Tamar Karet obituary: ‘Pocket rocket’ Highgate editor dies on 78th birthday

PUBLISHED: 13:24 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:32 10 July 2020

Tamar Karet (1942-2020) at the Highgate Society's summer social in 2015. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Tamar Karet (1942-2020) at the Highgate Society's summer social in 2015. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email

Tributes have been paid to Highgate editor and “pocket rocket” Tamar Karet who died on her 78th birthday.

Tamar (far right in blue) at the Highgate Society's Diamond Jubilee Party in 2012. Picture: Polly HancockTamar (far right in blue) at the Highgate Society's Diamond Jubilee Party in 2012. Picture: Polly Hancock

A “leading light” of Highgate’s community and a fierce activist for women’s equality, Tamar was renowned for her ten-year editorship of the Highgate Society’s magazine, Buzz, and her “legendary” battles with bloated word counts.

In 1942 she was born ‘Roberta Tamar Greenhauff’ as a ‘gebürtige New Yorker’ in Queens – the childhood home of Donald Trump, Tamar would recount “with some irony”.

In the 1960s she moved to Amsterdam with her first husband – the son of the famous Dutch photographer Ata Kando.

After her divorce, in 1968 Tamar moved to Hampstead to work in publishing for Calder & Boyars, and then as a translator and foreign rights agent.

In retirement, she crossed over the Heath to live in Highgate where she embraced the area’s tight-knit social scene.

At Buzz magazine, before becoming editor, Tamar worked as assistant to Brendan Nolan, the father of the esteemed film director, Christopher.

In 2014, she held the Highgate Society’s first German Stammtisch meeting at her flat in North Grove.

You may also want to watch:

There, she issued a “call to arms” for German speakers following the society’s creation of the French Circle, a group adopted in 1988 – still running today – which celebrates the French language and culture.

Tamar’s interest in German grew from her fluency in Dutch. Stammtisch member Jane Havergal described Tamar as “sparky, clever, combative and warm” and the Highgate Society called her a “powerful life force in the community”.

Prior to Buzz, Tamar worked and campaigned for women’s equality.

In 1971 she joined Hampstead’s women’s liberation group, which founded Kingsgate Place women’s centre.

The first of its kind in the UK, Kingsgate provided legal advice, free pregnancy tests and emergency accommodation.

From her work with Kingsgate, Women in Media and the Women’s Rights Campaign, Tamar successfully lobbied for the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.

In 1979, she co-founded Women in Publishing (WiP) which despite its widespread recognition today, faced hostility at the time.

At WiP, as press officer Tamar launched the Pink Pig awards (later joined by the Pandora awards) which celebrate women making standout contributions to publishing.

In later life, Tamar became a familiar face around Highgate, where she died suddenly at home on June 20.

She is survived by her husband, David Shelbourn, her two sisters Susan Singer and Jill Brown, her nieces Sharon Singer and Sara Singer, and her nephews Steven Singer, Alexander Brown and Gabriel Brown.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ham&High. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Hampstead Highgate Express