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Karl Marx memorial in Highgate vandalised in 'targeted attack'

PUBLISHED: 10:36 05 February 2019 | UPDATED: 22:09 05 February 2019

The damage done by vandals to Karl Marx's memorial in Highgate Cemetery. Picture: Highgate Cemetery

The damage done by vandals to Karl Marx's memorial in Highgate Cemetery. Picture: Highgate Cemetery

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Highgate Cemetery's historic Karl Marx memorial has been vandalised - and cemetery director Dr Ian Dungavell thinks repairing it will be harder than fixing it after a 1970s bomb blast.

The unveiling of the famous Karl Marx grave, in 1956The unveiling of the famous Karl Marx grave, in 1956

Dr Dungavell said the damage had been noticed on Monday, but could well have been done over the weekend.

The grade I listed memorial was erected to mark Marx’s tomb in 1956, after his remains – and those of his wife Jenny von Westphalen – were moved from another part of the cemetery in 1954.

But Dr Dungavell lamented the damage had been done to the memorial stone which had been salvaged from Karl Marx’s original grave.

He told this newspaper: “It’s such a shame. We don’t really know what’s happened. Someone has come in with a metal implement and vandalised the name.

Karl Marx's final resting place in Highgate Cemetery where he was reburied in 1954 along with his wife, grandson and housekeeper.Karl Marx's final resting place in Highgate Cemetery where he was reburied in 1954 along with his wife, grandson and housekeeper.

“It looks as though it’s been done a few days ago. And it appears to be a targeted attack.

“It’s particularly sad because this is the second memorial, but that’s the marble that was recovered from the original, and of course it’s Grade I listed.

“Over the years all sorts of things have happened to it, there was even a bomb left close to the memorial, but to be honest this looks like it could be harder to repair, because it’s damage to the marble.”

Dr Dungavell confirmed the incident had been reported to police, but with little evidence to go on, he wasn’t hopeful of finding the perpertrator.

The memorial is owned by the Marx Memorial Library and its listing is maintained by Historic England.

Historic England, who look after listed buildings, were “very concerned” by the vandalism.

Christopher Laine, one of the organisation’s London landscape architects, said: “We will be working closely with the Metropolitan Police to identify those responsible for causing this senseless act of vandalism to a world famous landmark.

“Historic England is supportive of the trustees at Highgate Cemetery‘s Conservation Management Plan which will guide the future management of the whole site and the conservation of its memorials, trees and other historic features.”

A Met Police spokesman said: “Police were called at 17.12 on Monday February 4 to reports of criminal damage to a memorial in Highgate Cemetery, N6. No arrests have been made.”

Scotland Yard confirmed that, at this stage, the case had been closed pending new information coming to light.

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