Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Dr Johnson’s 312th birthday celebrations









Each year the writer Samuel Johnson (1709-84) is remembered in his home city of Lichfield, Staffordshire, on a Saturday near his birth date, 18 September.  In 2021 18 September was a Saturday, and a series of events were held on that day.  These included family activities (‘make your own Georgian teapot’), story telling, and a performance by the Lichfield Poets on the theme ‘Edible England’.  However, the main public event was the Civic Ceremony which took place in the Market Place at noon.

At about 11.55 a procession left from the Guildhall to walk the short distance to Johnson’s statue in the Square.  A ‘traditional hymn’ was sung before the mayor placed a ‘laurel [Prunus laurocerasus] chaplet’ on the statue’s plinth, saying:

‘As Mayor of this Ancient and Loyal City it is my priviledge to place on the statue of Dr Johnson, a laurel chaplet to his immortal memory and as a tribute to his genius.’

Johnson’s ‘last prayer’ was sung, all were invited to join in singing John Bunyan’s Who would true valour see, followed by a blessing given by a canon of the Cathedral, and thanks from the mayor, before the procession returned to the Guildhall.

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