Celebrate Johnson's 301st Birthday with Tea and Cake!

Published: 14 September 2010

Lichfield will celebrate the 301st Birthday of the City's most famous son, Dr Samuel Johnson, on Saturday 18th September and as usual the Birthplace Museum and Lichfield City Council will be leading the commemorations. Events begin at 11am on the Market Square, when a delicious cake provided by Hindley's the Bakers will be cut by the current President of the Johnson Society, the Bishop of Lichfield, and Mayor of Lichfield Christopher Spruce. Birthday cake will be available for all (while stocks last!) at the Birthplace Museum when it opens at 12.30pm.

Before then, crowds gathered on the Market Square can enjoy the annual Johnson Birthday ceremony including performances from King Edwards VI Band and the Cathedral Girl's School Choir, and the laying of a wreath on the Statue of Samuel Johnson, which has stood at the centre of the City since 1838. An afternoon of drama and entertainment will follow on the Market Square, including a not-to-be-missed performance by Intimate Theatre of a new production - 'Tempest in a Tea Pot!' at 2pm. This new comedy from the popular group includes some of the wonderfully wacky ideas held by some in the 18th century about the health effects of the nation's favourite tipple - to which of course our Dr Johnson had some very witty retorts!

Activities continue throughout the day in the Birthplace Museum, which is taking part in the City-wide Heritage Weekend. The theme of this year's event is 'Hidden Treasures' and visitors to the Birthplace can find out more about one of Dr Johnson's own treasured possessions - his very own tea pot. Johnson was a huge fan of the drink and is said to have taken up to 25 cups in one sitting! Find out more about Tea in the 18th Century in short gallery talks in the Museum at 2.30pm & 3.30pm. Younger visitors can also make a 'Tea Time Topper' hat with artist Kate Tilley, whose work can be seen throughout the Museum in the current exhibition 'Housemade'. The tea-themed activities also continue into the Museum's shop, where special Tea gift packs can be purchased or, for those who prefer something stronger, special Samuel Johnson ale packs from Blythe Brewery are on special offer to 'Visit Lichfield' card holders.

Opening hours on Saturday 18th September are 12.30pm-4.30pm. Normal opening hours are 10.30-4.30pm, every day of the week. Admission is always free. For more information, visit www.samueljohnsonbirthplace.org.uk or call 01543 264 972.