Highgate Cemetary

Chris Ciambor

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.




1 thought on “Highgate Cemetary

  1. Chris- I found the tour of Highgate Cemetery to be really interesting as well. I had never thought about how we do not see carvings of human faces (apart from angels, which I suppose don’t actually count as human) on any gravestones usually. This is an interesting concept, but what do you think it says that Marx’s gravestone he has now was not his original one? I found that very interesting, that after Marx’s ideas began to hold more water, people found it necessary to give him a larger marking of his grave, perhaps one of the largest gravestones that we saw, and added a sculpture of his head as well. I think the concept of how we decide to mark the deceased’s resting places are interesting in general. People always say, you can’t take your money with you after you die; and yet we see in Highgate that many people used their money to create lavish tombs and gravestones to mark their final resting place. Thus, being able to allow their money to carry on their legend and their name.

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