It was in Birmingham that he met Elizabeth Porter whom he was later to marry. She was twenty years older than Samuel, with three grown-up children from a previous marriage. Samuel also later treated his former servant, Francis Barber,
as a surrogate son. For more information about Barber, click here.
An attempt by Samuel and Elizabeth to set up a school outside Lichfield failed and led to the couple's removal to London.
Following several years of hack-work writing in London, Johnson was offered the major task of compiling an English Dictionary, a project which brought him fame though little financial reward. His years of struggle ended with the award of a government pension of £300 a year.
In the later years of his life he became, to some extent, public property, being sought by the famous and the obscure for his advice on literary and worldly problems.