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

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

08:56
Patrick O'Leary

A member of a violent gang that burst into a woman’s home and stabbed her in the face with a screwdriver has been jailed.

11:39
Howard Jacobson at the LJCC. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Author Howard Jacobson may have missed out on a second Man Booker Prize recently, but it appears the planned closure of a historic Jewish community centre has caused him greater disappointment.

11:30
Surfing on Hampstead No. 2 pond. Picture: Ron Vester

It’s not exactly Bondi Beach, but that didn’t stop three daredevils attempting to surf one of Hampstead Heath’s placid ponds.

10:00
Author Laura Bates spoke and signed books at Waterstones in Hampstead after the man was asked to leave. Picture: Mark Hakansson

A man waging an anti-feminist campaign was ejected from a feminist writer’s book talk after crashing the event.

Most read news

It’s deforestation, but not as you’ve seen it before.

One student’s efforts to raise money and awareness this Remembrance Day has split the public – some love them while others loathe them.

A 53-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a fire at a fireworks warehouse which left two people missing. Staffordshire Police said the two people remain “unaccounted for” following the fire which broke out at the industrial unit at about 5.15pm yesterday. The force said it was in contact with the missing people’s family […]

To steal the budget store’s own puns, isn’t it a Lidl surprising that their Christmas food is so good?

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition