My Highgate: Vet Allan Rapley on his eye-catching window displays and starting a live-in practice

11:00 16 March 2014

Allan Rapley in the woodland in Highgate Bowl. Picture: Polly Hancock

Allan Rapley in the woodland in Highgate Bowl. Picture: Polly Hancock


New Zealander Allan Rapley, 63, moved to Highgate Village in 2012 to turn the Fisher and Sperr antiquarian bookshop in the High Street into a home and veterinary practice. The father-of-five and his wife create eye-catching displays in the shop window while the renovation is underway.

What brought you to Highgate?

The opportunity to start a live-in practice in a nice part of the world.

What is your favourite thing about the area?

Friendly, welcoming residents.

How has Highgate changed since you moved into the area?

A few changes in the High Street shops, Witanhurst keeps getting bigger, otherwise much the same.

What would you change about Highgate?

I like it as it is.

If you were editor of the Ham&High for a day, what local issue would you champion?

Keeping our open green spaces free of development.

What makes you smile on your way home?

Familiar faces.

How would you spend your perfect Sunday in Highgate?

A walk in a park, lunch at a local pub and a snooze in the sun.

What tips would you give to somebody moving to the area?

Get a dog. Get involved in some community activity.

Where in the world would you twin with Highgate?

Wellington in New Zealand.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

A teacher I had when I was 10, Mrs MacPherson, who was always kind, cheerful, interested in others, helpful, determined, and knew persistence brings success.

If you had to write your own epitaph what would it say?

Thank you.


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