Johnson was an English writer and critic, and one of the most famous literary figures of the 18th century. His best-known work is his 'Dictionary of the English Language'.
Samuel Johnson was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, on 18 September 1709. His father was a bookseller. He was educated at Lichfield Grammar School and spent a brief period at Oxford University, but was forced to leave due to lack of money.
In 1737, Johnson moved to London where he struggled to support himself through journalism, writing on a huge variety of subjects. He gradually acquired a literary reputation and in 1747 a syndicate of printers commissioned him to compile his 'Dictionary of the English Language'. The task took eight years, and Johnson employed six assistants, all of them working in his house off Fleet Street.
The dictionary was first published on 15 April 1755. It was not the first such dictionary, but was certainly the most important at that time and in Johnson's lifetime five further editions were published, and a sixth came out after he died. In 1763, he met James Boswell, a young Scottish lawyer, whose 'Life of Johnson' (published in 1791) did much to spread Johnson's name. Johnson died on 13 December 1784 and is buried at Westminster Abbey.
Dr Johnson's House is one of the few residential houses of its age still surviving in the City of London. Built c.1700, it was a home and workplace for Samuel Johnson 1748-1759, and it was here that he compiled the first comprehensive English Dictionary. Now restored to its original condition, the house contains panelled rooms, a pine staircase, and a collection of period furniture, prints and portraits. Situated to the north of Fleet Street, the house is found among a maze of courtyards and passages that are a reminder of historic London.
Dr. Johnsons House, 17 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE and is open to the public throughout the year.
The opening hours are: Monday to Saturday
11am - 5.30pm (May to September incl.)
11am - 5pm (October to April incl.)
To get there from the Americana; take the Bakerloo Line southbound from Baker Street and change at Oxford Circus to the Central Line. Take the Cental Line eastbound to Chancery Lane. When you exit the station walk down High Holborn towards Holborn Circus and take the right turn into Fetter Lane. West Harding Street is a left turn and this leads into Pemberton Row and then Gough Square.