The London suburb of Highgate is still noted for its beautiful eighteenth- and nineteenth century architecture, its real village atmosphere, its old pubs and pretty residential areas. The nearby Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Waterlow Park make this a green and pleasant place to live, work or visit in the capital, with fantastic views across the city. However, as late as 1900, Highgate was a village at the edge of London and, until 1876, the site of a toll gate, hence the village's name. It is famous for Highgate School, founded in 1565, and for its tenuous connections with the highwayman Dick Turpin. Coleridge spent his last years in Highgate recovering from his opium addiction, and the village is also home to Highgate Cemetery, the final resting place of figures ranging from Karl Marx, Christina Rossetti and Douglas Adams to a brother of Abraham Lincoln's assassin! Join Michael Hammerson in exploring the past life of this historic village and some of its colourful residents through old photographs, many of which are previously unpublished.
Michael Hammerson was born in Highgate and has lived there for most of his life. As an archaeologist, he worked for a Museum of London team focusing on Greater London. He is vice-president of the Highgate Society, one of the country's leading civic amenity societies, and has acted as chairman of its planning group for twenty-five years. He is a committee member of the London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies. Having studied local history during all that time, he has contributed to several publications on the subject, with a particular interest in the destruction of rural Middlesex, and is currently working on a variety of local and wider historical projects. He also gives guided historical walks around Highgate Wood and Hampstead Heath for the City of London.