Having lived in Highgate for almost ten months now Karen and I finally got around to visiting the famous cemetery at the weekend.
Highgate Cemetery is the famous home of the tomb of Karl Marx and the burial place of several other famous people, including George Eliot, Sir Ralph Richardson, and Douglas Adams — author of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.
We visited the seventeen acres of the Eastern Cemetery on a grey and drizzly Sunday afternoon. This newer part can be visited anytime, on payment of the £3.00 per person entrance fee, but the older Western cemetery can only be viewed by guided tour, which are held every hour most days. On this visit we did just the Eastern cemetery, leaving the grander — but poorer condition — architecture of the Western cemetery for another day.
Three things left a marked impression on me:
1. Some of the tombs and graves were the biggest and grandest I’ve seen.
2. The dense woodland in which the graves are embedded was quite unlike any other cemetery I’ve visited. It’s almost as if the crumbling, mossy headstones had grown out of the ground over decades like the mature trees all around.
3. There is a huge amount of irregularity in the level of the ground. Whether due to subsidence brought on by premature laying of headstones or because they’ve been pushed up by ever-growing tree roots I’m not sure, but many of the graves have been pushed up at unnatural angles by ground movement, in many cases causing the headstones and crosses to come tumbling down and in others to leave stone crosses leaning at irreverend angles to the pious vertical.
I hope you enjoy the photos.