In 1737 a Staffordshire schoolmaster called Samuel Johnson arrived in London. He was penniless and his future was uncertain. With him was one of the three pupils from his failed private school, David Garrick. Garrick was destined to become one of the most important actors on the English stage. But Johnson became one of the most able and eminent exponents of the English language.
Samuel Johnson’s most famous work is A Dictionary of the English Language. Indeed during his lifetime he became known as Dictionary Johnson.
But this was only one of his many literary achievements.
Johnson’s output also included biographies, poetry and a wide range of essays. He also produced the first revised edition of the plays of William Shakespeare.
Indeed, together with David Garrick, Johnson restored Shakespeare’s reputation for greatness.
Samuel Johnson was also a sociable man. He passed many evenings at The Mitre on Fleet Street in the company of David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith and others. With artist Joshua Reynolds, he founded The Club on Gerrard Street.
But perhaps his most famous friendship was with James Boswell, whose Life of Samuel Johnson preserved many of Johnson’s thoughts and experiences.
Join me on a stroll from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane to Fleet Street, the street which formed a focus for Johnson’s London life. Along the way you will hear some of Johnson’s own words, as well as extracts from Boswell’s Life.
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Details – Samuel Johnson of Fleet Street
Please go to Whats On? to see whether this tour is currently on offer, and for booking details
REMEMBER that these details are NOT for the virtual version of this tour!
MEET: at the exit from Covent Garden Underground Station, on James Street
Finish: Dr Johnson’s House at 17 Gough Square, near Chancery Lane Underground Station – details HERE
Duration: two hours (approximately)
If you have any questions about this tour, please contact me
Pictures sourced from Wikimedia Commons