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It’s your chance to vote – now and every day!

Updated: Jul 5

General Elections may be few and far between. However, here in the Dictionary garret we’ll be inviting you to cast your vote on every visit !  We’ll be offering you two choices – though your answer depends on what you believe about one of the key pieces in our new exhibition – the Johnson desk. 


In keeping with an election, across this section of the exhibition, you will find two ‘manifestos’. In one is the testimony of Ann Lowe, one of Johnson’s god children, who in 1855 suddenly reveals a Johnson desk, sitting in her parlour in Deptford.  Her persuasive account of her poverty, and the ‘poor fir desk’ on which Johnson wrote the Dictionary, prompted a successful charitable campaign steered by the writers Thomas Caryle and Charles Dickens. The desk, said Caryle, was of ‘capable of being rigorously authenticated’.  If you agree, then vote:

But, we’re also giving you a different story, underpinned by conflicting evidence on the desk and its history, in which Ann Lowe’s manifesto might not be all that it seems.  Ann Lowe’s letters might have persuaded Caryle – but will they persuade you?  The choice is yours – come and read the stories, see the desk, and vote now! 

No pen and pencil required. In keeping with the Dictionary garret and Johnson’s work in the eighteenth century, we’ll be providing a quill pen and hand made paper.


Copyright Prof Lynda Mugglestone



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