Where: Dr. Johnsons House, 17 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE
£: 4.50 (Concessions 3.50, children 1.50 and family ticket 10)
What is it?
Of the numerous houses that lexicographer Dr Samuel Johnson lived in, 17 Gough Square is the only surviving one. The house is decorated and furnished to give the visitor an insight into how it would have been at the time. Each room has an information sheet explaining a bit about the paintings, furniture and the life of Dr Samuel Johnson.
The paintings and sketches show the varied array of people who Johnson socialised with including religious figures, artists, criminals and intellectual women. In fact the women in Johnson’s life have a whole room dedicated to them. Although the furnishing of some rooms is sparse, you do get an idea of how it would have been at the time. There is also a nice section on how the house was used during WWII, which gives an extra dimension to the history of the house itself.
I think the most interesting aspect of the museum is Johnson’s fairly progressive attitude. He clearly appreciated the company of intellectual women and his relationship with his servant and heir, Francis Barber was telling of his thoughts towards race and slavery.
Guide books are available on the house but with the amount of information in each room, it isn’t necessary to buy one. The staff who run the house are helpful and friendly. For the small price of £4.50 you have the opportunity to poke around a house which may not be full of furniture but is certainly full of information. Much like Johnson’s dictionary itself.
More info: Dr Johnson’s House