The Independent London Newspaper
23rd May 2019

Karl Marx honey leaves a bad taste at Highgate Cemetery

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    John Sadler

    Published: 2 February, 2017

    • I EXPECT Highgate Cemetery’s manage­ment is secretly delighted at the publicity generated by the late George Michael’s interment there. 

    It’ll be interesting to know whether his fans wishing to leave floral tributes in the cemetery in his memory will be charged an entry fee for the privilege. 

    If fans are charged to enter, let’s hope Highgate Cemetery (HC) does the right thing and donates the proceeds to charity (one other than Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, of course).

    Chief executive officer Ian Dungavell was minuted at last year’s AGM as saying it was “nonsense to think that the cemetery should not encourage tourism” and he hasn’t disappointed. 

    Where else can one buy those essential HC-branded scented candles (£18 each), Karl Marx-themed honey (£8 a jar) and “ironic” notebooks (£2 for eight pieces of A5 paper)? I wonder what future delights we can expect Brand HC to offer up for visitors to buy, buy, buy – perhaps its own fashion or perfume range?

    I have a splendid idea that will complement the above-mentioned, overpriced, tat and really up those treasured TripAdvisor ratings: a permanent café in the West cemetery’s courtyard! Here punters can savour an organic extra skinny soya latte and a reviving cake as they watch mourners attempt to file through the tour groups to visit their loved ones.  

    After all, why send valuable tourism pounds elsewhere when you could milk (and sugar) visitors onsite yourself? Heck, it’s not like HC’s a working burial ground or anything…

    Church End, Finchley



    highgate cemetery fundraising

    Highgate cemetery is very wealthy with considerable assets. It used to be run very effectively by volunteers. It now has increasingly paid staff, who salaries are paid by the volunteer guides who give tours for nothing but raise thousands of pounds every year for which the cemetery charges £12 for a seventy minute tour.
    The guides do noteven get free membership of the friends.
    As the tours are not allowed to wandered about, the healthy and safety is not really an issue

    Highgate Cemetery fundraising

    I suspect that all the money will be going to the upkeep of the cemetery. It is a huge site and some parts of it have been badly neglected through lack of people and resources to keep it in good and safe order. There could be huge penalties if someone were to be injured by a falling stone or tripped on a ground stone hidden by overgrwoth of weeds. No one want to see the cemetery forced to be closed to the public because it is unsafe but to keep it open a lot of money is needed. Yours sincerely, Daphne Liddle

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