about the space. A video on the second floor details general information about the house (you're going to either love it or hate it) personally I thought it was rather cute. Ultimately though, what the museum is best as is not reconstructing the house where the first dictionary was written, but reconstructing the life of the man who wrote it. James Boswell chose Johnson as the subject of the first biography ever written for a good reason. In his time Johnson was friends with author Fanny Burney, and superstar actor David Garrick, who managed Drury Lane theater for 29 years. When he died left most of his fortune to his black servent. The museum does an excellent job describing Johnson's life and friends, and it is this, more than a glimpse at the place the first dictionary was written, that most visitors will appreciate.
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