My Tour of Highgate Cemetery

I am fascinated by cemeteries. The protagonist in my 2nd novel, Necropolis, works for the burials and cemeteries department in his local council. I have also written blog posts about the Old Brompton Cemetery in London, Recoleta in Buenos Aires and Zentralfriedhof in Vienna. This week I visited Highgate Cemetery in London. It is home to many famous people including a number of authors.

Highgate Cemetery is divided into 2 sections – East and West. To view the West one has to pre-book. Tour groups are admitted once a day. As for the East it is open to the public – admission £4. And it is the East side that I visited on a grey, wet but mild November afternoon. Below is Douglas Adams grave. Adams wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (Note the pens in the pot).


Jim Horn was an avid reader.


Below is Mary Ann Cross’s (pen name – George Eliot) grave. Eliot was one of the leading novelists of the Victorian era. She used a male pen name so that she would be taken seriously in a male-dominated society.

George Eliot

Karl Marx is the most famous resident of Highgate Cemetery.


Much of the cemetery has a rural feel (see below).


This lady evidently really loved her dog.


The multi-cultural nature of the area is reflected in the style of graves (see below).


No prizes for guessing what Harry Thornton did for a living. He perished in the 1918 flu pandemic.


Malcolm McClaren (1946-2010) was an impresario, rock-artist, clothes designer and boutique owner. His epitaph reads – ‘Better a spectacular failure, than a benign success.’


Below is TV presenter Jeremy Beadle’s grave. The diminutive star was adored by the nation’s TV watchers.


Some of the graves have seen better days. I was trying to locate Anthony Shaffer’s resting place (author of 1970 bestseller Sleuth) when I came across this grave. I never did find Shaffer’s.


Bruce Reynolds was the mastermind of the Great Train Robbery in 1963.


Below is a resident of the cemetery.


I would highly recommend Highgate Cemetery.



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  • I’ve got cemetery envy. As you know I share your fascination and this cemetery has the added attraction of containing the graves of many famous authors. I also like the rural feel and I’m sure it’s well worth a visit. I could probably get lost in there for hours.

    • I like the term ‘Cemetery Envy’ Heather. I will be sure to remember it. Maybe you’ll get the chance to visit Highgate one of these days. Have a good weekend.

  • Gotta visit this cemetery. Didn’t know Beadle was buried there. Foxes in the countryside always seem to be red and the ones in the city brown. Which cemetery is next on your list?

    • I assume city foxes fur colour is due to their poor diet. Country foxes are magnificent creatures. Next up will be Kensal Green Cemetery. It’s the oldest of the ‘Magnificent 7’. I’ve got plans for my blog for the foreseeable future – notably the build up to my next book, so probably won’t be any more cemetery related posts for quite a while.

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