Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery


When entering the Highgate Cemetery I was stroke by its location. The old style design that it represented reminded me of the churches in London. The building as you walked in had an archway doorway and the walls were made of brick. There was definitely a scared and religious vibe to the place as I arrived. What I also found interesting is that the graveyard itself was located in the forest. I have never experienced the same religious feeling I did in a graveyard than I did in Highgate. There was just something about it that made it different. I think a big part of it had to do with the architecture of the stones and monuments themselves. There were some that were falling apart and becoming eroded. But to me, that is what made it stand out. That is what made it so unique and beautiful. You could get lost inside the cemetery because there were so many tombs and stones to see. I thought that the interesting stories on each gravestone represented a part of Englishness. I didn’t realize that the grave stone monuments themselves had stone much meaning. I feel as if people look at them and wonder about the meaning. I liked that the guide explained what some of the monuments meant and it really gave a different sort of feeling when looking at the rest of the stones. I felt I understood more about their past.

Something else I noticed while walking through the cemetery was how class took a major role on the gravestones. Normally in a graveyard you don’t think of those things but it was interesting to see how much a person from a higher class was willing to spend on monuments of that century. I think says a lot about Englishness because it describes how important this was to their culture. It was a tradition to get these monuments for some people. I think that says a lot about the culture and the values it has.

One thing that stuck out to me was the Egyptian tombs. I found it very interesting that London’s Highgate cemetery had tombs from the Egyptians. This to me, made me again think of how diverse this city really is. I found it very fascinating and incredibly interesting.

A very powerful monument I thought was the fallen angle statue like in the book we read, “Falling Angels” by Tracy Chevalier. I have never seen a statue like that on a grave stone ever before. When getting to learn more about it’s history and learning how rare of a stone it was, it made it even that much more interesting. I believe that these monuments all represented Englishness and brought something different to the space itself.

Another interesting sight I saw that stood out was Carol Marx’s gravestone. I believe that should an inspirational person in the graveyard made it even more of an interesting cemetery. The philosophers grave stone states, “Workers Of All Lands Unite”. Which I found very symbolic because of the diversity that the City of London has.


1 thought on “Highgate Cemetery

  1. Hey Jen, great observations about Highgate Cemetery! It was one of my favorite places we visited.

    You mentioned how you didn’t realize how much symbolism pieces of the graves were, and I’m in the same boat. Our tour guide mentioned right in the beginning that one of the traditions was to mark on someone’s grave what their profession was when they were alive. This goes back to what you were saying about wealth and status in the cemetery. It felt that the elaborate, more pricey graves were there for the benefit of the living, so everyone in the cemetery would know that the person buried there was successful in life, made a lot of money and had power, and should be remembered. Without the help of the guide, the depth of the symbolism would’ve been lost on me.
    Another connection you made was how the cemetery reflected what Englishness is. The Victorian Era is one of the most well-known time periods in the English History, and this trip changed my view on the Victorians. When we were on Egyptian Avenue, our guide told us how terrified the Victorians were of being buried alive. The vaults behind the doors were equipped with mechanisms created specifically to save someone if they were buried alive. Insane! For a culture that seemed so religious and concerned with the proper way of mourning and ritualistic death, they were terrified with actually dying. These obsessions that the Victorians had with death and religion are still felt in contemporary London. There is a church on almost every other street in the city and the values that are a part of Englishness (being proper, purity, honor) are closely tied with what is valued in Christianity. Again, cool post 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s