Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our Weekend In London

We drove to Crouch End in North London last weekend to stay with Paul's brother Mike and his family. It's so amazing around there, the architecture is stunning. I would have taken more pictures to show you but I'm hating on my camera right now and I refuse to give it the satisfaction.

We had some lunch then went for a walk to Alexandra Palace, or "Ali Pali" as it's known to the locals. Mike lives at the top of a hill and can see it from his from front garden.

Clearly I did not take this photo, but I wanted to show you how cool it is. First opened as “The People’s Palace” in 1873, Alexandra Palace provided the Victorians with a great environment and recreation centre. Just sixteen days after it’s opening, the Palace, which had already attracted over 120,000 visitors, was destroyed by a fire in the dome.

In 1935, the BBC leased the eastern part of the building from which the first public television transmissions were made in 1936. That's the transmitter on the right.

Paul reading to Cousin "Jazzy" and Chachi

Uncle Mike and Chachi in Waterlow Park

Aunt Pippa and Chachi

Now for my favorite bit! Highgate Cemetery was something I had been looking forward to for a long time. The cemetery in its original form — the northwestern wooded area — opened in 1839, as part of a plan to provide seven large, modern cemeteries (known as the "Magnificent Seven") around the outside of London. The inner-city cemeteries, mostly the graveyards attached to individual churches, had long been unable to cope with the number of burials and were seen as a hazard to health and an undignified way to treat the dead.

This is the front building where the funeral procession would end. Through that iron gate and across Swain's Lane is the East side of the cemetery. Karl Marx and Douglas Adams are buried there.

Paul and I took the guided tour of the West cemetery. This is the grave of a small child, you can tell from the small chair.

This is the entrance to the Egyptian Avenue. Gorgeous. The gateway of which is a large Pharoanic arch, flanked either side by two columns with closed lotus buds as capitals. The whole is then guarded by two oblisks, with one still reaching its full heights whilst the other is missing its top half.

Inside the Egyptian Avenue. This was spendy property indeed. Only the towns most prominent could afford these tombs.

Looking back at the entrance.

Spooky, huh?

Nero the Lion, protecting owner George Wombwell who was the English forerunner of Barnum and Bailey. His collection of exotic animals became a highlight of British town fairs in Victorian times.

The ivy is everywhere. It actually gets into the stone and slowly tears it apart. Many of the headstones have been destroyed. Although some wealthy families continued to purchase rights of burial during the 30's, Highgate was passing into a long, slow decline. Greater and greater numbers of graves became abandoned and maintenance became minimal. The chapels were closed in 1956. In 1960 the London Cemetery Company, facing bankruptcy, was absorbed into the larger United Cemetery Company, which struggled to keep the cemetery afloat until funds ran out in 1975. The cemetery was taken over by vandals who destroyed so much of the Victorian beauty.

Here lies bare knuckle prize fighter, World Heavyweight Champion Tom Sayers, watched over by his faithful dog "Lion".

This wonderfully carved sleeping angel is my favorite. The Friends of Highgate Cemetery was launched to secure access to the cemetery for public benefit and future generations. Over the last 30 years much restoration and conservation work has been carried out on buildings, boundary walls, architectural features and the landscape. Several features and monuments have been listed as of special importance by English Heritage.


judyette said...

very cool photos! i like the sleeping angel too. from the pics, it looks to be cold dark and damp in there, was it? i wouldn't want to be there on all hallows eve, but yeah...beautiful architecture. thanks for sharing the photos :)

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