Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Johnson's 300th Begins In Style

Yesterday morning we diverged from our usual route to work in order to catch Dr Nicholas Cambridge (as Garrick, above left) and Professor Peter Martin (as Johnson, right) setting off for London, an event that marked the official opening of Johnson's 300th birthday celebrations. They posed for me outside the newly-painted grey door of the Birthplace while waiting for the BBC, who had somehow got lost en route from Birmingham.

We really wished we could have stayed longer; we saw the Mayor and his macebearers, all decked out in their civic regalia. We chatted to one of the macebearers who was carrying the gilt mace (see below). Thrillingly, he let me put on his white glove and hold it, with the weight supported on my shoulder. He told us it dated from the reign of William & Mary (1689-1694) - I was actually holding an object that Johnson and Garrick probably saw on civic occasions in Lichfield in the 18th century!

Photographs © Memoirs of the Celebrated Mrs Woffington.

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Halldor said...

Lichfield: it's basically Trumpton with a Waitrose!

For the benefit of readers in our former North American colonies, I should say - stuff like this happens all the time over here.

Mrs Woffington said...

Unfortunately, just turning up to say hello did not qualify for a Waitrose goodie bag.

Polly said...

Looks like the play was good fun, watching a play in a room rather than on a stage is a very different experience, isn't it, did you feel like you're a part of it?

Lichfield sounds great... I did actually visit Lichfield... once... many, many years ago... I remember the gothic cathedral.

Mrs Woffington said...

Hi Polly, yes I prefer that intimate style of performance - I think they're doing something else later in the year which will involve interacting with vistors to the museum in character, so might try to catch that too - it sounds like a laugh!