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Dr Samuel Johnson

Top 5 Literary Places in London

19 November 2015 Sinéad Hurley

London has a rich literary history, from Dickens to Dr Johnson, Wollstonecraft to Keats. For those of you who are wondering where to start, we have put together a list of the places to visit - so read on!

Charles Dickens Museum

Explore the 19th Century at 48 Doughty Street, home of the Charles Dickens museum. Not only is the house itself magnificently maintained but it is also where one of Dickens’ most loved novels, Oliver Twist, was written, and it played an important part in his life, seeing the birth of his two daughters. Taking visitors through each room of the house, this museum is well worth a visit, not only to gain insight into the world of the period and indeed the life of Dickens, but also as it holds the most important collection relating to Dickens.

For more information see website.


Mary Wollstonecraft

Who wouldn’t want to see where one of the most important radicals and thinkers of the 18th Century spent most of their time? Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women and the mother of Frankenstein creator Mary Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft lived and worked right in the heart of North London, next to Newington Green. The London Borough of Islington has commemorated Wollstonecraft with a green plaque on the Primary School building, which is near the site where Wollstonecraft established a school for girls. She also appears in a work of graffiti on the side of the Newington Green Unitarian Church, of which she was a member. Although this square proved to be such an important part of her life in London, there is currently no monument to Wollstonecraft as of yet. But if the Mary on the Green Campaign has anything to do with it, there will be one shortly!

For more information & other places Wollstonecraft spent her time in London see website.


Dr Samuel Johnson’s House

Visit a small town house, which was the home to one of the greatest literary figures of the 18th Century, a regular contributor to The Idler, The Rambler and author of The Lives of Poets. This house, on Gough Square, is where Johnson moved to write his most famous work, A Dictionary of the English Language. In the square itself (as seen in a recent episode of The Apprentice, for all those suits out there) sits a statue of a cat. Not just any cat, but Johnson’s beloved pet Hodge for whom he is said to have gone out and purchased oysters! This is a place not to be missed for all those who love 18th Century literature!

For more information see website.


Keats House

We are back to the Romantic period for the next stop, the home and museum of Keats. Here is the tree under which he is said to have written Ode to a Nightingale, and where he fell for Fanny. Keats’ museum is not only a celebration of his work, but of all poetry! It has also just won Best Local Culture in Hampstead award in the Love London Awards. Well deserved!

For more information see website.


Sherlock Holmes Museum

Classic literary detective duo Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John H. Watson famously cohabited at 221b Baker Street. For anyone who grew up reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s much loved stories, or who has recently fallen in love with the BBC’s Sherlock series with the fabulous Benedict Cumberbatch, this is certainly one place to visit. The 1st floor study that overlooks Baker Street has been carefully maintained so you really get a feel for the Victorian period.

For more information see website.
 

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