August 12, 2013
The Highgate Cemetery tour was very interesting to me. Before this, I had not had a personal tour of a cemetery, especially one with such amazing English and Egyptian influenced architecture.
I feel as though these tombstones represent Englishness as a form of remembrance. These tombstones mark not only place honoring the dead, but also act as sort of ‘snapshot’ in time. The tombstones remember the person, as well as their life and the life and times in which they had lived in. The experience was a bit strange: I understand the purpose of the tour and the connection to Falling Angels.
Touring the cemetery helped me understand the idea that those there buried have taken a piece of England with them, of the times in which they lived. I am reminded of a quote from the poem “The Soldier” which was mentioned in class: If I should die, think only this of me: That there’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever England.”
The cemetery tour also offered a view tombstones of the famous buried there. Among the famous included Karl Marx, the author of the Communist Manifesto. I never saw a tombstone with a sculpture of the head of the deceased. Also seeing Douglas Adams grave (author of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”) made an impression on me. It was interesting seeing all these famous writers and political movers and shakers being buried all in one place. Visiting the Highgate Cemetery was an eye opening, if somewhat strange, experience.
In reading the book “Falling Angels” I learned about the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Britain. The families in the story had a real connection to Highgate Cemetery, and reading this book offered the class an opportunity to take the tour, something that visitors to London may not think of doing.