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

A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens

Tuesday 17 December 2019 This event is sold out

Performed by Gerald Dickens

In the festive glow of the beautiful Highgate Cemetery chapel, we are delighted that Gerald Dickens will perform his internationally acclaimed one man show of a Christmas Carol. Described as a ‘theatrical tour de force’, Gerald will play over 25 characters in this extra special Christmas event where he brings his great great grandfather’s popular works to vivid and exciting life. 

Starts at 7.30pm. Doors open 7.00pm. Ticket includes a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.

Fanny and Stella

Thursday 16 January 2020 £10Book now

A talk by Neil McKenna

April 1870: Fanny and Stella were no ordinary Victorian women. They were in fact young men who liked to dress as women: Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton. Stella was the most beautiful female impersonator of her day, Fanny her inseparable companion. But the Metropolitan Police were secretly plotting their downfall. They were arrested and subjected to a sensational show trial in Westminster Hall where every last, lascivious detail of their lives was lapped up by an incredulous public. With a cast of peers and politicians, detectives and drag queens Fanny and Stella were at the epicentre of a dazzling and enthralling Victorian peepshow.
The connection with the cemetery is that Alfred Swaine Taylor, the celebrated forensic scientist who is buried in the West Cemetery, was employed as an expert witness and called upon to examine the two young men. His handwritten notes still exist.
Neil McKenna is a journalist and author of the bestselling The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde. 

Starts at 7.30. Doors open 7.00. Latecomers will not be admitted. Ticket includes a glass of wine.

Pearls and Unicorns. Myth and Magic; the dark side of jewellery

Thursday 13 February 2020 £12Book now

A talk by Geoffrey Munn OBE MVO 

Geoffrey Munn will be known to anyone who has watched The Antiques Roadshow on BBC1 as, since joining in 1985, he is now the longest-running jewellery expert on the team.

A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, Geoffrey Munn spent 46 years at Wartski, jewellers to the Queen, and was the firm’s managing director for 37years until his departure in 2018. Of particular interest to followers of the cemetery is his expertise in the drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. As a writer he has had five books on jewellery published, including Artist’s Jewellery; Pre-Raphaelite to Arts and Crafts with Charlotte Gere. He is an expert on Fabergé, whom he considers the greatest jeweller of the 20th Century.

The ‘Dark Side of Jewellery’ is, of course, funerary jewellery, which played such a big part in the Victorians’ social attititude to death, funerals and mourning.

Starts at 7.30. Doors open 7.00. Latecomers will not be admitted. Ticket includes a glass of wine.

First Blood

Thursday 26 March 2020 £10Book now

A talk by Amy Weldon and The Burf

Prizefighting in the Regency and early Victorian period was a great means of social mobility, down as well as up. Fans (known as The Fancy) were from all classes and it gave an opportunity for those of African and Jewish descent and descendants of African-American slaves - and even women - to rise on the social scale. The infamous ‘slumming lords’ (so derided by writer Pierce Egan in his seminal work Boxiana) could, on their part, enjoy a taste of the lowlife. 
Dr Amy Weldon, writer and professor of English at Luther College, Decorah, Idaho, will team up with The Burf (Mark Burford) head professional coach at The Ring Boxing Club in Southwark, to bring  to life what can now only be considered an utterly brutal sport. 
The Burf will concentrate on Tom Sayers, the last of the great British prizefighters, on the 160th anniversary of his celebrated world-title ‘battle’ against John Heenan. Amy Weldon will talk about Pierce Egan and earlier prizefighting. Both Sayers and Egan are buried in the West Cemetery.

Starts at 7.30. Doors open 7.00. Latecomers will not be admitted. Tickets include a glass of wine.

Malcolm McLaren

Thursday 23 April 2020 £10Book now

A talk by Paul Gorman

On the tenth anniversary of the death of Malcolm McLaren, writer and cultural commentator Paul Gorman will talk about the ‘late cultural iconoclast’, locating him as a leading visual artist ‘whose influence can be detected across contemporary culture’. 
Malcolm McLaren, who was buried in the East Cemetery, is perhaps best known as the manager of the Sex Pistols, who shook up music as punk arrived to shock the world.
There is nobody better qualified to talk about McLaren than Paul Gorman, whose work spans fashion, art and music. His book Malcolm McLaren: The Biography, published by Constable & Robinson in autumn 2019, is the definitive work on McLaren.

Starts at 7.30. Doors open 7.00. Latecomers will not be admitted. Tickets include a glass of wine.

The Marx Memorial Lecture.The Plot for Karl Marx.

Tuesday 12 May 2020 £12Book now

A talk by Alan Dein

Over a ten year period, oral historian and broadcaster Alan Dein recorded interviews and dug deep into the archives for a BBC Radio 3 feature on the creation of Laurence Bradshaw’s Karl Marx memorial. He interviewed Bradshaw’s wife Eileen, art and social historians, and hundreds of visitors to Marx’s grave at Highgate Cemetery to explore the remarkable story, and the cultural impact, of perhaps the most well-known grave in the world. In this lecture, Alan Dein will share audio and documents from his research and will discuss how Bradshaw’s sculpture inspired other bronze versions of Marx’s head around the world.

Starts at 7.30. Doors open 7.00. Latecomers will not be admitted. Tickets include a glass of wine.

One Day Stonemasonry Course

Saturday 13 June 2020 £120Book 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 (come prepared with an A4 format 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.