Saturday, 26 March 2011

Highgate Cemetery part three

So here's another batch of headstones from the wonderful Highgate Cemetery.
This time I'm going to move my atttention to the older, West side, all the previous ones were in the East side, which after you've paid your entry fee (again, this goes to the charity that runs the cemetery for upkeep, etc.. so really is worth while) you are free to roam around and spend as much time as you like enjoying the surroundings. The West side, however is accessible only by guided tour. These are well worth it though and if you get a good guide (and there are many) you will learn a lot and have a great time.  Now to some notables...
Michael Faraday, one of the pioneers of science and electricity. He is buried in a part of cemetery used for "dissenters" (Non-Anglican) and its not normally part of the regular tour, but if you ask you might get lucky and get to see it. You may get the same luck to see my next grave, another not on the normal route, but this time because its in an area of the cemetery that is still rather overgrown and there is no safe path for many visitors. 
This is the grave of the Rossettis.Well, to be exact it is Christina (the poet), and her mother, Frances Polidori and brother William Michael. Dante Gabriel, no doubt the most famous Rossetti is buried elsewhere (Birchington on Sea in Kent to be exact) Also in this grave is Dante's wife and model, Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal. The famous story is that when she died Dante buried a book of his unpublished poems in with her body, only to want them back a few years later when his fame was on the wane, and had the coffin exhumed to retrieve the book. The story goes that Elizabeth's famous red hair had continued to grow and almost filled the coffin and her beauty was untouched. The book of poems still failed to ignite much interest afterwards for him though. To me, this grave really needs to be put onto the regular tour, but having managed to get to see it, I can see why they wouldn't want to. You have to walk over several graves to get to it. But it's still one of the most important and indeed, famous graves in the cemetery.

Above is not really a famous person, but it is of note because it's the grave of George Michael's mother. He apparently tends the grave regularly, when not falling asleep at the wheel of his car, or getting locked up for being off his face somewhere.
This is the grave of the former Russian dissident, KGB member and later a British citizen, who was poisoned, by, allegedly, the Russian Secret Service. Such was the extent of his radioactive poisoning, apparently the grave is dug extra deep and the coffin heavily lead lined. The photo on the grave being a Russian custom.

Still more to come, I think I will move on to the interesting and beautiful angels and memorials that fill this wonderful cemetery.

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