What's On



Reading Circle

Past Exhibitions

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1666: Plague, War and Hellfire

Thursday 8 September, 7pm (doors open 6.15pm)

Built c.1698 as part of local reconstruction after the Great Fire of London had destroyed five-sixths of the medieval City, No. 17 Gough Square has a long and unique association with the fire services.

Rebecca Rideal, historian and editor of the popular online history magazine, The History Vault, will be shedding light on Restoration London as part of the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire and discussing her new book, a narrative history: '1666: Plague, War and Hellfire.'

An accompanying treat for your ears will be provided by Tamsin Lewis and Richard De Winter of historical dance and music specialists, Passamezzo, who will be performing three 17th-century fire ballads on a lute and Renaisaance violin.

The evening includes the opportunity to visit our current display, 'Dr Johnson's House and the Two Great Fires of London: 1666 & 1940' with a complimentary drink.

Tickets: £10 (includes a complimentary drink)
Booking required

Choose ticket

Rebecca Rideal is a specialist factual television producer and writer, whose credits include: Adventurers’ Guide to BritainBloody Tales of the Tower, and the triple Emmy award winning series David Attenborough’s First Life. She runs the online history magazine, The History Vault, and her new book, a narrative history, 1666: Plague, War and Hellfire, will be published in August 2016.

Passamezzo was founded by Tamsin Lewis in 2001, initially to explore the Jacobean Masque. The ensemble specialise in English Elizabethan and Jacobean repertoire, the masque remaining an important part of their programming, and concerts have a distinct theatrical air created by costume, readings and presentation. Tamsin has recently published three London broadside ballads in a new book, London Mourning in Ashes.



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Heritage Open Days at Dr Johnson's House

Sunday 11 September, 11am - 5pm

Heritage Open Days, the UK's biggest annual grassroots celebration of cultural heritage, are calling on you to 'treasure your treasures!'

As part of HOD's celebration of lives less ordinary, we're opening our doors to visitors for FREE. Explore all four floors of the late 17th-century house once home to Dr Samuel Johnson; view a host of original period features; dress-up as a Georgian lady or gentleman; and browse a facsimile copy of Johnson's monumental Dictionary- you might even learn a new word!

FREE entry all day
No booking required


House exterior

Heritage Open Days

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Open House Weekend at Dr Johnson's House

Saturday 17 September, 10am - 5pm
Sunday 18 September, 10am - 5pm

Visit us for FREE on Johnson's birthday weekend as part of Open House London- the capital's largest annual festival of architecture and design.

No. 17 Gough Square is a fine example of a late 17th-century London townhouse and retains a wealth of its original architectural features, including wooden pannelling, door handles and many curious hidden cupboards. View the surviving 18th-century security system and wonder at the famous 'swinging panels' on the open-plan first floor.

The Curators will be giving regular short architectural talks throughout the day.

FREE entry all day
No booking required



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Dr Johnson's Birthday Supper
with The Georgian Dining Academy

Thursday 22 September, 7 - 10.30pm

Miss B & Miss Kitty Pridden of The Georgian Dining Academy are delighted to offer a special collaboration event with Dr Johnson's House to celebrate the literary legend's birthday. Straying from our usual residence at Simpson's Tavern, we will be working our Georgian magic throughout the floors of this historic home to pay homage to Samuel Johnson and his many fascinating guests.

Guests will enjoy a fireless-candlelit evening of delights. Our infamous gin punch served in the Garret with some readings of Johnson's wise worlds to inspire us, under the very rafters that Johnson & six busy clerks worked tirelessly on his Dictionary. A delicious 18th-century inspired three course meal with wine served in the first floor rooms, moveable 18th-century panelling opens up to create a truly unique space where throughout the evening you will hear short talks on Johnson and his life within the house. In true Georgian style we will be encouraging the gambling of chocolate coins at your tables, the perfect way to wind down the evening with the port and cheese.

