My Highgate: Jude Law and Jools Holland among surprise wedding guests at Lauderdale House
Nicola Dempsey has been the events and bookings manager at Lauderdale House in Highgate for the last seven years. She lives in Highgate Village with her partner Simon.
What brought you to Highgate?
We were looking for an area that offered a village feel with plenty of open spaces, so Hampstead Heath and Waterlow Park were just perfect, somewhere with a bit of style and plenty of characters.
What’s your favourite thing about Highgate?
Everything. I love the views from being on the top of a hill and seeing the walking tour go through on weekend afternoons. There are many eccentrics and characters living here which I love. People are passionate about the place and we are extremely lucky to have organisations like the Highgate Society promoting and protecting the area.
What is missing from Highgate?
There’s nothing wrong with the chain restaurants, I use them often, but it would be nice to have a few more independent restaurants with perhaps a more varied cuisine on offer.
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If you were the mayor for one day what would you change about Highgate?
I would tackle business rates and rents so we could have a few more independent traders or more short term pop-up places. Also more interactive arts, I would like to see a yearly sculpture exhibition in Waterlow Park and possibly through parts of the village, linking with Highgate Woods to involve everyone visiting the whole area.
How would you spend your perfect Sunday in Highgate?
Walk up to the village for the papers and a coffee. A quick browse through the Oxfam book shop, walk around the Heath or park, justifying Sunday lunch in either The Bull, the Red Lion or the café at Lauderdale House.
Who is the most interesting person who has ever visited Lauderdale House or been married there?
I have met many very interesting and fascinating people through my job at Lauderdale House. Obviously I get very involved with all our wedding and party bookings, and we all love the odd celebrity arriving as a guest! Over the last year or so we have welcomed Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory, Jude Law, Dave Gilmore, from Pink Floyd, Jools Holland, Les Dennis and Ray Davies to Lauderdale. We do get the odd politician, but we won’t talk about them!
Which other place in the world would you twin with Highgate?
Somewhere on the west coast of Barbados.
If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say?
Nerves of steel or “Unbelievably she never worked out how to stack the dishwasher properly”’.