Dr Johnson’s House

Dr Johnson's House

Dr Johnson’s House, 17 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE

I have known about this museum for a few years as it is mentioned in many London literary trails and ‘off the beaten track’ guides. Last week as I was ambling along Fleet Street I decided to finally pop in and have a look.

I have to be honest and say I am not too familiar with Dr Johnson’s life and when I called through I wasn’t necessarily in the mood to walk around digesting lots of new information. However, I am glad I stopped in as it satisfied my curiosity. It was hard not to notice that most of the other guests were rather absorbed in the place.

Dr Johnson’s House is arranged over a few floors. It is rather spartan in decoration but gives you an idea of the space he lived in. Three highlights from the collection for me were:

  • A painting of John Wesley preaching at the original Cripplegate Church
  • A brick from the Great Wall of China, a monument which fascinated Dr Johnson
  • Facsimile copies of the original dictionary he created

The house also sports a costume section where you can dress up as one of Dr Johnson’s contemporaries. I did not make the most of this opportunity but I am sure this would appeal to others!

The gift shop is small but filled with a few interesting souvenirs such as bags and bookmarks with the famous ‘Tired of London, tired of life’ quote. Dr Johnson’s beloved cat also features in a some of the cards and other items. In fact, outside in the square his cat is honoured with its own statue. Perhaps if you don’t feel like parting with your £4.50, having your photo taken with Hodge may satisfy your Dr Johnson itch but you will miss the atmosphere inside.

English: Statue of Hodge in the courtyard outs...

English: Statue of Hodge in the courtyard outside Dr. Johnson’s House, 17 Gough Square, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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