Thursday, March 19, 2009
A Visit to Dr. Johnson's in London
While in London I had the pleasure of dropping in at Dr. Johnson's pad, which I had never been to. I know based on the bloggings of Mrs. Woffitngton, who is based in Litchfield, that the famous author's birthplace is usually bubbling over with activity, especially with this year marking his 300th birthday. I had expected the same of Johnson's London home.
Although the house was impressive enough in being a fairly unchanged Georgian townhouse, it really had nothing more to boast of. As I walked through the creaky house I couldn't help but think about how incredibly empty it was. It was void of any signs of living, only a few chairs here or there. When I walk into historical homes I like to picture how its inhabitants lived there. A couch and tea table over here, a portrait they really liked there; Johnson's house did not have this. Rooms would have historical prints of Johnson's circle with information, or a few of his letters. One room even displayed a pair of glasses that were similar to what Johnson would have worn. Of course there was a campy video of Johnson giving a tour of his house which was on loop, and some Georgian clothes for children (or bored art historians) to try on, but not too much else. Did Johnson get rid of all his worldly possessions when he died? My advice is to walk by it if your on Fleet Street, but don't waste your money going in.
That money can be better speant here: The Olde Cock Pub. This was Sam's local pub, where he spent much of his time. Although we found this out at Johnson's house because they had the chair he always sat in while at the pub, we had an easier time picturing the man himself in this setting than at his own home.