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 [OS 7 September] – 13 December 1784), often called Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. He was a devout Anglican, and a committed Tory. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography classes him as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history". James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson was selected by Walter Jackson Bate as "the most famous single work of biographical art in the whole of literature". Born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, Johnson attended Pembroke College, Oxford, for just over a year before lack of funds forced him to leave. After work as a teacher, he moved to London and began writing for The Gentleman's Magazine. His early works include Life of Mr Richard Savage, the poems London and The Vanity of Human Wishes and the play Irene. After nine years' effort, Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language appeared in 1755, with far-reaching effects on Modern English. It was acclaimed as "one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship" and brought him popularity and success. Until the arrival of the Oxford English Dictionary 150 years later, Johnson's was the pre-eminent English dictionary. Later work included essays, an annotated edition of The Plays of William Shakespeare and a widely read The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia. In 1763 he befriended James Boswell, with whom he later travelled to Scotland, as Johnson described in A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland. Near the end of his life he produced a massive, influential Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets of 17th and 18th centuries. Johnson was tall and robust. His gestures and tics disconcerted some on meeting him. Boswell's Life, along with other biographies, documented Johnson's behaviour and mannerisms in a detail that allows a posthumous diagnosis of Tourette syndrome, a condition then still not defined or diagnosed. After several illnesses, he died on the evening of 13 December 1784 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. In subsequent years he was progressively seen to have had a lasting effect on literary criticism and claimed by some to be the one 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 18 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

1834 Site of the Black Bull Inn visited by Johnson and Boswell on August 15th 1773

, Banff, United Kingdom where they visited (1773)

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