Events

We run all sorts of events throughout the year. If you'd like to hear about them first, why not join the Friends of Highgate Cemetery, or sign up for our e-newsletter? Subscribe

The Wildgoose Memorial Library: Behind Death’s Door in Crouch End

Tuesday 22 January 2019 £9Book now

A talk by Jane Wildgoose

The artist Jane Wildgoose’s collection of objects, photographs, documents and books, known as ‘The Wildgoose Memorial Library’, was launched in 2003 as part of research for a BBC Radio 4 programme about a wisp of Lord Nelson’s hair bought on eBay. Jane talks about her role as Keeper of the collection and its evolution from a research resource for her work as a costume designer, at the beginning of her career, to a forum for reflection on memory, mortality and the history of collecting today. 
Jane Wildgoose works with museums and collections exploring the values, narratives and memories that become attached to remains of all kinds. She has exhibited at Yale Center for British Art in the USA, Sir John Soane’s Museum in London and the Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor; also in the Maddick Mausoleum at West Norwood Cemetery and the Crypts of St Pancras in Bloomsbury and St John on Bethnal Green.

‘From Today, Photography is Dead’: Victorian Photographers in Highgate Cemetery

Thursday 21 February 2019 £9Book now

A Talk by Stephen Furniss

Stephen Furniss will talk about Victorian photography in general, but concentrate on the many Victorian photographers who are buried in Highgate Cemetery. Some of these were instrumental in making photography accessible and hugely 
popular. Among those included in the talk will be Antoine Claudet, who was a leading expert in the Daguerrotype process and is attributed with inventing the red safelight, the Watkins brothers, who photographed over 1,500 celebrities, James 
Perriman, a studio photographer who went to prison for displaying another photographer’s work outside his premises, and Valentine Blanchard, who took instantaneous photographs of London streets from a disguised van... 
Stephen Furniss was an antiques dealer, is a longtime supporter of Highgate Cemetery and is an expert on Victorian photography and related subjects. The memorial photograph shown is from his extensive collection.

If you have any Victorian photographs you would like Stephen to look at for identification and dating, do bring them along with you.

George Eliot’s Life in London

Tuesday 19 March 2019 £9Book now

A Talk by Rosemary Ashton

Rosemary Ashton’s talk discusses Marian Evans (soon to be known as ‘George Eliot’) in her early London years as a journalist living at 142 Strand, working for John Chapman’s radical journal, the Westminster Review, and meeting many of London’s major authors.  It follows her progress as she set up home with the married G.H. Lewes, at first in various lodgings in south London where she started writing fiction and began to be famous.  She is then seen in her large house near Regent’s Park, where she and Lewes entertained literary visitors.  Finally her last months in Cheyne Row with her new husband John Cross are described, as is her interment in 1880 in Highgate Cemetery.
Rosemary Ashton is Emeritus Quain Professor of English Language and Literature at UCL, where she is a Fellow.  She is also a Fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Society of Literature, and the Royal Society of Arts, and was awarded an OBE for services to literature in 1999.  She has written widely about 19th-century literature and culture.  Her books include critical biographies of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1996), Thomas and Jane Carlyle (2002), George Eliot (1996), and G.H. Lewes (1991).

Drugs In Victorian Britain

Thursday 11 April 2019 £10Book now

A Talk by Mike Jay

At the beginning of Victoria’s reign, the only mind-altering drugs widely available in Britain were alcohol and opium. By its end, anyone could walk into a high street chemist and buy cocaine and cannabis in all manner of pills, lozenges and tinctures, or morphine and heroin complete with hypodermic injection kits. How did today’s illicit drugs arrive in Britain, who were the first people to use them, and how did they spread into the culture at large? 
Mike Jay curated High Society: mind-altering drugs in history and culture at Wellcome Collection and wrote the accompanying book. He is also the author of Emperors of Dreams: drugs in the nineteenth century. He writes regularly for the London Review of Books, Wall Street Journal and Literary Review.

The Marx Memorial Lecture: ‘Marxian Political Economy, 201’

Thursday 9 May 2019 £12Book now

A Talk by Ben Fine

The two-hundredth anniversary of Marx’s birth coincided more or less with the tenth anniversary of the worst economic crisis of global capitalism in living memory. This has been followed by failure to renew sustained growth and universal pessimism over the prospects of avoiding yet another financial crisis and economic disaster. This all raises what insights Marxist political economy can offer to explain the current malaise, and to what extent Marx’s own thinking remains insightful more than 150 years since he published the first volume of Capital. These themes will be taken up in a lecture that also addresses the decisive role being played by ‘financialisation’ in the global and national economies, and in our daily lives.
Ben Fine is Professor of Economics, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is co-author of Marx’s Capital, Pluto Press, now in its sixth edition, and has previously been awarded the Deutscher Memorial Prize and the Gunner Myrdal Prize for other books.

One Day Stonemasonry Course

Saturday 15 June 2019 £95Book now

Cemetery stonemason Neil Luxton leads a day's course on basic stonemasonry techniques.

Starting with a tour around some of the West Cemetery's monuments to see some notable examples of stonemasonry, Having supplied you with a stone slab and tools, Neil will help you with your design. You will then be taken through the techniques you need to be able to carve your design into the stone, and off you go... Throughout the afternoon, Neil will keep a close eye on your progress, giving advice and showing you exactly what you should be doing. You will end up with a carving you can take home.