Highgate Cemetery
Provides a Window on the Past

Highgate is well known
for its famous residents, past and present. And one is still drawing the
crowds, despite having died years ago.

The
village of Highgate is that rarest of things, a genuine village that stands
just five miles from one of the world’s largest cities. Insulated from the
environs of central London by Hampstead Heath, residents feel as if they are a
world away from the city, yet within 20 minutes, they can be in the hustle and
bustle of Leadenhall Street, Leicester Square or the West End.

It
is hardly surprising that Highgate has always been a popular and exclusive
place to live, and as the local Kentish
Town estate agent
will be quick to confirm, this remains as true
today as it has ever been. Whatever the state of the property market elsewhere,
Highgate will always be a desirable spot.

Here,
we take a look at five of Highgate’s most famous residents – and be warned, in
some respect, the word “resident” might take on an unusual meaning.

1) Karl Marx

Let’s
go in at the deep end. As the most influential philosopher and revolutionary of
the 19th century, Karl Marx played as big a role as anyone in
shaping the world around us. Despite the fact that he died almost 135 years
ago, he is still often described as Highgate’s most famous resident.

His
funeral was actually a low-key affair, attended by family and friends. Yet as
his stature and influence grew in the years following his death, the grave
gradually became a place of pilgrimage. The elaborate headstone that makes it
one of the most famous graves in the world was unveiled in 1954, and despite
changing political times, people are as fascinated by Marx as ever. In fact,
the BBC recently commissioned a radio
documentary
all about Highgate’s most famous resident.

2) George Michael

Singer,
songwriter and philanthropist George Michael’s life was cut tragically short
when he died suddenly on Christmas day in 2016 at the age of 53.

At
the height of his fame in the 1990s, he purchased The Grove, an £8 million
mansion in Highgate. This was one of a number of properties he owned, but was,
perhaps, the one closest to his heart. After passing away at his residence in
Goring on Thames, he was laid to rest in Highgate Cemetery close to his
mother’s grave.

3) Douglas Adams

The
novelist, satirist and broadcaster, who is best known for his ground breaking
radio comedy and series of books The
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
is another who was taken from us far too
soon.

He
always had an affection for North London, and spent the late 1970s and early
80s in Upper Street, in nearby Islington. He spent many of his later years
based in the USA, but when he died of a heart attack at the age of 49, he
returned home to a final resting place in Highgate Cemetery.

4) Ray Davies

Finally, a resident in the more conventional sense of the word. The founder, songwriter and lead singer of The Kinks has been entertaining crowds for well over 50 years. At 73, he is still as active as ever, and is one of Highgate’s most well-known and well-loved figures.