My Highgate: Phyllis Harper of Highgate Butchers on best friend Boyzone singer Stephen Gately

Phyllis Harper has run and lived above Highgate Butchers in Highgate High Street for 39 years. The self-titled “Queen of Highgate” sells locally-sourced grass-fed beef and home-made sausages from her shop, which is considered a Village institution.

What brought you to Highgate?

My late husband lived in Archway and he knew Highgate very well. We were going to get married - I was a hairdresser and he was a butcher - and we decided it was either going to be a hairdressers or a butcher’s shop. Back in 1975 the man earned the living so we said let’s go for a butcher’s shop! I never even knew Highgate existed until then.

How has Highgate changed since you moved into the area?

When I first came to the area there were a lot of antique shops up here and unfortunately as one shop shut another didn’t replace it.


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What is the area’s best kept secret?

The Parkland Walk from Highgate station to Finsbury Park.

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

It would obviously be the parking, that’s the main issue where we live.

What makes you smile on your way home?

Shutting the shop’s front door and opening the flat door to see my dog’s face so pleased to see me.

How would you spend your perfect Sunday in Highgate?

Having a lovely roast dinner in the Red Lion and Sun pub.

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

Shop locally. Welcome to the Village, you’ll love it, but please shop locally.

Where in the world would you twin with Highgate?

I’ve been to Windsor and it has the same sort of villagey type feel.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

[Boyzone singer] Stephen Gately - he was my best friend. We love and miss him.

What is your favourite thing about the area?

I love everything about it. I am so blessed to be able to live and work here.

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

She told it as it was.

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