Saturday, 3 October 2015

Highgate Cemetery Part 1




A few weeks ago it was my birthday and my wife gave me a card which she had made with photo's taken of me walking round a churchyard. Inside she wrote that the next day I was going to London and Highgate Cemetery for a guided Tour.  Awesome I could not wait.  I'm going to show some of the photos from the trip in two blogs. The first is the Old Cemetery which is only open by guided tour the second where you can walk around freely after paying to get in.
So I would advise you to get a cup of tea or coffee and cake if you like and enjoy my little tour of Highgate Cemetery West

 The entrance to the old part of Highgate cemetery
 
 The entrance gate which is locked, the sign says guided tours only






London Cemetery over the entrance





Across the road is the new cemetery



































Once the gates are opened you meet in the chapel for the tour. There is a trapdoor beneath where I am stood which used to take coffins from this chapel via an underground tunnel to the other cemetery on hallowed ground because the Bishop of London consecrated the tunnel.


The ceiling in the chapel is quite ornate


























Which has a few memorial on the walls

























There are also stained glass windows to see as well

 


After being checking in we meet across from the entrance & chapel. There were two, one for the Anglican community  and another for the Dissenters. The Dissenters is one is now used as a office for the trust which owns the place now.

 Just across from where we stood was the Commonwealth war graves commission Cross  with a list of fallen on the plinth behind. There are also a few war graves dotted around the cemetery.








After climbing some steep steps you see the first of the cemetery







One of the first graves were shown was this one of a former coachman Jim Selby, he won a bet on driving a coach & horses from London to Brighton & back in Under 8 hours. He won. You can read about it in the blog I found
























Not far away we passed the grave of Sir  Henry Knight Storks who  supported the nursing efforts of Florence Nightingale  The grave on the right is of David Wellesley Bell

 You can see the place is very over grown
























The graves are close together with the odd vault. The one on the right is belonging to the family of General Sir Loftus Otway


You may remember a few years ago that Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with  radionuclide polonium-210, well he is buried here on the left.




Where Looking round I was amazed by the place
 How it was laid out and the amount of foliage around


The cemetery opened in 1839, as part of a plan to provide seven large, modern cemeteries, known as the "Magnificent Seven", around the outside of central London. and the first person buried here a few days later was Elizabeth Jackson of Little Windmill Street, Soho, on 26 May
 























There are some wonderful memorials around like the Angel and the Lion which is on the tomb of George Wombwell the Lion his favorite Nero

The tomb of Thomas Sayers the bare-knuckle prize fighter. The dog  which guards the grave is a mastiff called Lion and was chief mourner at his funeral because he said it loved him more than his wife who was estranged from him and living with another man. 10,000 people lined the streets to watch the procession go by.




I'm told this grave with the horse is in the dissenters side and belongs to Queen Victoria's hose slaughter. It's thought that was made up and was just for show 




























 



Lots of angels in evidence as you walk around in various poses. We were told the meanings of them but I forgot what they were.

This wonderful entrance takes you to more family vaults along what is called Egyptian Avenue



you access  along this old tunnel which has had the roof removed. They all have an Egyptian theme to them
Which carries on till you reach the circle of Lebanon . An ancient cedar tree was here long before the cemetery, and a circle of tombs was built around it
 























You can walk round the inside
























One of them is where you can have your ashes stored and there is room for around 900 caskets, it was not popular and there are still spaces if you are interested. The vault on the right is is that of Radcliffe Hall and her lover

Round one side you come to these family vaults, we were taken through the one on the right to see the burials in there of people who paid to be place in it. A few were open ad you could see some wonderful decorated coffins. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos in that part.

 This was another vault we saw but could not go in but the photos we were shown left you in awe.
check out the  Vault of Julius Beer

























Two of the headstones in Highate Cemetery

Norman Denzil Warne who is listed on here was the finance of Beatrix Potter  but died while she was away and buried  before she returned for the funeral. She visited once and after seeing the cemetery and how depressing the place was never returned




























Some of the amazing tombs you can see as you walk along the paths













The odd one covered in thick ivy vines
Looks like something you see in a horror film creeping towards you
























I liked the headstone on the left how it was like a tree trunk. The headstone on the right is that of Christina Rossetti Her Brother  Gabriel Rossetti Who founded the  Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, is buried there as well

There were a few  Pre-Raphaelite's buried nearby

I saw one Commonwealth War Grave, that of Sapper G.A. Brown Royal Engineers, 30th January 1915






On the last part of our tour we passed these vaults as couple of which were only a few years old, must have cost a  fortune to have one built






























Just be for we returned to the start point we passed these two headstones. One is Philip Harben a celebrity chief I remember seeing on TV and Patrick Wymark  who was an actor I remember seeing on TV and film. Ironically he was in a film called Blood on Satins Claw which was filmed in Old Bix |Church near Henley which I have also written a blog on


I'll leave you with this beautiful sleeping Angel who was only discovered after the ivy was pulled back. She lasted all though years till a few weeks ago when a branch fell and broke the tip of her wing. You will be glad to learn she will be restored.
Have a Wonderful Weekend


14 comments:

  1. Excellent report of this old place. I like a lot!!
    (I got here here via "Inspired Sunday")

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  2. Nothing humble about this one. The graveyard is a sculpture garden.

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  3. Amazing! That seems to be the wrong word for a cemetery but I have no other word!

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  4. Wow. I could get lost in there. I took a quick view of it now, breakfast needs preparing. I"ll stop by another time and read more carefully. Fascinating spot.

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  5. What an amazing tour you have given me!! I love graveyards like this.

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  6. So many wonderful photographs.... and what a lovely birthday gift from your wife!

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  7. Just read the entire post. It is fascinating to see the variety of grave markers of the famous, infamous, and obscure. We took a cemetery tour in Baltimore one spring and several graves there are interesting, like Betsy Bonaparte who married Napolean's brother. The marriage was never recognized by France though. Also the inventor of the ouija board has a grave there the backside of which shows the board. Here's the link to my blog post on that cemetery. http://birdsbloomsbooksetc.blogspot.com/2013/05/green-mount-cemetery.html

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  8. Bill, that was the most fascinating post! What a great treat it must have been to visit there in person. Thanks for taking us on the photo tour.

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  9. I've always wanted to visit Highgate! Thanks for giving us a peek.

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  10. What a wonderful gift! It's a beautiful place with all the sculptures.

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  11. Absolutely fascinating, Bill. This has been on the list for a long time, but I haven't made it there yet. I didn't realise it was still an open cemetery - ie still in use. We await the communist plot, then??

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  12. Thank you for sharing - last time I went for the tour the guide let us into the Beer Mausoleum (he didn't allow us to take photos though), we felt very lucky. Looking forward to seeing your photos of the other half!

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