The Circle of Lebanon

Egyptian Avenue


Little bit of history

Highgate Cemetery is perhaps the most famous of London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ burial grounds. Established in the 18th century, the 7 Victorian Gothic Garden Cemeteries were all built within 5.5 miles (as the crow flies) from St Pauls Cathedral between 1832 and 1841. All 7 cemeteries were needed in order to accommodate the rapidly growing population of London. Following its Victorian heyday, Highgate fell into ruin during the early 20th Century, but It’s made a spectacular comeback since The Friends of Highgate Cemetery took over the upkeep in 1975.

 If you visit you may well recognise parts of the cemetery from films you have seen, in the 70’s horror films such as ‘Taste the Blood of Dracula’, ‘From Beyond the Grave’ and ‘Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell’ were all filmed in the famous grounds.  More recently films like ‘Fantastic Beasts’, ‘Hampstead’, ‘Dorian Gray’ and ‘Cambridge Spies’ all took to Highgate for their scenes, as did the producers of ‘Waking the Dead’ and ‘Luther’.


Who is buried in Highgate Cemetery?

KARL MARX: The 18th century revolutionary philosopher who was better known as ‘The Father of Communism’. Buried in 1883 his tomb has attracted thousands of visitors, not all of whom agreed with his theories, one person even attempted to blow it up!. The sabotage failed miserably and ironically left the statue leaning ever so slightly… somewhat the left.

MALCOM MACLAREN: Manager of the Sex Pistols. Malcom is buried under a black granite headstone incorporating a ‘death mask’ sculpted by the son of the mastermind behind the Great Train Robbery, Bruce Reynolds. Bruce and his wife Angela’s ashes were buried together 50 years to the day of the Great Train Robbery after spending years on the run. The short interment service was attended by one of the great train robbers himself, Ronnie Biggs, who was celebrating his 84th birthday the same day.

GEORGE MICHAEL: One of the most famous recent interments. George was laid to rest next to his mother in 2017 following his death on Christmas day 2016. George resides under a clean white stone slab bearing his real name of ‘Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou’. A small sign nearby politely asks visitors not to take photographs. Both George’s and his mothers grave have beautiful potted plants filled with white flowers surrounding them.

ALEXANDER LITVINENKO: The former Russian Spy who defected to the west and was murdered in London in 2006 aged 44 by KGB operatives.  Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun laced his green tea at a hotel in London with the chemical Polonium-210. Such are the radioactive effects of Polonium-210 that Alexander could not be cremated and had to be buried in a lead lined coffin 12 feet deep. His body cannot be moved for 28 years.

GEORGE ELIOT: ‘George’ was considered the greatest author of the Victorian period. ‘George’ was in fact ‘Mary Ann Evans’, a female author who was was buried under her real name. Mary was also buried next to her married lover which caused a bit of fuss at the time!

MICHAEL FARADAY: ‘The Father of Electricity’ also resides in Highgate.

HENRY MOORE: Renowned painter and sculptor.

ROWLAND HILL: The man who invented the Postal Service.

CLAUDIA JONES: Founder of the Notting Hill Carnival.

THOMAS SAYERS: Victorian bare knuckle prize fighter, it is said that 10,000 people attended his funeral in 1865!

DOUGLAS ADAMS: Science fiction author.

BOB HOSKINS: British actor.

IAN HOLME: Lord of the Rings actor.

Why visit Highgate?

Because why not? If you like a bit of history, or looking for famous graves, being somewhere beautiful and peaceful or just out of plain old morbid curiosity Highgate is the place for you!. With 2 distinct areas to visit, the East Cemetery and the West Cemetery I would allow a several hours to wander about. The East Cemetery is free to walk around after paying a small entrance fee but the West Cemetery has guided tours so you can get the most out of the visit.  Please visit to book a tour and get further information.