Highgate Cemetery, North London, England

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highgate cemetery vaults

Highgate Cemetery is a place of burial in north London, England. It is designated Grade I on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. It is divided into two parts, named the East and West cemetery.

There are approximately 170,000 people buried in around 53,000 graves. Highgate Cemetery is notable for some of the famous people buried there  – such as philosopher/political thinker Karl Marx, TV presenter Jeremy Beadle, Carl Mayer (The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari), novelist George Eliot, former Sex Pistols and Bow Wow Wow manager Malcolm McLaren, actor Ralph Richardson (The GhoulTales from the Crypt), writer Anthony Shaffer (The Wicker Man), folk/jazz musician and Pentangle founder Bert Jansch and actor Patrick Wymark (Repulsion, Witchfinder General and The Blood on Satan’s Claw).


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The cemetery is also notable for the myth of the Highgate Vampire, for its use as a location for various novels, Amicus and Hammer horror films, as well as for its de facto status as a nature reserve. The sprawling, partly overgrown steep incline of the West Cemetery, with its Victorian crypts and catacombs, is a popular location with goths for ghoulishly romantic dates.

85 swains lane N6 highgate cemetery Eldridge Smerin Architects

Towards the top of the West Cemetery is 85 Swains Lane, a modern glass and concrete house designed by architects Eldridge Smerin in 2008. This imposing building overlooks the gravestones and provides a spectacular juxtaposition of the new and the old.

orb weaver spider Meta bourneti

In January 2013, it was reported that while conducting a bat survey, a colony of more than a hundred very rare large spiders – the orb weaver spider Meta bourneti (which measures more than 30mm) – had been found in the vaults of the Egyptian Avenue at the cemetery by London Wildlife Trust. As the tombs where it was found date back to the 1830s, it is possible that the population of spiders have lived there undetected for at least 150 years.


The Highgate Vampire Sean Manchester

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Witchcraft ’70 aka The Satanists (1969)

Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970):

The Abominable Doctor Phibes (1971):

Tales from the Crypt (1972)

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1972)

From Beyond the Grave (1973):

Dorian Gray (2009):

The Body Beneath (1970, Andy Milligan)


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