Johnson Birthday Celebrations Saturday, 20 September 2008 299 YEARS OLD TODAY!

Published: 10 September 2008

Every year for more than a century the City of Lichfield has celebrated her greatest son on his birthday. Doctor Samuel Johnson coined the motto of the City: "Salve Magna Parens" (meaning 'Hail, great mother'). This year in continuation of this tradition the dignitaries of the City (and Johnson's father was one of them in the 18th century) will once again parade through the streets in their traditional regalia to the Market Square where a wreath is laid on his statue, and tribute is paid to him in a small service of thanksgiving. Later in the day a great Supper of traditional English fare is held in the Guildhall under the auspices of "The Johnson Society" - For Johnson loved food and drink and good company! He said; "The man who does not mind his belly will hardly mind anything else!"

And it is not only here that he is remembered, for Samuel Johnson is a man of worldwide reknown. People will sit and drink to him in the far flung lands of the old empire ? in Calcutta, in Sydney; in many cities of the United States of America; in Uttoxeter where he stood in the pouring rain as an old man to show his regret at offending his father when he was a teenager; and likewise in London where his memory will be toasted with good food and good wine.

This year we are celebrating his 299th birthday with FREE birthday cake in the Birthplace Museum (Museum opens at 12.30pm and admission is free); and FREE entertainment in costume by Intimate Theatre, on the Market Square after the Service - performances are at 12.30pm and 1.30pm.**

And for the future, keep your eyes open for the BIG 300 celebration next year when the city will be ablaze with the name of the man who made Lichfield famous throughout the world.

** See below for details of the performances