On a beautifully sunny afternoon Jenn and I ventured forth for a tour of Highgate Cemetery. The whole experience was fantastic and our tour guide was incredibly engaging and knowledgable. The key to a great tour guide lies in their passion for their knowledge-base and an enthusiasm for sharing this information setting with others. In many ways this perfectly describes a major portion of librarianship.
The above is the final resting place of George Wombwell who owned a Victorian traveling menagerie. The most magnificent beast in his collection is currently depicted in statue – Nero the Lion. Interestingly enough, Wombwell had his coffin on display for the public to see before he needed to use it for all eternity.
One of the most striking aspects of visiting Highgate is seeing the state and organization of the cemetery. The upkeep is completely managed by volunteers and donations. Clearly, with more funding gravestones that are in a disarray would be repaired and cleaned up. Also, the tour guide spoke of difficulties concerning the documentation of the location and names of gravestones. This is another example of a lack of documentation for archival purposes. For historians, family members, or general inquiries many graves are lots in the headstone masses.
Check out the website for the Friends of the Highgate Cemetery.