Who’s Who: The new director of Lauderdale House, Katherine Ives, on life in Highgate

Manager Katherine Ives at Lauderdale House. Picture: Polly Hancock

Manager Katherine Ives at Lauderdale House. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Polly Hancock

Katherine Ives has been the general manager of Lauderdale House for 15 years. She has just taken up her new role as director. Here she talks to Rachael Getzels about living in Highgate, the ducks in Waterlow Park and what’s missing from the area.

What brought you to Highgate?

Lauderdale House.

I’m now director there but I started out in 1998 as general manager.

It was my first full-time job in the arts in London, having changed career from law, and I was so taken by the sense of history, the location and its potential for creativity I was delighted when I was offered the post.

I can’t believe I’m still here.

No one day is ever like another and we’re currently in very exciting times, waiting to hear the result of our Heritage Lottery Fund bid.

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What is your favourite thing about the area?

It has to be Waterlow Park.

Because of the ponds and the hills it feels much larger than it is, and somehow always manages to look pretty.

I also enjoy walking up Swains Lane on my way to work and looking at the graves in the cemetery.

On a larger scale I’m fascinated by the sense of Highgate being a country village in the middle of London especially on the day of Fair In The Square, which is just like a village fete! Brilliant!

What is the worst thing?

I’m not really sure.

Nowhere is perfect, but life would be boring if it was. Maybe not having enough time to make the most of everything Highgate offers.

What is missing from the area?

A fresh fish shop would be a fabulous addition.

We already have a great butcher, greengrocer, bakery and deli.

A fishmonger would complete the circle. And like many others I still mourn the passing of the post office.

What makes you smile on the way home?

The ducks in the ponds at Waterlow Park – especially when the tiny ducklings are so small they have to leap in the air in order to dive into the water.

Oh, and daft dogs running just because they can – wish I had that energy at the end of a day!

If you were mayor for a day, what would you change?

I’d abolish all the parking restrictions – or at the very least make sure they were the same throughout the village. And, not a change, but a fun thing to do to celebrate the village and all the creative people here: I’d choose a day for artists, actors, poets and musicians to exhibit and perform in every nook and cranny of the village, alongside the schoolchildren and anyone else who wanted to join in.