Dr Johnson’s House (by Robert)

posted in: Blog, London | 2

Dr Johnson is the famous writer of the English dictionary. But what’s not so famous is how it all began and how his great idea became a book which everybody has.

It all started in Gough Square, which comes in from Pemberton Row in London. Dr Johnson’s house is 17 Gough Square and here you can experience the story of  his life and those who knew him, from his friends to his humble servant. Even the door is interesting. There were no police in London at that time, so you had to be very careful. That is why the door is so thick and has spikes at the top and a really heavy chain across it.

You can choose whether to have an audio guide or not. I recommend getting the audio guide, which is £2 for two people. Without it you are wandering around without finding that much out.

My favourite bit was the dressing up. Below you can see a picture of me and my mum change from modern clothes to a proper gentleman and lady wearing really heavy outfits. Now I know why women had fans, men should have had them too!

You can also go into the top of the house where Dr Johnson sat with his cat and actually wrote his dictionary. He started it a long long time ago in the 1740s and it took him nine years. It wasn’t actually the first dictionary ever written, but Dr Johnson felt that a better dictionary was needed. For example, the older one had “a colour” for the definition of “black” and “a well known animal” for “dog”!

You can feel and read a copy of one of the first dictionaries and see some of the originals behind a cupboard.

Dr Johnson’s house was a great day out and I think parents and their children will like it.
It was very interesting and also fun.

It cost £4.50 for adults, and £1.50 if you are between 5 and 17, although a family ticket for two adults and two children is £10.

More by me! 

A visit to Cadburyworld

Gromits set loose


2 Responses

  1. Mari's World

    How interesting, you’ve taught me something new today and I am fascinated by his front door, now that is what I call a safety chain 🙂

    • Sarah Ebner

      Yes, I don’t think it was quite as safe in those days as it is now! In Oliver Twist, they drop Oliver in through the top of a door like this one, so Dr Johnson clearly didn’t want that to happen to him!

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