Search

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

Archant

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.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

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

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

Amerigo Gucci Di Amoi with a cup of hot-selling Earl Grey tea at Guccino cafe in England's Lane, Belsize Park. Picture: Polly Hancock

Sales of Earl Grey tea at a Belsize Park cafe have apparently rocketed due to subliminal messages from a nearby poster for the movie Fifty Shades of Grey.

18:01
Alan Cartwright

Two men from Camden have been questioned over the death of a 15-year-old boy in Islington on Friday

16:45
Cathy Meeus at the bat tunnels on the Parkland Walk Nature Reserve. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Nature lovers have urged a council not to turn a popular woodland trail into the capital’s latest cycle superhighway.

The late Rosette Irwin, on the campaign trail

Rosette Irwin became a member of Hampstead Conservatives in the mid-1950s. She was chairwoman of Fitzjohns ward for many years; the association’s president and patron. She never wished to hold public office but thrived on promoting the Conservative cause in Hampstead.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

A one-off version is being auctioned off for Comic Relief.

A man has now been jailed for the attack which left the officer unconscious.

The thieves were in and out in one minute – much like in the films.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder