Highgate Cemetery opened in 1839, after London graveyards had become overcrowded and unsanitary. It was the third of eight private cemeteries established on the edge of the city, open to people of all denominations. The West Cemetery covers 17 acres. The East Cemetery, covering 19 acres, opened across the road in 1860.
In the twentieth century, the cemetery became unprofitable and was neglected. Nature took over. It is now cared for by a charity, the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust and is run for public benefit, not for profit. It is still open for new burials, despite the very limited space available.
The West Cemetery can only be visited on a guided tour led by a volunteer, for a small charge.
The Egyptian Avenue, flanked by two obelisks, is lined with tombs, and leads up to the Circle of Lebanon.
Circle of Lebanon.
The family mausoleum of James Anderson Kelman on the Circle of Lebanon.
A columbarium (storage for cremated remains) and the family vault of Henry von Joel.
Emma Wallace Gray died in 1845, aged 18 years, "from the effects of fire, her dress having accidentally ignited ten days previously."
Elizabeth Jackson, aged 36 years, was the first person buried in Highgate Cemetery on 26 May, 1839.
The Cruft family founded the famous annual dog show.
A fine example of a family grave, the family of Sir Herbert H. Bartlett.
George Wombwell was born in Wendon Lofts, Essex. He became a shoemaker in Soho, but soon began to buy exotic animals from ships that came from all over the world, and put them on display in Soho. In 1810 he established Wombwell's Travelling Menagerie. He died in 1850 and is buried under a statue of his lion Nero.
The Terrace Catacombs take the position of the original terrace of the gardens of Ashurst House, which was demolished in 1830. The brick gallery is more than 80 yards long, with each of the 825 recesses large enough to take a single coffin.
James and Jane Simpson - "Their lives were devoted to works of Christian philanthropy and benevolence especially in behalf of the Jews and deaf mutes, sympathy with the latter class led to their founding the adult deaf & dumb institution, since merged into the Association in Aid of the Deaf a& Dumb, also the British Asylum for Deaf & Dumb Females, Clapton: and to their establishing regular public religious services for this afflicted class."
Walter Fox Halton was buried here in 1909. His son, with the same name, is also remembered here. He was a Pasha in the Egyptian Service and President of the Egyptian Railway Board. He died in 1897 and is interred in Cairo.
Michael Faraday was a scientist who studied electromagnetism and electrochemistry. His main discoveries include the principles underlying electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis.
There are 318 identified casualties of both World Wars remembered at Highgate Cemetery. There are many individual CWGC headstones scattered throughout the cemetery.
Peter Otto Wolff, born in Vienna, was a civil engineer and hydrologist.