New Highgate Cemetery map reveals hidden treasures of historic graveyard

Dr Ian Dungavell, chief executive of Highgate Cemetery, with the new map. Picture: Polly Hancock

Dr Ian Dungavell, chief executive of Highgate Cemetery, with the new map. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Polly Hancock

Highgate Cemetery will be phasing in the latest edition of its site map this spring at the Grade I listed burial ground, notable as the resting place of famous figures like Karl Marx, George Eliot and Douglas Adams.

Highate Cemetery, Anna Mahler grave. Picture: Polly Hancock

Highate Cemetery, Anna Mahler grave. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Polly Hancock

But according to Dr Ian Dungavell, chief executive of Highgate Cemetery, the 175-year-old graveyard warrants interest for much more than just those names.

And the new map will prove that to visitors. “The difference is that there are 80 people marked on the new one, which is far more than ever before,” Dr Dungavell explained.

“We’ve also classified people by area of contribution, so it is easier for people to find what they are interested in.”

The new map features names that Dr Dungavell believes people might otherwise miss, such as Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren or television presenter Jeremy Beadle.

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The previous map was simply a list of names with numbers to show visitors where the graves lay within the 15-hectare site.

The system was bound to be confusing for those who were not good with names or were more interested in general touring, said Dr Dungavell, who is also director of the Victorian Society.

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Some of the names on the latest map are new, and it is hoped their addition will help visitors to see that Highgate has more to offer than Marx.

One of these is Ernest Barker, who went down with the Titanic in 1912. Yet another new grave on the map is that of William Monk, an organist and composer of the famous hymn Abide With Me.

The large number of visitors proves not only the need for a comprehensive map, but also that Highgate is more than just a tourist hotspot.

“We get more than just tourists because it’s one of the less well-known places to visit, and because it’s a lovely place to go for a walk,” Dr Dungavell said.

“There are many more world connections here than you would normally expect in a neighbourhood cemetery.”

Fame is not the only criteria, as some notable additions have been added to help visitors discover unique graves.

That of Ann Jewson Crisp (1789-1884), for example, features a prominent stone relief of her dog, Emperor, which often prompts questions.


The new map gives some of the more interesting, but perhaps not-so-famous, graves greater prominence.

“With this map, it’s just much easier to find your way around,” Dr Dungavell said. “The intellectual content of is truly formidable.”

The new map will be available in the next few weeks and is complementary with the £4 admission fee.

The cemetery is open from 10am to 5pm on weekdays, and from 11am to 5pm on weekends.

* PHOTO GALLERY: Click on the link at the top right hand side of the page to see Highgate Cemetery in pictures


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