With all my earmarked pages in the Lonely Planet, I was rather indecisive yesterday about what to do. So I started at Borough Market, and walked to the Tower of London afterward. But the crowds didn’t really please me, so I thought of another thing to do. I came up with visiting Highgate Cemetery, which was supposed to be a beautiful cemetery in North London.
Around 14.30 I arrived at the gate of the cemetery, and found out there was a tour at the west part of the cemetery 15 minutes later. Highgate Cemetery opened in 1839 and is part of the “Magnificent Seven”, seven cemetery around London. The tour was unexpectedly very interesting and informative (I won’t call it entertaining). The girl that showed us around had fabulous stories about some of the people buried, and the cemetery was really beautiful. For example, this is the tomb of George Wombwell, a famous menagerist in the 1800′s.
One of the items from his animal collection, the lion Nero, lies on top of his tomb.
And this is the tomb of Thomas Sayers, an English bare-knuckle prize fighter and national hero. He wasn’t very fortunate in love, so his dog called ‘Lion’ was the chief mourner during his funeral, which was attended by thousands of people.
The class system from the Victorian time also shows on the cemetery, the closer your lot was to the footpath, the richer you were. One man (Julius Beer, owner of The Observer) had an entire mausoleum built. Not to have himself or his family buried, but just to show off his wealth. At the time the mausoleum was built, it cost 5,000 pounds, which equals 3 million pounds nowadays.
Another beautiful grave is the one with the sleeping angel on top of it. According to the guide it is also one of the most photographed graves. I must say, it is really gorgeous…
Never would have expected that the trip to this cemetery would be so amazing, I can highly recommend everybody to go and see the cemetery and do the tour! Please do click on the Wikipedia links and read the stories of the people, they are worth it! Check out for more pictures the London 2010 album.