Dr Samuel Johnson
(1709-1784)

writer, Doctor (unknown type) (from 1765), and Doctor (unknown type) (from 1775)

Died aged 75

Samuel Johnson (18 September 1709 [O.S. 7 September] – 13 December 1784), often referred to as Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. Johnson was a devout Anglican and committed Tory, and is described by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history". He is also the subject of perhaps the most famous biography in English literature, namely The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell. Born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, Johnson attended Pembroke College, Oxford for just over a year, before his lack of funds forced him to leave. After working as a teacher, he moved to London, where he began to write for The Gentleman's Magazine. His early works include the biography Life of Mr Richard Savage, the poems London and The Vanity of Human Wishes, and the play Irene. After nine years of work, Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755. It had a far-reaching effect on Modern English and has been described as "one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship". This work brought Johnson popularity and success. Until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary 150 years later, Johnson's was viewed as the pre-eminent British dictionary. His later works included essays, an influential annotated edition of The Plays of William Shakespeare, and the widely read tale The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia. In 1763, he befriended James Boswell, with whom he later travelled to Scotland; Johnson described their travels in A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland. Towards the end of his life, he produced the massive and influential Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets, a collection of biographies and evaluations of 17th- and 18th-century poets. Johnson was a tall and robust man. His odd gestures and tics were disconcerting to some on first meeting him. Boswell's Life, along with other biographies, documented Johnson's behaviour and mannerisms in such detail that they have informed the posthumous diagnosis of Tourette syndrome, a condition not defined or diagnosed in the 18th century. After a series of illnesses, he died on the evening of 13 December 1784, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. In the years following his death, Johnson began to be recognised as having had a lasting effect on literary criticism, and he was claimed by some to be the only truly great critic of English literature.

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friend of Topham Beauclerk , founder of The Club and friend of James Boswell

Commemorated on 17 plaques

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Essex Street was laid out in the grounds of Essex House by Nicholas Barbon in 1675. Among many famous lawyers who lived here were Sir Orlando Bridgeman c.1606-1674 Lord Keeper, Henry Fielding 1707-1754 novelist and Brass Crosby 1725-1793 Lord Mayor of London. James Savage 1779-1852 architect had his office here. Prince Charles Edward Stuart stayed at a house in the street in 1750. Rev Theophilus Lindsey 1723-1808 Unitarian Minister founded Essex Street Chapel here in 1774. Dr. Samuel Johnson established an evening club at the Essex Head in 1783.

Essex Hall, Essex Street, Westminster, WC2, London, United Kingdom where they established an evening club at the Essex Head (1783)

Immediately to the south of this building stood the house occupied by Hester and Henry Thrale where Samuel Johnson and Fanny Burney were frequent visitors

78 West Street, Brighton, United Kingdom where they visited

In a house on this site Doctor Samuel Johnson lived between 1765-1776

Johnson's Court, Fleet Street, London, United Kingdom where they lived

Dr. Samuel Johnson author lived here b. 1709 d. 1784

17 Gough Square, London, United Kingdom where they lived

Here in the former Turk's Head Tavern Dr Samuel Johnson & Joshua Reynolds founded The Club in 1764

9 Gerrard Street, London, United Kingdom where they founded The Club

The house in which Dr. Samuel Johnson, was born Born 1709. Died 1784. Educated at Lichfield Grammar School. Buried in Westminster Abbey.

Market Street, Lichfield, United Kingdom where they was born (1709)

Hodge 'a very fine cat indeed' belonging to Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) of Gough Square. 'Sir, when a man is tired of London he is tired of life:for there us in London all that life can afford.' 'The chief glory of every people arises from its authors'

Gough Square, London, United Kingdom where they lived near

On this site stood Dame Oliver's Infant School where Dr. Samuel Johnson was taught English 1714. Born 1709. Died 1784.

10 Dam Street, Staffordshire, WS13 6AA, Lichfield, United Kingdom where they attended school

Near this site stood the Culstrubbe Gate of the City, one of four gates erected by Bishop Roger de Clinton (1129-1148). These buildings erected in 1849, now the Council Chamber and offices of the Lichfield Rural District Council, were formerly the 16th century Grammar School and Headmaster's House where many famous men including, Johnson, Garrick, Addison and Ashmole were educated.

The Old Grammar School, St John Street, Lichfield, United Kingdom where they attended school

Dr Samuel Johnson Born in the City of Lichfield 1709 died 1784 this mosaic by John Myatt after a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds was donated to the Citizens of Lichfield in June 1976 by Lichfield District Arts Association and Berger Paints

off Bird Street (opposite New Minster House), Lichfield, United Kingdom where they portrayed

In this house occupied by Thomas Davies bookseller Dr. Samuel Johnson first met James Boswell in 1763

8 Russell Street, WC2, London, United Kingdom where they met James Boswell (1763)

James Boswell (1740-1795) and Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) are reputed to have met and dined in this building circa 1770. James Boswell the Scot's writer was acclaimed for his literary classic "Life of Johnson" a biography of his illustrious friend Dr Samuel Johnson the learned scholar, philosopher and critic

Witchery Restaurant, Castlehill, Edinburgh, United Kingdom where they is reputed to have met and dined with James Boswell in this building (1770)

Boyds Inn. At which D. Samuel Johnson arrived in Edinburgh 14th August 1773. On his memorable tour to the Hebrides. Occupied the larger part of the site of this building.

Boyds Entry, Edinburgh, United Kingdom where they was (1773)

The Three Crowns. Dr Johnson frequently stayed here during his many visits to Lichfield. In 1776 he was accompanied by Boswell, who described him as "now monarchising with no fewer than three crowns over his royal brow".

Breadmarket Street, Lichfield, United Kingdom where they stayed

Dr. John Taylor was visited by Dr. Samuel Johnson at this house 1740-1784

The Mansion - Church Street, Ashbourne, United Kingdom where they visited (1740-1784)

The Old Rosslyn Inn (circa 1660-1866). Among the distinguished visitors were King Edward VII when Prince of Wales, Dr Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, Robert Burns and Alexander Naysmith, Sir Walter Scott, and William and Dorothy Wordsworth.

Chapel Loan, Roslin, United Kingdom where they visited

James's Court. David Hume and James Boswell were residents - and Dr Johnson a guest - in this 18th century courtyard. Declined c.1790 with rise of New Town. Buildings destroyed by fire 1857.

James's Court, Edinburgh, United Kingdom where they visited