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Highgate Cemetery

Venue: Highgate

Wednesday 07 Apr 2021

Tickets Remaining: 20+

Ticket Prices:

  • All Ages £43.00

Highgate Cemetery
Coach departs from Spalding at 8am

With its sinuous paths winding up a steep wooded hill and ivy clad monuments, here is a secluded funerary landscape at its most evocative, the West Cemetery is home to the most impressive architectural features of Highgate Cemetery — the Chapel, Colonnade, Egyptian Avenue, Circle of Lebanon, Terrace Catacombs and the mausoleum of Julius Beer. Visit the West Cemetery by guided tour only. The main path suddenly opens out in front of the Egyptian gateway, flanked by a pair of massive obelisks. When the cemetery was founded, interest in ancient Egypt was still very strong, encouraged by Napoleon's campaigns. The association of the Egyptian style of architecture with the memorialization of the dead was a natural one.  An avenue, lined with tombs, leads up to the Circle of Lebanon At the heart of the Circle of Lebanon is a massive ancient cedar tree which long predates the Cemetery. It was part of the grounds of Ashurst House, sold in 1830 and demolished to provide a site for the present St Michael's Church. The cemetery designers kept the great cedar as a key feature in the landscape. It is now like a massive bonsai, its base surrounded by a circle of tombs. On the inside face they are in the Egyptian style and belong to the 1830s; the tombs on the outer face are later, and mostly in the classical style. The Terrace Catacombs take the position of the terrace of the gardens of Ashurst House, demolished in 1830. From here there were splendid views of London, now mostly obscured by trees. These brick catacombs with a cast-iron traceried terrace balustrade were part of the original buildings of the cemetery in 1838-9.  Inside, there is a brick-vaulted gallery more than 80 yards long, lit by oculi set in the terrace. It is lined with separate recesses, each large enough to take a single coffin end on, from floor to ceiling down both sides of length, 825 in all. The catacombs could be used as a permanent resting place or temporarily whilst a plot was chosen. Fans of construction history get excited because the terrace is thought to be the earliest surviving asphalted building in England. Testament to a father's love for his lost daughter, the mausoleum is a splendid work of art.  Designed by leading architect John Oldrid Scott and based on the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it dominates the top of the cemetery. Inside (not visited on the tour), Beer's daughter Ada is shown being lifted heavenwards by an angel in a very touching sculpture by H. H. Armstead. The East Cemetery is home to illustrious figures of the nineteenth century as well as eminent people of our own time. A plot at Highgate Cemetery has always been much sought after. To cater for demand, the cemetery company opened the East side extension in 1860. It is here that you will find buried many famous names, along with interesting and varied memorials. Karl Marx, George Eliot, Jeremy Beadle and Max Wall are just a few.

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