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From its earliest days, the architecture of Highgate Cemetery was a source of wonder and delight. As well as fulfilling a practical purpose, its buildings and landscape had to tempt families away from burial in their local churchyards by providing a dignified and prestigious environment
It’s difficult for us today, when cemeteries are old and crumbling, to realise how new-fangled they were in the early nineteenth century. Highgate Cemetery was a private solution to a very public problem: how to dispose of the dead of the burgeoning metropolis? Over the years it has developed in a way its founders would never have expected
In the scientific community, cemeteries are known as havens for life. The plants and trees are most visible, but there are also important pollinators like hoverflies and butterflies. Highgate Cemetery is also host to rare cave spiders
The stories of Highgate Cemetery are as diverse as the people buried here. Some of them are well-known, some are being rediscovered, and others will remain untold. They can give us fascinating insights into the lives and habits of our predecessors, and food for thought about how we live our own lives