The Terraced Catacombs Of Highgate Cemetery [North London].

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MacVicar

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Recently I attended a tour of Highgate Cemetery in the early afternoon, the weather was most pleasant. Though I had gone on the tour in 1991 [30 years ago] there then wasn't an opportunity to visit the unique above-ground terraced catacombs, due to restoration still to be undertaken. Highgate's catacombs are small when you consider the far spookier and far more capacious ones at either Kensal Green (or) West Norwood. Some friends and I attended the Kensal Green catacombs one quiet Sunday afternoon around 2004, we were not disappointed. The tour guide led us to an exciting-looking, but narrow staircase which descended into the bowels of this impressive, subterranean resting place where the long-dead could be visited more intimately. I had on my person a powerful lamp which was extremely useful, as some parts of the catacombs were in total darkness, illuminating not only the walk in front of you but the moldering exterior wood panels of the lead coffins themselves. I for one was totally fascinated with the visit, as the guide took us to an even older section of the catacombs, I daresay the first deceased occupants of the many shelves to be seen. I have to point out here, that K.G. Cemetery, unfortunately, is currently closed for the catacombs part of the visit due to work that 'needs to be done'. Likewise the same applies to West Norwood Cemetery, now I have not [yet] been to that cemetery, but have read that; 'nothing prepares you' for those catacombs, I have read this from various sources too. All deliciously spooky-I will attach two photographs from Highgate's catacombs-one of which the long-dead occupant shares the shelve space with a living arachnid!
 

MacVicar

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First Photo: Coffin with spider who has her web attached. Second Photo: Lead interior covering has recessed significantly.
 

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Sarah Waldock

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lovely piece of work illuminating the spider and web and getting the detail as well, congratulations. Kudos!
 

Hayman

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It felt like I was invading their privacy, mind you we were asked not to take photos of them.
"we were asked not to take photos of them"!!!! Why? And by whom? Some new morality jobsworth? Why allow 'tourists' at all? Did you pay for the 'privelege' not to take photos?
 

night crawler

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"we were asked not to take photos of them"!!!! Why? And by whom? Some new morality jobsworth? Why allow 'tourists' at all? Did you pay for the 'privelege' not to take photos?
No he was one of the guides taking us around he just said would we mind refraining from taking photos in the catacomb , I might add the place was quite dark anyway.

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Hayman

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No he was one of the guides taking us around he just said would we mind refraining from taking photos in the catacomb , I might add the place was quite dark anyway.

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What was his reason for making the request? Why did he think he had any authority to make it? Was he questioned for making such an irrational request? It strikes me as yet one more example of the professional offendee in action. Creeping touchyfeely-ism.
 

night crawler

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What was his reason for making the request? Why did he think he had any authority to make it? Was he questioned for making such an irrational request? It strikes me as yet one more example of the professional offendee in action. Creeping touchyfeely-ism.
For F**ks sake why are you getting all high and mighty over this, your the only one who is bothered over it. Hygate is run as a Charitable Trust and the guy was a Volunteer who helped around with guided tours He does not get paid to do it, why should any one in their right mind question what he asked you to do. It's people like him who are trying to keep the place open for use to go around and see instead of it getting so overgrown it is impossible to see anything. My feeling is to leave the poor souls in peace.
 
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AngleseyGuy

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For F**ks sake why are you getting all high and mighty over this, your the only one who is bothered over it. Hygate is run as a Charitable Trust and the guy was a Volunteer who helped around with guided tours He does not get paid to do it, why should any one in their right mind question what he asked you to do. It's people like him who are trying to keep the place open for use to go around and see instead of it getting so overgrown it is impossible to see anything. My feeling is to leave the poor souls in peace.
Exactly. And what's wrong with simply showing a little respect for the dead (and the volunteer). I really hate this "I've got my rights" attitude exhibited so much these days where every rule or polite request is questioned and reacted against. There's enough woke-ism about worth getting worked up about without wasting energy being angry over this.
 

BikinGlynn

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For F**ks sake why are you getting all high and mighty over this, your the only one who is bothered over it. Hygate is run as a Charitable Trust and the guy was a Volunteer who helped around with guided tours He does not get paid to do it, why should any one in their right mind question what he asked you to do. It's people like him who are trying to keep the place open for use to go around and see instead of it getting so overgrown it is impossible to see anything. My feeling is to leave the poor souls in peace.

Agreed 100% if you are in there with their permission, u need to do what they ask.
It they asked you to take your shoes off to go in you would be obliged to do it or they can simply refuse you entry.

Having said that it is being a bit precious as this was on "impossible engineering" the other night! & they filmed the whole thing lol
 

MacVicar

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Agreed 100% if you are in there with their permission, u need to do what they ask.
It they asked you to take your shoes off to go in you would be obliged to do it or they can simply refuse you entry.

Having said that it is being a bit precious as this was on "impossible engineering" the other night! & they filmed the whole thing lol
What was on Impossible Engineering?
 

BikinGlynn

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What was on Impossible Engineering?

They were showing the building of British Antarctic survey labs & they had to use hydraulic jacks to stop them sinking into the ground.
They said the technology for this was first used on the coffin lift in these crypts, & did a pretty good walk through vid in the catacombs
 

MacVicar

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They were showing the building of British Antarctic survey labs & they had to use hydraulic jacks to stop them sinking into the ground.
They said the technology for this was first used on the coffin lift in these crypts, & did a pretty good walk through vid in the catacombs

Oh damn, would like to have seen this-that would be the hydraulic lift or catafalque, used to lower the ultra-heavy coffins down. The cadavers were first put into an 'ordinary' coffin-that was then enclosed in lead completely, and then the exterior wooden 'finish' sometimes decorated. The lead covering was pierced to enable corpse gas to escape as the body degraded.
 

BikinGlynn

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Oh damn, would like to have seen this-that would be the hydraulic lift or catafalque, used to lower the ultra-heavy coffins down. The cadavers were first put into an 'ordinary' coffin-that was then enclosed in lead completely, and then the exterior wooden 'finish' sometimes decorated. The lead covering was pierced to enable corpse gas to escape as the body degraded.

thats right, apparently the one in there is one of the earliest examples of them.
 

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