Birmingham City Council

The Johnson and Garrick Walk 2009

Many thanks for the help and support of Keith and Sue of Lake View Transport of Tamworth for providing Buzz, a ten year old Irish draught horse.

The Johnson and Garrick Walk 2009

This year marks the 300th year anniversary of the birth of one of our most famous writers Dr Samuel Johnson, noted for his Dictionary of the English Language who was also a poet, biographer, essayist, editor, reviewer and a great conversationalist.

Events in the UK, co-ordinated by The Samuel Johnson Tercentenary Committee commenced on 2 March 2009, the 272nd anniversary of the departure of Johnson and Garrick in 1737 from Lichfield for London to seek their fame and fortune.

A modern-day Johnson and Garrick are re-enacting their journey complete with period costume and shared horse (at the start and finish only). They will be visiting a school en route to talk about their walk and the lives of Johnson and Garrick. On arrival in London on Thursday 12th March, a reception will take place at the Guildhall.

Birmingham was the first stop on this epic journey. To celebrate there was a welcoming reception for Johnson (Prof Peter Martin) and Garrick (Dr Nicholas Cambridge) in the beautiful surroundings of the Shakespeare Memorial Room. Johnson and Garrick were welcomed by the Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Chauhdry Abdul Rashid There was also atmospheric baroque music and readings by Dr Fred Nicholls (former curator of The Johnson Birthplace Museum) from the works of Samuel Johnson. Some of Johnsons works will be on display.

Since the foundation of Birmingham Reference Library a particular interest has been taken in Samuel Johnson, who had close links with Birmingham during his early career. The collection of Johnsoniana has a history of steady growth from the 1860s to the present. It is now one of the most comprehensive Johnson collections in Europe, containing over 2,000 volumes of works by Johnson and books and periodicals about him. It includes almost all the first editions, such as the Dictionary, 1755, as well as a good range of later editions and critical works from the 18th century to the present day. It has recently been designated by the Museums, Libraries & Archives Council (MLA) as an outstanding collection. Birmingham Libraries will be celebrating Johnsons birth in September 2009 with a wide ranging visual display featuring aspects of his life and work.

Johnson Collection

The Johnson and Garrick Walk 2009