Sunday, January 14, 2007

Lichfield

About 40 minutes away from us by car is one of my favourite places and on Saturday we decided to pay it a visit. Lichfield is one of the smallest cities in England but for me has more to offer than some of the larger ones. I think it is because it is steeped in history, many of its historic buildings have been preserved, and it takes great pride in itself and its heritage. I just love walking round the streets and imagining what it was like many years ago. As you journey towards Lichfield you can see the three spires of the cathedral and they draw you towards the centre.

In the 18th century it was the home of many famous people including Dr. Samuel Johnson; the actor, David Garrick; physician, poet and botanist Erasmus Darwin and the poet Anna Seward who was also known as the 'Swan of Lichfield.' There is a plaque on the wall outside the George Inn on Bird Street, to say that playwright George Farquhar stayed there whilst recruiting troops in Lichfield and he wrote some of his play ‘The Recruiting Officer’ there around 1705/6.

The new Garrick theatre opened in July 2003. The first season was directed by actor Corin Redgrave and one of its highlights was a production of Farquhar’s ‘The Recruiting Officer.’ I think the outside is very interesting. Nice coffee inside, too.

Here in Erasmus Darwin’s house would occasionaly gather together some of the most noted men of the 18th century. Known as the Lunar Society because they met when it was a full moon so they could see to travel in the dark they were some of the most famous names in science and industry England has known; including Matthew Boulton, Josiah Wedgwood, Joseph Priestly and James Watt. Can you imagine the conversations, around a candle lit table, as the friends discussed the latest ideas in science, industry, philosophy and politics. Amazing.

You can also visit Dr. Johnson's birthplace museum and bookshop and there are statues of Johnson and his friend James Boswell in the market square. I didn't take photos of these as the square is being refurbished and at present, resembles a building site.

3 comments:

  1. sorry, sissy - they seem to be back now. I think our hosting service is having maintenance downtime or something - hope you can see them on your next visit.

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  2. Yes, I see them today, Rosie!!
    I love your pics!

    ReplyDelete