Plaque: Wine Office Court
Wine Office Court
"Sir" said Dr Johnson "if you wish to have a just notion of the magnitude of this great City you must not be satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares but must survey the innumerable little lames and courts."
This Court takes its name from the Excise Office which was here up to 1665. Voltaire came and, says tradition, Congreve and Pope, Dr Johnson lived in Gough Square (end of the Court on the left), and finished his Great Dictionary there in 1755. Oliver Goldsmith lived at No.6 where he wrote "The Vicar of Wakefield" and Johnson saved him from eviction by selling the book for him.
Here came Johnson's friends, Reynolds, Gibbon, Garrick, Dr Burney, Boswell and others of his circle.
In the 19th C. Came Carlyle, MacAulay, Tennyson, Dickens, (who mentions the Court in "A Tale of Two Cities") Forster, Hood, Thackeray, Cruikshank, Leech and Wilkie Collins. More recently came Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, Conan Doyle, Beerbohm, Chesterton, Dowson, Le Gallienne, Symons, Yeats - and a host of others in search of Dr Johnson, or "The Cheese".
The Rhymers' Club is not specifically mentioned on the plaque but Ye Olde Cheese is where Yeats etc. met so we have put the Club on the list of subjects commemorated.
Site: Wine Office Court (1 memorial)
EC4, Fleet Street, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub