Win £1,000 with Camelot. See this week's Ham & High

on sale 15th October

Highgate Cemetery holds party for great and good of Highgate to celebrate 175th birthday

17:00 21 May 2014

Senior members of the Friends of Highgate Cemetary cut the cakes. (LtoR) Ian Kelly, vice president, Dr Ian Dungavell, chief executive, and chairman John Shepperdm. Picture: Mark Hakansson

Senior members of the Friends of Highgate Cemetary cut the cakes. (LtoR) Ian Kelly, vice president, Dr Ian Dungavell, chief executive, and chairman John Shepperdm. Picture: Mark Hakansson


It is the final resting place of Karl Marx, George Eliot and Douglas Adams and their graves attract tens of thousands of tourists every year.

But this week, visitors flocked to Highgate Cemetery to celebrate its 175-year history at a grand birthday party in the cemetery grounds.

“The party was a chance to look back at all our wonderful achievements,” said Dr Ian Dungavell, chief executive of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery.

“It is the best Victorian cemetery in London because of its being beautifully located, beautifully laid out and being a burial place for lots of prominent people.

“But we are also looking to the future and it was a good opportunity to discuss with people what we are going to look like when we turn 200.”

The great and good of Highgate were among the guests at the celebrations on Tuesday night, including Highgate councillors and representatives from the Highgate Society, Lauderdale House, the Highgate Scientific and Literary Institution and the area’s schools.

The cemetery’s stonemason Neil Luxton was on hand to teach guests how to carve their own epitaph, while the Highgate Choral Society and the North London Brass Band played for the crowd of more than 150 people.

Old met new as undertakers T. Cribb & Sons showed off a Victorian hearse, pulled by two black horses, next to the UK’s first electric “eco-hearse” developed by Camden-based funeral directors Leverton & Sons.

Small groups were also given tours around both Highgate West and East Cemeteries in the fading light.

The evening was brought to a climax as three cakes covered in an edible version of the ivy growing on many of the cemetery’s graves were cut by Dr Dungavell, Friends of Highgate Cemetery chairman John Shepperd and vice-president Ian Kelly.

“It was lovely to get everyone involved in the cemetery together as well as everyone who has been involved with the Friends over quite a long time,” said Dr Dungavell.

“There is a wonderful community here, but it was also good to reach out to the wider community.

“There were a lot of ideas from people. One of the big areas for development is education which will bring us closer to the local schools, and possibly longer opening hours.”

The party was held exactly 175 years after the cemetery was consecrated by the Anglican Bishop of London on May 20, 1839.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 14:59
The Phoenix cinema in East Finchley is due to host a number of films for the UK Jewish Film Festival

Barnet Council has come under attack after becoming the only local authority in the country to charge a popular jewish film festival for screening their films.

Yesterday, 11:34

Police have urged residents to make homes more secure after a spate of burglaries in Highgate and Dartmouth Park.

Yesterday, 11:01
The London Ambulance Service has seen a significant rise in mental health calls

A significant spike in the number of emergency mental health calls received by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) has led it to employ specialist nurses in its call centre.

Yesterday, 09:31
The tree has blocked the road south of the A1. Picture: MPSBarnet

Motorists are being advised to avoid The Bishops Avenue in Hampstead Garden Suburb due to a fallen tree.

Mon, 19:00
Travellers arriving at the Liddell Road industrial estate Picture by local resident, 'Jon'

Tory Party candidates claim travellers hurled rocks at them as they tried to take pictures of the site where they have set up home.

Mon, 17:27
Friends of Parkland walk  bramble bash campaign Pictured Alison Gardiner,Emma Walmsley,Robert Laslett,Dave Charie & Cathy Meeus

Volunteers armed themselves with shears to cut back brambles on a beloved nature reserve.

Mon, 15:53
Children's March for Barnet Libraries. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Campaigners have expressed their dismay as a new wave of cuts proposed by Barnet Council could see libraries left unmanned and forced to run largely by volunteers.

Mon, 12:00
Vet Allan Rapley with Highgate councillors Liz Morris and Clive Carter urge Haringey to clean up its act. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Residents and campaigners have spoken out against “Third World” piles of rubbish on Highgate High Street.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Angharad Baa Stool in Rare Breed.

Great British Life is offering a sheepskin footstool worth £199 to a lucky reader

Amazon: Everything you want to buy all in one place!

With £1,500 to spend online at Amazon, there’s really nothing you can’t buy.

You'll be stocked up on toiletries  for a while!

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder