Municipal graves were well and truly buried at Highgate Cemetery

YOUR story (Right the Wrong of my Mother s Pauper s Burial, H&H May 10) as reported by Ed Thomas made for uncomfortable reading. Hopefully Rose Williams s mother, who occupies a pauper s grave or municipal grave as some call it today, hasn t been buried

YOUR story (Right the Wrong of my Mother's Pauper's Burial, H&H May 10) as reported by Ed Thomas made for uncomfortable reading.

Hopefully Rose Williams's mother, who occupies a pauper's grave or municipal grave as some call it today, hasn't been buried in the east cemetery at Highgate.

This area is on the boundary with Camden's Whittington Estate and has had thousands of tonnes of earth dumped over the municipal graves to a depth of about 15 feet. Many of these unfortunate people lie below this huge mound. The reason for this lack of respect is so that 150 - 200 new graves could be created for financial gain.

You report the cemetery management as saying: ''The problem with exhumation is, we cannot guarantee where her mother lies in the common grave. And we cannot just assume this lady is her daughter. That needs to be proved.'' That statement could have come out of the 1950s.


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Wilson John Haire

Lulot Gardens, N19

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Highgate Cemetery cannot guarantee where exactly Ms Rose Williams's mother lies in the 'common grave' in which she was buried (Right the wrong of my mother's pauper's burial, H&H May 10).

Every burial was recorded in the graves/burial registers in the order in which it took place. As a double check, the depth of burial was also recorded. It would thus be very easy to identify precisely where the mother lies.

Ms Williams would be well advised to go to the Camden Archives Centre which holds copies of the Highgate burial registers and check the situation for herself (and for free). The staff there are very helpful.

However, if Ms Williams's mother was buried in a common grave in the unconsecrated section of the East, then she has no chance of locating the grave.

This, as Mr Haire rightly notes (H&H letters, May 17) is because 15 feet of earth was contemptuously dumped over these graves for the poor in order that marketable new ones could be created for lucrative sale to the rich.

In Highgate, there is no equality in death and the rich continue to lord it over the poor, forever and a day.

Vivien Bright

Haverstock Hill NW3

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