Joining us for the evening will be the delightful 18th-century expert & writer, Catherine Curzon, who will regale us with tales of 18th-century London. Many know her as Madame Gilflurt, the prolific & passionate host of the blog A Covent Garden Gilflurt's Guide to Life, where she runs her own fascinating salon on the Georgian world. The printers have recently been busy with her latest book Life in the Georgian Court, which has been received with much anticipation.

Guests are gently encouraged to dress up, the historic atmosphere of the evening is greatly enhanced with the addition of costumed diners. The Georgian Dining Academy is in no way a re-enactment, and we graciously and warmly welcome any who chose to make an effort - to whatever level that may be. Those of our guests wishing to embrace the idea of an 18th-century costume upgrade can enjoy a generous discount from West End costumiers Angel's

Tickets: £95.00
Booking required via
For any queries about the evening, please contact Miss B at georgiandining@gmail.com

Proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the upkeep and preservation of Dr Johnson's House and its collections

Georgian Dining Academy

Georgian Dining Academy

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Foxlowe: An Evening With Eleanor Wasserberg

Tuesday 27 September, 6 - 8pm

Dr Johnson's House is delighted to host an evening with Eleanor Wasserberg, author of 'Foxlowe', a chilling, compulsive debut about group mentality, superstition and betrayal – and a utopian commune gone badly wrong.

The evening includes a Q&A session with the author, a special reading of extracts from the work, and the opportunity to explore Dr Johnson's House with a complimentary glass of wine.

FREE admission, booking required via Eventbrite

'Mesmerising, gripping and beautifully written. It completely sweeps you up from beginning to end. I loved it.' Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat

'Will lure you in- then cut to the kill’ The Guardian

Foxlowe cover

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Sex, Scandal and Life Writing:
The Very Different Experiences of Dr Samuel Johnson, James Boswell and Irish Courtesan, Peg Plunkett

Thursday 27 October, 7pm (doors open at 6.15pm)

Historian Julie Peakman will explore the biographies, memoirs & autobiographical material of three very different 18th-century characters to reveal how their life experiences were skewed by gender.

The reasons why they wrote, the subject matter they wrote about, and the way they interpreted the Georgian world were all quite different, yet they overlapped in many ways, influenced by the morality around them.

The evening includes a complimentary glass of wine and the special opportunity to explore Dr Johnson's House after hours.

Tickets: £10 (includes a complimentary glass of wine)
Booking required

Choose ticket

Julie Peakman is a historian in 18th-century culture and the history of sexuality. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and Honorary Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is a frequent contributor to journals, magazines and television documentaries for BBC, Channel 4 and the Biography Channel. Her previous books, Mighty Lewd Books: The Development of Pornography in Eighteenth-Century England (Palgrave, 2003) and Lascivious Bodies: A Sexual History of the Eighteenth-Century (Atlantic Books, 2004) were both critically acclaimed. Her most recent book, Peg Plunkett: Memoirs of a Whore, draws on Peg’s original memoirs and the author’s extensive research in Ireland to tell the extraordinary life of the Georgian era’s most famous courtesans.


Sex, Scandal and Life Writing

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Dr Johnson, America's 'Yelps for Liberty' and the Indian Origins of US Foreign Policy

Thursday 3 November, 7pm (doors open at 6.15pm)

Jonathan King, Von Hűgel Research Fellow at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, will talk about Johnson's attitude to America, slavery and Native Americans, and how the need to pay for the American revolution shaped the Treaty system with Indian Nations.

Tickets: £10 (includes a complimentary glass of wine)
Booking required

Choose ticket

Jonathan King is a museum anthropologist interested in the history of ideas and institutions, and in collecting.  His recent publications include collaborative edited volumes about Turquoise (2012), Extreme Collecting (2012), Woodlands Art (2006) and Arctic Clothing (2005); Blood and Land: Ways of Seeing Native North America will be published in August 2016. While at the British Museum (1975-2012) he worked on the collections created  by the Museum's found, Sir Hans Sloane.


Taxation No Tyranny

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

1st Wednesday of each month (except Jan.), 3pm

Next walks:

August 3, September 7, October 5

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.

£5/£4 concessions. 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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