Express & Star

Window work plan for Lichfield's Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum and Bookshop

A window leading to the roof at Lichfield's Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum and Bookshop is to be replaced.


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Operator Lichfield District Council wants to install a new roof access window on the second floor of the Grade I listed building in Breadmarket Street which was the first home of the writer and dictionary creator of the same name.

The existing main frame will be retained and there will be no other alterations to the historic attraction that has been the scene of royal visits.

Samuel Johnson

A heritage statement states: "The works involve replacing the existing roof access window with a new openable window to match the existing. The existing frames and sills of the window are to be retained.

"The window provides access to the roof/gutters for periodic maintenance and inspections. The window currently is jammed shut. Any gentle effort to try and open the window is going to result in damage and potential breakage of the opening light.

The birthplace museum and bookshop

"The application therefore arises from the applicant’s need to have a functionally operational window which will permit access to the difficult to reach roof areas.

"Brownhill Hayward Brown Architects have been commissioned by the applicant Lichfield City Council to submit a Listed Building Consent application for the proposal."

The council said the proposal will provide the much desired functionally operational window and would be an easier and cheaper option than relying on mechanical access from either the courtyard or adjacent roads for carrying out periodic inspections and maintenance of the difficult to access roof and gutters at the rear of the building.

The Dr Samuel Johnson statue

"The application site lies within Lichfield District’s designated conservation area. Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum is a biographical museum and bookshop located in the centre of the city of Lichfield, Staffordshire.

"The building is a Grade I listed building situated at the corner of Market Street and Breadmarket Street opposite the market square.

The Dr Samuel Johnson statue

"The museum opened in 1901 and is dedicated to the life and works of the author and lexicographer Samuel Johnson who wrote the first authoritative Dictionary of the English Language.

"Johnson's father built the house in 1707 and Samuel was born in the house on 18 September, 1709 and spent the majority of his first 27 years in the house before leaving for London in 1737.

The mosaic of Dr Johnson in Bird St, Lichfield, in 2005.

"The house was used as a commercial property for various trades between the time of Johnson's death in 1784 until the house was bought for the city by John Gilbert in 1900 for the purpose of retaining the building as a museum to Johnson. The house remains in active use as a museum."

In 2005 a new 50p coin was unveiled by The Royal Mint to mark the 250th anniversary of the first edition of Johnson's dictionary.
In 2005 King Edward School pupil Josh Sanderson, aged 12, checks out a dictionary at the museum after winning a Samuel Johnson quiz.
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