What's On



Reading Circle

Past Exhibitions

Online events at Dr Johnson's House

We are in the process of putting together an exciting programme of online events whilst we are unable to hold events at the House. Check back soon to find out more about what we have planned.
Below you can see the sort of events we hold at the House:


The Garret at Dr Johnson's House

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The Art of the Eighteenth-Century Obituary

Wednesday 8 April 7pm (doors open at 6.30)

"We ne’er shall look upon his like again! Never on earth did one mortal body encompass such true greatness and such true goodness. The limits of our OBITUARY are too scanty to speak forth half his praise." So the publisher John Nichols lamented the death of his friend, Samuel Johnson, in The Gentleman’s Magazine for December 1784.

The obituary is one of the eighteenth century’s greatest inventions – a product of the age’s fascination with all forms of biography, and a rapidly expanding market for printed news. No one did more to popularise it than Nichols, who was mocked as a ‘death-hunter’ for his pains. Join Dr Rebecca Bullard to discover what eighteenth-century obituaries can tell us about the world in which Samuel Johnson lived and worked, and how they compare with printed memorials in our own time.


Satire on John Nichol

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Whigs in Wigs: Fashions and Politics in the 18th Century

Saturday 30 May 2pm

The 18th Century saw much political upheaval, as well as some of the most exaggerated and infamous fashion trends in Western History. We are well aware today of the links between politics and fashion; whether it be wearing slogan t-shirts, ties in party colours or buying garments made in Britain. The 1700s was no different – from fashionistas like Georgina The Duchess of Devonshire, to the outlawing of highland dress in 1746, this talk will examine how fashion was politicised during the 18th Century.

Katie Godman is a Costume Librarian for Islington Education Library Service. She studied MA Fashion Cultures: History and Culture at London College of Fashion and received the Yarwood Award from the Costume Society to fund her research into women’s fashion the early 1800s. She writes book reviews for The Journal of the Association of Dress Historians. Her own books are represented by the John Jarrold Agency and she is currently working on a proposal for a book on the history of Gothic fashion, as well as drafting a novel set during the Napoleonic Wars.

Free with standard admission charge

Kitty Fisher

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Viral Satire in Dr Johnson’s London

Thursday 11 June 7pm (doors open at 6.30pm)

Satire was everywhere in the age of Dr Johnson. Although the eighteenth century was by most historical standards a peaceful and prosperous one, its writers and artists were always at one another’s throats. Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera, and Alexander Pope’s Dunciad took the literary world by storm. Everyone read them despite their darkness and oddity. Even at the end of the century a spirit of satire still animated the novels of Frances Burney, Jane Austen and Maria Edgeworth. It was an age of irony, and only the Romantic-period cults of sincerity and sentiment could bring it to an end.

The story of satire in the eighteenth century has many parallels in the divided culture of twenty-first century Britain. Then as now satire happened virally, in bursts of angry energy. Cultural bubbles and silo mentality helped it to flare up, as they do today. Theirs, like ours, was an age of information technology and social awakening: satire still mocks such advances with gloomy glee. In this lecture Dr Paddy Bullard, editor of The Oxford Handbook of Eighteenth-Century Satire, asks what we can learn from the triumphs and failures of an older generation of satirists for our own fractious age.


Jame Gillray print

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Follow in Johnson's footsteps and explore the courts and alleys off Fleet Street with an experienced City Guide.

Walks take place on the 1st Saturday of each month (except Jan.) 2pm

Groups may also book walks at alternative times. For any enquiries please contact us.

Dr Johnson's Fleet Street - Discover Johnson's life and work in and around Fleet Street and his acquaintances in the area.
Dr Johnson's City - Explore the Fleet Valley, Ludgate Hill and St Paul's Churchyard areas as Johnson knew them.

£7.00 No booking required. Meet outside Dr Johnson's House.

This is a joint venture between Dr Johnson's House and the City Guides.

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Johnson and Boswell 'Walking down the High Street' by Rowlandon

Events information

Most events sell out and tickets must be bought in advance. Card payments are processed by PayPal. We regret that we are unable to take card payments over the phone.

Customers wishing to pay by cheque should send a cheque payable to 'Dr Johnson's House Trust Ltd' to Dr Johnson's House, 17 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE. Please include your contact details. We will let you know when your cheque arrives.

Please note the House contains unavoidable steps. For more information about access, please visit our Facilities page.

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