Highgate Cemetery

I’ve been a bad boy in terms of posting. My boss was in town for the week and we’re reaching the climax of the project I’ve been working on, so it’s been busy. At least the map has a few more additions. Anyway, time to go back a couple of weeks and catch up.

The weekend Mac and Jen were in town (gastro!!!) was a bank holiday weekend, I was sick and it was pretty rainy. Well, after a few days of being in the house a lot trying to recover, I decided to spend my Monday off outdoors, rain and cold be damned. It probably wasn’t the brightest idea, but it was worth it because I saw Highgate Cemetery. A little background: in Victorian England, people liked to be buried. If they could afford a big-ass grave, even better. Basically, the demand for more cemeteries was very high. As a result, the government allowed a number of private entities to set up shop ringing what was at the point the outskirts of London with some cemeteries to deal with the fact that all the burial sites within London were full. Highgate cemetery was one of them. In it’s heyday, 25 people a day were being buried here. However, I guess less people started dying or more people started wanting cremations and business (remember, this was private company) went sour. The company that owned the cemetery closed the gates and locked it for good. Some locals got worried about vandalism and the future of the cemetery and they bought it and created a trust so it would remain protected. The cemetery closed in the 1970s and was picked up by the locals shortly thereafter. However, the last fulltime maintenance staff had been laid off in the 1950s and, as a result, the cemetery became amazingly over-grown. While they try to do some work on the grounds, the actual grave sites are owned by the people buried in them (or there families) many of whom don’t seem to take an active interest and the cemetery trust doesn’t appear to have authority to do much more than make sure the paths are cleared (they don’t own the actual grave site land). As a result, Highgate cemetery has a beautiful, lush, green and wild feel to it.

Like I said, it was a cold and rainy day, but 15 of us showed up to take a guided tour. It was guided by a local funeral director who had a friendly, morbid sense to him which made the tour all the more entertaining. Allow me to show you a bunch of pictures:

This is the entrance to the West Cemetery which is the older part.


A beautiful grave marker overgrown


Look how deep they are inside what is now a forest


Oooooo…spooky path!


This is the grave of some famous bare knuckles boxer. That’s a sculpture of his dog


This is part of the “Egyptian” section of the cemetery. It was laid out in a big circle and used to be decorated in an Egyptian theme.


A sleeping angel. Look how close each grave is and how the tree has just inserted itself into one of them.


There are many angel sculptures for grave markers here. Apparently, each one has the same face (from a time before mass production)

3 Responses to “Highgate Cemetery”

  1. Mom Says:

    Angels all have the same face…because that’s how God created them (poor little things!). Oh ye of little faith.

  2. matt Says:

    Then enlighten this boy of little faith. So god created angels to look the same (angel conformity). Great. Now, satan is angel, just one who got cast out of heaven. Therefore, would satan look just like the angels? Or did god also splash acid on satan’s face or something? I guess this is a moot point since I could probably look high and low and not find an image of satan in Highgate cemetery and, since this angel is only their representation of an angel, I couldn’t go and find another place with an image of satan and claim it was an inconsistency 🙂

    Thus ends my Sunday rambling comment.

  3. Mom Says:

    Whoops. Oh ME of little knowledge!

    Ya got me there, sonny!