Fleet Street : Dr Johnson's Georgian London

Visit four historic taverns in Dr Johnson country, as we meander our way through the streets and alleys of Legal London

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford"                                                                                              Dr Samuel Johnson

Who was Dr Samuel Johnson ? Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) wrote "A Dictionary of the English Language", published in 1755. This was the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language and it was by far the most widely used English dictionary for the next 170 years. Johnson's Dictionary has been described as "one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship". Dr Johnson is also the subject of "the most famous single work of biographical art in the whole of literature" - James Boswell's "Life of Samuel Johnson". Dr Johnson lived almost the whole of his adult life in London, and spent most of it in the many taverns, coffee-houses and residences in and around Fleet Street.

About this Trail. As long ago as the 18th Century, Dr Johnson'simages great friend and biographer, James Boswell, once remarked :

"London is to the politician merely a seat of government, to the grazier a cattle market, to the merchant a huge exchange, and to the man of pleasure an assemblage of taverns".

And so it still is today. And the taverns in this part of Old London are encrusted as thick with anecdotes, legends and traditions as an old ship is with barnacles. This trail takes in four historic taverns in Dr Johnson country, as we meander our way through the streets and alleys of Legal London. We visit a late-Victorian pub in "the street of shame", an exquisite Edwardian tavern which is a landmark in the history of English decorative art, and two, very different, 17th Century treasures which have the charm of centuries upon them. Our selection of historic taverns includes the oldest pub in London and the best preserved example in London of what a 17th Century tavern was really like. These taverns beckon you into a bygone era.Temple_Bar_Memorial_ILN_1880

You will also discover on this Trail the maze of hidden alleys and courtyards that is the Inner & Middle Temples, the Church of "The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ" (better known as the Knights Templar), the first Tea Room in London, the famous Temple Bar Memorial, the 17th Century home of Dr Johnson, and one of Sir Christopher Wren's masterpieces : the so-called "Cathedral of Fleet Street".

This Trail lasts approximately two & a half hours and covers a walking distance of just over one mile (approximately 2 km). The Trail finishes right next to Blackfriars Underground Station (Circle & District Lines).

Where to meet ?  Monday - Friday : meet just outside the entrance to Temple Underground Station (Circle & District Lines). Note : on Saturdays there is a different meeting place for this tour, which is just outside the entrance to Blackfriars Underground Station (Circle & District Lines). This tour does not run on Sundays.

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