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Meet Mr King, the Victorian surgeon: A half-term family event

Thursday 30 October 2014 £5 adults, £3 children. Includes entrance to the East Cemetery before the talk.Book now

Starts at 3pm.

Come and meet Mr King, a colourful costumed Victorian character who will tell you about this fascinating time in medical history, when surgery was a messy and dangerous activity.

Suitable for age 6+. All children must be accompanied by an adult

Victorian surgery: An evening with Mr King

Thursday 30 October 2014 £7Book now

In the middle of the 19th century, surgery was a messy and dangerous undertaking. One in four patients died after afterwards.  Inventions which would improve the treatment of patients were only just appearing. Anaesthetic was thought of as risky and many surgeons refused to use it.

Speedy operations were therefore crucial and Robert Liston (who is buried in Highgate Cemetery) could amputate your leg in less than three minutes. Mr King, a highly entertaining and knowledgeable Victorian surgeon, will guide you through this world. It’s not for the squeamish!
Geoff King is an experienced speaker on the subject of pre-20th century surgery and medicine.

Talk at 7.30pm.  Doors open at 7pm.

East Cemetery candle-lighting late opening for All Saints’ Evening

Saturday 1 November 2014 Tickets £4. Free for grave owners, Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, and under-18s accompanied by adults. Book now

East Cemetery open until 7pm. last entry 6.30pm

All Saints’ Day is a day for the general commemoration of those who have gone before us. Many grave-owners at Highgate Cemetery already place candles on their graves around this date and this late opening is to give a wider opportunity for reflection and remembrance.
This opening is restricted to the main tarmac paths of the East Cemetery: as far as Marx to the east and the Chester Road gate to the south. If graveowners wish to visit their graves in other locations in the East they may do so entirely at their own risk. The West Cemetery will not be open.

  • Candles will be available for sale. You may bring your own candles, which should be in fireproof containers. Bring matches too!
  • Each person should bring a torch
  • Please wear sturdy shoes, especially if it is wet
  • Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Uncovered glass containers will be removed following the ceremony, as will any extinguished candles. 

Film: The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

Thursday 20 November 2014 £10


Sold out

Starts 7.30pm. Doors open 7pm.

Starts at 7.30pm. Doors open at 7pm. 

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari is one of the most influential films of all time.  A box office smash in 1920, it came to define cinematic Expressionism and inspire Film Noir.  Co-authored by Carl Mayer with Hans Janowitz, the film made Mayer famous. As a leading film writer he worked with the best directors in Germany including F.W. Murnau on The Haunted Castle (1921) Der Letzte Man (1924) and Sunrise (1927).

Jewish and a pacifist, he was forced to flee Germany in 1933. He came to England where he worked as an adviser to the British film industry. He died in 1944, poor and almost forgotten, leaving only £23. He is buried at Highgate Cemetery, where the inscription on his monument reads ‘Pioneer in the art of the cinema. Erected by his friends and fellow workers.’

The music for the evening’s screening will be performed live by pianist and composer Martyn Niele, who will be improvising the score.

Carl Mayer (20 November 1894 - 1 July 1944) is buried in Highgate Cemetery East

Professor Heard’s Grand Gothic Magic Lantern Show

Thursday 11 December 2014 £10

Sold out

Starts 7.30pm. Doors open 7pm.

Sights, frights, moral warnings, picture stories and strange phenomena from the century before cinema. Professor Mervyn Heard conjures up some of the more bizarre, terrifying, erotic and baffling examples of lantern stories, photographic weirdness and optical effects.

Professor Heard tours internationally, recreating original Victorian magic lantern entertainments of various kinds, drawing on a unique collection of vintage hand-painted and photographic magic lantern slides which he presents on a magnificent showman’s lantern.

He regularly performs to sell-out audiences at The Little Shop of Horrors in Hackney, and is the author of Phantasmagoria – The Secret Life of the Magic Lantern. In 2006 he created a phantasmagoria installation for the Gothic Nightmares exhibition at Tate Britain.

“... 19th century history has never been so fresh, so entertaining or quite so surprising ...” The Guardian

Some material may not be suitable for children.

Radclyffe Hall: a talk by Diana Souhami

Thursday 22 January 2015 TICKETS £7 INCLUDING A GLASS OF WINEBook now

Starts 7.30pm. Doors open 7pm.

Diana Souhami, author of The Trials of Radclyffe Hall, will talk of the tangle of Radclyffe Hall's love life and why Una Troubridge her partner for 25 years is not buried in Highgate Cemetery with her.

Diana Souhami is the author of many highly acclaimed books, many of them about lesbians, including Gertrude and Alice, Mrs Keppel and her Daughter, Natalie and Romaine, Coconut Chaos, and Gluck: Her Biography. Her latest book, Gwendolen: a novel, was published in September 2014

Buried Treasure? Valuing the Dead in Nineteenth-Century England : A talk by Dr David McAllister

Thursday 19 February 2015 TICKETS £7 INCLUDING A GLASS OF WINEBook now

Starts 7.30pm. Doors open 7pm.

Dr David McAllister will discuss attitudes to burial in the years leading up to the birth of the Garden Cemetery movement in the early nineteenth century and the establishment of Highgate Cemetery itself. His talk will focus on attempts by a series of writers including Wordsworth, Burke, Godwin and Bentham to identify the value of buried bodies, and to establish whether the grave was anything more than an inefficient dumping ground for human remains.

David McAllister is a lecturer in Victorian Literature at Birkbeck, University of London, and course director of its MA in Victorian Studies.