"Dr Johnson, his House in Gough Square and his Cat, Hodge" by Amanda White
17 Gough Square, off London's Fleet Street was the home of Dr Samuel Johnson between 1748 and 1759. He moved to this elegant townhouse (annual rent £30) shortly after being commissioned to compile his great work: A Dictionary of the English Language. The garret provided an excellent space in which he and his assistants could work.
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At the window is Miss Anna Williams, a blind lady of letters who acted as Johnson's housekeeper and presided over the tea table. Downstairs is Francis Barber, Johnson's Jamaican born manservant who he treated more like a son and to whom he bequeathed most of his estate. Also at a ground floor window is a frequent visitor, the famous actor David Garrick who was a childhood friend. Not forgetting two of Dr Johnson's cats, the immortal Hodge (who now has a statue to his memory in the square) and Lily, who is on Miss Williams's lap. Look closely and you will see the shutters are made of clippings from pages of the great man's dictionary.
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