A rare surviving middleclass home from the 18th century (built in 1700), this slouching and brickfaced abode happens to be that of famous lexicographer Samuel Johnson, who lived here from 1748 to 1759. If you’re hoping to learn a lot about him, you’ll have to spring for a book in the gift shop. Little substance is provided in the house itself, which fortunately merits some mild interest on its own terms (the corkscrew latch on the front door, which prevented lock-picking from above, is an example). The rooftop garret in which Johnson and six helpers toiled to publish the first comprehensive English dictionary was burned out in the Blitz, ironically, by a barrel of burning ink which flew out of a bombed warehouse; you can still see some scorch marks on the ceiling timbers. Ink defined the house and nearly destroyed it, but it also saved it, because the printers who used it in the intervening years boarded up the walls, preserving them. While you’re here, pop round the corner to the wonderful Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub. Dr. Johnson sure liked to.
Dr Johnson’s House
17 Gough Sq., EC4
Our Rating Hours May–Sept Mon–Sat 11am–5:30pm; Oct–Apr Mon–Sat 11am–5pm. Transportation Tube: Blackfriars Phone 020/7353-3745 Prices Admission £7 adults, £6 seniors and students, £3.50 children 5–17 Web site Dr Johnson’s House
Map17 Gough Sq., EC4 London
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.