Review: Dr Johnson’s House

A lunchtime museum trip to 17 Gough Square

Ever wondered what the house of the writer of the first dictionary looked like? No, me neither. But I do walk down Fleet Street every day and am always fascinated by its history and what would have been behind these old façades before modern renovators got hold of them                                                            

So taking a short detour off Fleet Street into Gough Square (right) you can go back in time and find out what a town-house in this area would have looked like 300 years ago and walk up the creaking staircase to learn more about Dr Samuel Johnson, the other inhabitants who lived here and his Dictionary of the English Language.

I do love the decor in old houses and this one is no exception; in particular I love the dark colours, borne out of practicality from all the soot flying around and you can see that here in the ground floor room with its dark grey walls, but also in the chocolate coloroud skirting boards of the second floor rooms. The first floor rooms were presumably the reception rooms with lighter skirting boards and tasteful green coloured walls.

But it is in the Garrett Room where Dr Samuel Johnson spent nine years with various helpers putting his dictionary together – six years behind schedule.    

The Garrett Room where Dr Johnson wrote his dictionary


  • The way the first floor is laid out with movable dividers is definitely an interior design tip I will be taking away with me.

First floor reception rooms

  • Playing with the dictionary in the Garrett Room looking at the way words were described by Dr Johnson and the difference between his style and current dictionaries. It’s very cute, with various quotes by each word making you realise why it took him so long

An extract from the dictionary you can flick through in the Garratt Room

One of the two folio’s of Dr Johnson’s dictionary you can view in the Garrett Room


2 responses to “Review: Dr Johnson’s House

  1. Pingback: Benjamin Franklin’s House – Museum Review | Please Don't Touch The Dinosaurs·

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