My guide to Highgate Cemetery (In Highgate Cemetery by the late Jean Pateman) catalogues an astonishing list of the great and famous, including writers, artists, actors, scientists, publishers, philanthropists, engineers, physicians, musicians and many more. H.G. de B. Canning is listed as being an “eccentric Irish landowner.” Apparently the Rev. L.B. White spoke 24 languages and wrote in 16 of them. Read on to find out who’s buried in the grave with the magnifying glass.
Here are a few of the most famous inhabitants of Highgate Cemetery:
Douglas Adams (1952-2001) is the author of the iconic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. As you can see from this photo, his fans like to leave a few mementoes by his grave.
The grave of the novelist George Eliot (1819-1880) stands out with this elegant marble cenotaph.
Musician, artist and designer Malcolm McLaren is commemorated by this stylish headstone which bears the epitaph Better a spectacular failure, than a benign success.
Probably the most famous inhabitant of Highgate Cemetery is the philosopher Karl Marx (1818-1883.) In typical Communist-style fashion Marx’s grave is adorned with a giant bust, the like of which any East European dictator of the Cold War era would be proud.
Most of the Rossetti family (except Dante Gabriel Rossetti) are buried in this lovely grave tucked away in a quiet corner. The poet Christina Rossetti is buried here, along with her sister-in-law Elizabeth Rossetti, otherwise known as Lizzie Siddal.
Lizzie Siddal, Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s wife, had the dubious honour of being exhumed seven years after she was buried so that Rossetti could extract a book of his poems which, in his grief, he had buried with her in her coffin. I wrote a fictional account of Lizzie Siddal’s exhumation which appears in my next novel, The Sleeping Angel. You can read the extract here.
So who’s buried in the grave at the top of this post? Well, it wasn’t such a hard question. It’s the playwright Anthony Shaffer who wrote the play Sleuth. Anthony Shaffer by tpholland is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
I could go on. I haven’t even mentioned Michael Faraday (buried in the dissenters’ section of the West Cemetery) and Catherine Dickens (wife of Charles) but I think that’s enough for now. All the graves mentioned in this post are in the East Cemetery, except the Rossetti grave which is in the West Cemetery.