What's On



Reading Circle

Past Exhibitions

end of section

London Shh: Behind the Scenes

Tuesday 3 May, 6.30 - 8.30pm
Stephens House and Gardens

Wondering how to start your museum career? Join representatives from London Shh! and special guests from the sector to learn more about careers in museums and network with heritage professionals.

Entry is FREE, booking required
Please click here to register

London Shh houses
end of section

Boswell and the First World War:
When Kaiser Wilhelm met Dr Johnson

A talk by Gordon Turnbull, General Editor of the Yale Editions of the Private Papers of James Boswell
Tuesday 10 May, 7pm (doors open at 6.15pm)

In late 1902, King Edward VII, sensing the ugly tensions brewing between Germany and Britain, invited Kaiser Wilhelm to England for a goodwill visit, whose ‘Crowning Event’ (in the words of The New York Times) was a ‘Gala Performance at Sandringham House’ of two short plays, one of them a trifling and now wholly forgotten short comedy, 'Doctor Johnson: An Episode in One Act.'

This talk revisits this little-known moment in early twentieth-century Anglo-German diplomacy to examine what was at stake in the deployment of the theatricalised figure of the Boswellian Johnson as part of an effort to defuse international antagonisms building dangerously towards war.

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

Choose ticket

Gordon Turnbull is General Editor of the Yale Editions of the Private Papers of James Boswell, overseeing a global editorial team bringing to publication selections of the vast archive of James Boswell's private papers. He has taught in Yale's English Department and at Smith College, is the author of numerous scholarly and critical essays on Boswell, Johnson, and their circle, has taught and lectured widely on these authors, and is a regular speaker at the annual Boswell Book Festival held at Dumfries House, Ayrshire. He is at work now on a study commissioned by The Boswell Trust of the relationship between the Boswells of Auchinleck and their aristocratic Ayrshire neighbours, the Countesses and Earls of Dumfries.

James Boswell after Sir Joshua Reynolds 1786

end of section

After Hours at Dr Johnson's House

Thursday 12 May, 5.30 - 8pm (drop-in)

Spend a summer’s eve exploring the four floors of 17 Gough Square before enjoying a glass of wine in Johnson’s atmospheric Withdrawing Room.

Discover the Garret where the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language was written in the mid-18th century and see a first-edition copy of the work on display.

Part of the 2016 Museums at Night festival

Museums at Night logo

Usual admission fees apply
(includes a complimentary glass of wine)
No booking required

The Parlour in Dr Johnson's House

end of section

A Random Dictionary: An Art and Language Workshop

Saturday 28 May, 11am - 12pm (aimed primarily at ESOL students, but open to anybody with an interest in and love for language!)

Work in collaboration with Artist in Residence Lorena Carbajal to engage in playful explorations of Dr Johnson’s Dictionary. Play with words, language, translations and definitions in this unusual ‘English lesson/Art project’.

This event is run by the Artist and an experienced EFL Teacher, as part of the Artist's residency at Dr Johnson’s House.

The workshop is FREE, although booking is required
To reserve your place, please
contact the Deputy Curator

Lorena Carbajal’s artistic work and theoretical research engage with ideas of language, translation, communication and misunderstanding. During her residency at Dr Johnson’s House, Lorena will be developing an artistic project engaging with Dr Johnson’s Dictionary.


A Random Dictionary
end of section

Living in Dr Johnson's House

A free lunchtime talk by Laura Carter
Saturday 28 May, 2pm

Dr Johnson’s House, at number 17, dominates Gough Square. Yet a curious building sits next door: ‘The Curator’s Cottage.’ Built in 1912 when the House first opened to the public, the cottage was occupied by three successive generations of female custodians from the same family.

In this talk Laura Carter will draw on the House's recently catalogued archives and the contemporary popular press to explore the working lives of these live-in keepers. She will ultimately consider how the story of these women challenges gendered assumptions about the practice of amateur history in twentieth-century Britain.

FREE after usual admission fee
No booking required

Laura Carter is a PhD student in History at the University of Cambridge. Her work focuses on women, museums, and public educational initiatives relating to the understanding of history in Britain in the twentieth century.

Newspaper clipping (The Inconveniences of Living in Dr Johnson's House'), The Star, 1924

The Inconveniences of Living in Dr Johnson's House, 'The Daily Star', 1924 (Dr Johnson's House archive)

end of section


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:

May 4, June 1, July 6

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.

City of London Guides logo End of section

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.

LondonShh. Small Historic Houses Link to London Shh website Accredited Museum