As 2017 makes way for 2018, I thought I’d highlight the nine most liked photos from our Instagram account – a lovely mix of photos and history: what’s your favourite?
9. The Biggest Bonsai Tree
Did you know the man who created the area called ‘King’s Cross’ in London also created the world’s biggest Bonsai tree? The mighty Cedar of Lebanon in @highgate_cemetery is potted into Egyptian catacombs; nature’s sentinel to those who sleep in lead and wood below. This tree guardian is the centrepiece of our examination of the man who helped kick start the garden cemetery movement!
8. The Fabulous Miss Sam Perrin
One person who makes Cemetery jaunts amazing is the fabulous Miss Sam Perrin! We met on Twitter a few years ago and she took us on a secret tour of Highgate Cemetery, where she was a guide for 12 years. Since then Sam has become an integral member of the Club and has written some excellent blogs and helped me deliver some brilliant tours! I was testing out my Nikon D3300 and got her to pose for some portraiture – she always brings a smile to a Cemetery jaunt!
7. It’s a Puppet
What’s so special about this grave? Well, Arthur Prince was a ventriloquist who debuted the infamous ‘Sailor Jim’ at the South London Palace in 1902. He would later go on to perform at the Royal Command Performance (a forebear to the Royal Variety Performance) of 1912 infront of King George V. Prince standardised the ‘human’ look of dummies to generations of ventriloquists afterwards.
He died in July 1946 and thus ended both Prince and Jim’s career. So inseparable were they in life that Jim rests in the coffin alongside his master.
Have a look at one of their terrifying TV appearances below.
6. The Judge
Just off the main avenue of @fobcofficial is Richard Henn Collins, Baron Collins. He was the judge at Oscar Wilde’s first trial in 1895; later overseeing cases which involved the boundary dispute between the British Empire and Venezuela as well as leading an inquiry into the Adolf Beck case, where the Norwegian seaman-turned-struggling-businessman was mistakenly accused of theft; the case was the opening act for years of misfortune where ‘justice (for Beck) was not only blind, but deaf and mute as well’. Collins was Master of the Rolls, which in layman’s terms means he was the second most senior judge on the country.
5. Easter in Hampstead Cemetery
A recce around one of our favourite cemeteries as we were researching our sell-out tour this spring led top this picture where Primroses were bursting from every grave and tomb. Spring had sprung and we had a very nice picnic, in the company of Joseph Lister, pioneer of antiseptic surgery and Florence Upton, creator of the Golliwog. Photo by the lovely Sam.
4. Selfie 2.0
Taken on the same afternoon that I took Sam’s portrait.Take a stroll around Hampstead; it’s a lovely place to spend an afternoon.
3. Thunderous Sky
The chapel of Hampstead Cemetery as designed by Charles Bell; completed in 1876. I was playing around with some filters using the Enlight app – it turned out pretty well! There are some amazing people here – two actresses who worked with Alfred Hitchcock, a poet who would often spend time in Nunhead Cemetery and a man who gave Reading FC one of its nicknames! Photo credit: Sam Perrin; edit by me.
Nothing more disturbing than seeing a stone hand just casually creeping out of a headstone for absolutely no reason at all. Hidden in the ivy of Abney Park cemetery.
1. University College London, then and now
University College London was opened in 1826, originally as the London University and is notable for a number of firsts – it admitted students irrespective of their religion, allowed women to study alongside men in 1876 and was the first University to offer English as a subject to study in 1828. Sir William Ramsay, in his capacity as a professor of chemistry, also happened to discover Krypton, Xenon and Neon in his laboratory. The left part of the photo shows the Wilkins building decked out in floral bunting for an event in the late 19th Century, the right hand side was on the first weekend of February 2017.