Dr Johnson’s House London – Home of the English Dictionary

Photograph and location map of Dr Johnson's House in London
Dr Johnson’s House London – Pioneer of the english dictionary – photo by flickr user Jim Linwood

Enter the world of words as you soak up the enchanting story of Dr Samuel Johnson at his townhouse standing tall and proud just off Fleet Street in London.

Dr Johnson’s house is one of a handful of Georgian townhouses that have survived in London. Hidden away from the madness of modern London through the maze of courtyards and alleys this house is perfectly preserved.

Behind William Shakespeare, he is the second most quoted person in the English language and is the mastermind behind a famous dictionary compiled while he lived in the elegant 18th-century house in the centre of London.

This mere house rescued in the early 19th century is a house not to be missed as it is the centre of English language. Explore the house and as you walk past the many portraits on the wall take a moment to get an inside view of Dr Johnson’s intelligence and the colourful life he led.

Highlights of the house include the opportunity to witness the glorious tea set that originally belonged to Mrs Thrales, a very close female friend of Dr Johnson. Even then, a cup of tea was the order of the day! Also, take note of the portrait located in the library, (was very likely to have been Dr Johnson’s bedroom) of Francis Barber. A gentleman who was known to have inherited the majority of his state.

But in order to get deep into the history of Dr Johnson and his world purchase the audio guide for £2. This guide takes you back to basics fleshing out the details of his many friends and equally many female acquaintances. Not only was Dr Johnson admired by the ladies but he was also very close to David Garrick, a well-known actor of the times.

Visitors are encouraged to linger and not to rush the experience, not just to appreciate the mass amounts of history in this house but to escape from the hustle and bustle of London and take time to read a book. This is, after all, one of the most memorable houses of words. In fact, it took the man of words years to write the first English dictionary and was not released to the world of critics until 1755.

Did you know that although we mistake this for the first dictionary created, he was in fact beaten by the Italians and the French? But it has to be said the work of Dr Johnson stands strides ahead and is the book everyone remembers.

I will leave the conclusion to the man of words himself as he was famous for an array of memorable quotes. “If a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. For there is in London all that life can afford”.

Dr Johnson’s House Opening times