London’s Magnificent Seven: Highgate East Cemetery

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London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries are, I think, one of the city’s great historical treasures. I still haven’t been to them all. Brompton Cemetery, my personal favourite, inspired a long article on the blog quite some years ago. More recently I shared a private gallery here with my photographs from Kensal Green Cemetery. Now, here’s perhaps the most famous of the lot: Highgate.

Highgate Cemetery was opened in 1839, and it consists of East and West sections. The Highgate West Cemetery has a strange kind of mystique about it – extensive catacombs, Classical and Egyptian styled tombs, and a stern enough visiting schedule as to keep that mystique alive and well. But in this post, I’m sharing my photos from Highgate East.

The eastern portion of the cemetery is really rather beautiful. Like the rest of the Manificent Seven, its design was inspired at least in part by the romantic arrangement of stones and mausolea in the iconic Paris Père Lachaise Cemetery (established 1804) – and Highgate East is home now to a number of notable names. Douglas Adams is here, with a ceramic pot beside his stone where visitors leave him pens. I felt strangely nostalgic finding the grave of Jeremy Beadle too, but the most famous interment at Highgate East must surely be Karl Marx.

Marx was originally reserved a place in his wife’s tomb, but in 1956 a new sculpture was erected to remember him by: a great bronze bust by the sculptor Laurence Bradshaw, emblazoned beneath with the words: “Workers of All Lands Unite.”

 
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