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Dark Destiny - Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Western Cemetery

Western Chapels
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Highgate Eastern Cemetery

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History and setting
 
The cemetery in its original form — the western part — opened in 1839, part of a plan to provide seven large, modern cemeteries (known as the "Magnificent Seven") around the outside of London. The inner-city cemeteries, mostly the graveyards attached to individual churches, had long been unable to cope with the number of burials and were seen as a hazard to health and an undignified way to treat the dead. The initial design was by architect and entrepreneur Stephen Geary.
 
Highgate, like the others, soon became a fashionable place for burials and was much admired and visited. The Victorian attitude to death and its presentation led to the creation of a wealth of Gothic tombs and buildings. It occupies a spectacular south-facing hillside site slightly downhill from the top of the hill of Highgate itself, next to Waterlow Park, both of which were part of the former Dartmouth Park which covered the area.
 
In 1854, the area to the east of the original area across Swains Lane was bought to form the eastern part of the cemetery. This part is still used today for burials, as is the western part.
 
The cemetery's grounds are full of old-growth trees, shrubbery and wild flowers that are a haven for birds and small animals such as foxes. The Egyptian Avenue and the Circle of Lebanon (topped by a huge Cedar of Lebanon) feature tombs, vaults and winding paths dug into hillsides. For its protection, the oldest section, which holds an impressive collection of Victorian mausoleums and gravestones, plus elaborately carved tombs, allows admission only in tour groups. The newer eastern section, which contains a mix of Victorian and modern statuary, can be toured unescorted.
 
The tomb of Karl Marx, the Egyptian Avenue and the Columbarium are Grade I listed buildings.
 
Additionally, the Highgate Cemetery is well known for its so-called occult past, being the site of the alleged Highgate Vampire.

Interments
 
Although its most famous occupant in the east cemetery is probably Karl Marx (whose tomb's most recent bombing is still recalled by some Highgate residents), there are several prominent Victorians buried at Highgate Cemetery.

Highgate has to be one of the most famous cemeteries in the world.
 
The western side of the cemetery was opened in 1839 and the eastern side in 1854.
 
The west side of the cemetery was closed in 1975 due to it becoming financially unviable, this is when the "Friends of Highgate Cemetery" was formed (F.O.H.C) to help preserve and maintain the historic buildings and vaults. Unfortunately FOHC was very limited as to what it could do until 1981 when the freehold of both parts of the cemetery was acquired.
 
The Friends of Highgate Cemetery are now a limited liability company who with help from English Heritage and the Manpower Services Commission as well as paying members and volunteers, are dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the entire cemetery.
 
The Darker Side
 
The late sixties and early seventies saw a darker side to the cemetery emerge. The fact that Bram Stoker took inspiration for Dracula from his regular visits to eat lunch among the tombs and vaults, may have a bearing on it, but later research concluded the existence of the HIGHGATE VAMPIRE as far back as the Victorian period.
 
Although today the FOHC prefer not to talk about this period of history for fear of portraying the "wrong type of reputation". The fact remains that there were some very strange and sinister happenings which have become world renown.

    The Highgate Vampire
              "click here"


Highgate Cemetery
Swain's Lane
London
N6 6PJ


Interments include:

 
Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and other novels
 
Edward Hodges Baily, sculptor
 
Farzad Bazoft, journalist, executed by Saddam Hussein's regime
Jacob Bronowski, scientist, creator of the television series The Ascent of Man
 
John Singleton Copley, artist
 
Charles Cruft, founder of Crufts dog show
 
George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), novelist
 
Michael Faraday, scientist
 
Paul Foot, campaigning journalist
 
William Friese-Greene, cinema pioneer. The memorial is credited to Edwin Lutyens
 
Radclyffe Hall, author of The Well of Loneliness and other novels
 
Mansoor Hekmat, Communist leader and founder of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran and Worker-Communist Party of Iraq
 
James Holman, sightless 19th-century adventurer known as "the Blind Traveller"
 
Alexander Litvinenko, Russian spy, murdered by poisoning in London
 
Charles Lucy, artist
 
Karl Marx, father of Marxist philosophy, the basis of Communism
 
Ralph Miliband, left wing political theorist, father of David Miliband and Ed Miliband
 
Henry Moore, (1841–93), marine painter
 
Ralph Richardson, actor
 
Christina Rossetti, poet
 
Frances Polidori Rossetti, mother of Dante Gabriel, Christina and William Michael Rossetti
 
William Michael Rossetti, co-founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
 
Thomas Sayers, Victorian pugilist
 
Elizabeth Siddal, wife and model of artist/poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti
 
Sir Donald Alexander Smith, Canadian railway financier and diplomat
 
Herbert Spencer, creator of social Darwinism
 
Feliks Topolski, Polish-born British expressionist painter
 
Arthur Waley, translator and oriental scholar
 
Max Wall, comedian and entertainer
 
George Wombwell, menagerie exhibitor
 
Mrs Henry Wood, author
 
Adam Worth, criminal and possible inspiration for Sherlock Holmes's nemesis, Professor Moriarty