Monday, 16 November 2009

Peaceful, kind, just, most sympathetic and unselfish.

I could be describing myself, but I'm not. That was old Harry Maple, of Tottenham Court Road. He also won the hearts of young and old, rich and poor, you know.

The planned weekend activities were rained off, so yesterday we arranged a last minute girls' day out to Highgate Cemetery.

My favourite grave was that of George Wombwell, menagerist, his grave guarded by his sleepy lion Nero. There was a champion prizefighter, guarded by his dog Lion, a world record holding carriage driver with a horn and bugle on his headstone, sleeping angels, tiny horses, real life foxes and a Russian dissident.

Egyptian Avenue, Victorian London's take on an Egyptian tomb, was completely spooky. The Victorians didn't like it – it's basically a wardrobe of coffins, down a dark, damp stone corridor – and because it was so unpopular  there are still 80 spaces left. So, if you fancy the creepiest burial place in London...

In its heyday the Cemetery was the fashionable place to be buried and a popular spot to promenade. Now, it receives no public money for upkeep and so is slightly unkempt. It's maintained by volunteers and relies on donations. There are tours on the hour during daylight at the weekend.

And how sweet is this plaque?


3 comments:

  1. What interesting people you discovered -that poor prize fighter. As you know I've always enjoyed wandering around cemeteries and always wished I knew the stories behind the headstones. Must revisit when I come at Xmas.

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  2. I've been meaning to go to Highgate, but I think I need to be in a cheerier mood for a good meander! xx

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  3. Egyptian Ave sounds amaaazing! Strangely enough I am longing for cooler weather, recently. I just want rain and tea and books... funny how one wants what they don't have! But yes, silverlake is drenched in sun this week..

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