Past Events


Johnson Birthday Weekend

Friday, 17 – Monday, 20 September 2021

The President Elect, Posy Simmonds – cartoonist, writer and illustrator – will be installed at the Johnson Birthday Tea on Saturday, 18 September


AGM and Lecture

Wednesday, 17 March 2021 (Zoom event), 7.30pm (London time)

After the AGM business:

Philip Modiano: ‘The Reverend J. L Petit (1801–68): Artist and Leading Opponent of the Gothic Revival’


Annual Lecture

Tuesday, 2 March 2021 (Zoom lecture), 7.30pm (London time)

Kate Chisholm and Michael Bundock: ‘A “Neutral Being Between the Sexes”: Debating Johnson’s Feminism’


Winter Lectures 2020–2021

Sunday, 14 February 2021 (Zoom lecture), 2.30pm (London time)

Paul Myles: ‘Thomas Paine’

Sunday, 31 January 2021 (Zoom lecture), 2.30pm (London time)

Frans De Bruyn: ‘Samuel Johnson on the Value of Commerce: Economics and Morality in the Context of Empire and the Slave Trade’

Sunday, 17 January 2021 (Zoom lecture), 2.30pm (London time)

Phil Jones: ‘Of Monkeys and Men: Monboddo and Johnson’

Sunday, 22 November 2020 (Zoom lecture), 2.30pm (London time)

Tom Devlin: ‘Eighteenth-century Spoken Language and Regional Accents’


Johnson Birthday Weekend

18–20 September 2020

The restrictions necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic have made it impossible to hold the Johnson Birthday Supper for 2020, which was due to take place on Saturday, 19 September. Consequently the President Elect, Posy Simmonds  – cartoonist, writer and illustrator – will now be installed at the Birthday Supper on Saturday, 18 September 2021. Dr Rowan Williams has agreed to remain as President until that date.

Social distancing requirements will also mean that the civic celebration scheduled to be held in the Market Square, Lichfield at 12 noon on Saturday, 19 September will not go ahead. An alternative wreath laying will be arranged with a token number of representatives and no bystanders. This is a shame, but inevitable under the circumstances.


The Johnson Society Annual Outing 2020

In view of the Coronavirus situation, we regret that the outing to Bath which had been planned for Friday, 1 May 2020 had to be cancelled.

The Transactions content lists show the places we have visited in previous years.



In view of the ongoing Coronavirus situation, the business of the Society’s 2020 AGM was conducted by means of correspondence. All five motions submitted for voting were carried.


Annual Lecture

Monday, 2 March 2020

At the Methodist Church, Lichfield, at 7.30pm. Admission free – donations welcomed.

Emily Ireson (Fashion & Social Historian – The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust):

‘Fashions and Fancy: Clothing the 18th Century Lady – From Excesses of Fabric, to the Bare Minimum’


Winter Lectures 2019–20

All Winter Lectures start at 2.30pm and are held at Martin Heath Hall, Christchurch Lane, Lichfield WS13 8AY. Admission £3.50 (including tea and cakes).

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Dr Phil Jones: ‘Johnson, Accounting, Numbers and Life Writing’

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Professor Jonathan Reinartz: ‘A New Initiative in All Senses: Experiencing the 18th-century Hospital’

Sunday, 17 November 2019

The talk by Dr Tom Devlin on ‘18th Century Spoken Language and Regional Accents’ unfortunately had to be postponed because of illness. Instead, Dr Graham Nicholls gave a talk on ‘Four Quotations of Samuel Johnson’.


Johnson Birthday Weekend

14–16 September 2019

The new President, Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, was installed at the Johnson Supper on Saturday, 14 September. A full listing of Birthday Weekend events can be found here.


The Johnson Society Annual Outing 2019

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Visit to St John’s Gate and the Museum of the Order of St John, Clerkenwell, London.

Depart Lichfield 8:15am; arrive back in Lichfield 7:30pm.

Total cost, including coach and tour, £25.



Wednesday, 20 March 2019 

At the Guildhall, Lichfield, at 7.30pm.

Dr Annette Rubery: ‘Lichfield: Past and Present’


Annual Lecture

Saturday, 2 March 2019

At the Methodist Church, Lichfield, at 7.30pm. Admission free – donations welcomed.

A great honour to present one of the greatest Johnson scholars in the world:

Professor Robert DeMaria Jr., Henry MacCracken Professor of English, Vassar College & General Editor of the Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson:

‘Was Johnson innumerate?’


Winter Lectures 2018–19

All Winter Lectures start at 2.30pm and are held at Martin’s Heath Hall, Christchurch Lane, Lichfield, WS13 8AY. Admission £3.50. Refreshments available.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Dr Nick Seager: ‘Defoe in Scotland: Propaganda, Espionage, and Union’

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Dr Peter Collinge: ‘Aristocratic Women and the Buxton spa experience, 1780–1790’

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Dr Malcom Dick: ‘Joseph Priestley’


Other Events

Thursday, 7 – Sunday, 10 March 2019

At Stowe Pool boathouse, Lichfield, 11am – 3pm. Admission free.

‘Willow Words’

An installation showcasing poetry and prose inspired by Johnson’s Willow, written by visitors to Johnson’s Birthplace over the summer of 2018.


Saturday, 9 March 2019

At Stowe Pool boathouse, Lichfield, 12 noon – 12.45pm. Admission free.

‘Lichfield Poets – Readings on the Water’

Poetry readings inspired by Johnson’s Willow and the natural world.


Sunday, 7 July 2019, 10.30am and 3.30pm

The Friendship Walk

Following on from 2018’s Willow Walk, this year’s walk will again visit Johnson’s Willow and other places in the area with Johnsonian connections. The emphasis will be on the theme of friendship, inspired by Johnson’s famous comment: ‘A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.’