Last updated

Hampstead Heath 7.JPG
Highgate seen from Parliament Hill
Greater London UK location map 2.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Greater London
Population10,955 (2011 Census. Ward) [1]
OS grid reference TQ285875
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district N6, N19
Postcode district NW5
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°34′18″N0°08′41″W / 51.5716°N 0.1448°W / 51.5716; -0.1448

Highgate is a suburban area of London at the northeastern corner of Hampstead Heath, 4+12 miles (7 kilometres) north-northwest of Charing Cross.


Highgate is one of the most expensive London suburbs in which to live. [2] It has three active conservation organisations, the Highgate Society, the Highgate Neighbourhood Forum and the Highgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee to protect and enhance its character and amenities.

Until late Victorian times it was a distinct village outside London, sitting astride the main road to the north. The area retains many green expanses including the eastern part of Hampstead Heath, three ancient woods, [3] Waterlow Park and the eastern-facing slopes known as Highgate bowl.

At its centre is Highgate village, largely a collection of Georgian shops, pubs, restaurants and residential streets [4] interspersed with diverse landmarks such as St Michael's Church and steeple, St. Joseph's Church and its green copper dome, Highgate School (1565), Jacksons Lane arts centre housed in a Grade II listed former church, the Gatehouse Inn dating from 1670 which houses the theatre Upstairs at the Gatehouse [5] and Berthold Lubetkin's 1930s Highpoint buildings. Pond Square, behind the High Street, is a registered village green and is the centre of communal activities which take place in the elegant buildings of the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution and Highgate Society facing the Square.

Highgate is best known for the Victorian Highgate Cemetery in which the Communist philosopher Karl Marx and the novelist George Eliot are buried, along with many other notable people. Adjoining is Holly Village, the first gated community, in 1865, which is a Grade II listed site. [6]

The village is at the top of Highgate Hill, which provides views across central London. Highgate is 136 m (446 ft) above sea level at its highest point. [7]

The area is divided among three London boroughs: Haringey in the north and east, Camden in the south and west, and Islington in the south and east. The postal district is N6.


The name of the village is commonly /ˈhɡt/ . The London Underground in announcements at Highgate tube station [8] uses the alternative pronunciation of /ˈhɡɪt/ , where the final syllable matches the last syllable in "frigate".


A view of Highgate, John Constable, 1st quarter of 19th century. John Constable 003.jpg
A view of Highgate, John Constable, 1st quarter of 19th century.

Historically, Highgate adjoined the Bishop of London's hunting estate. Highgate gets its name from these hunting grounds, as there was a high, deer-proof hedge surrounding the estate: 'the gate in the hedge'. [9]

The bishop kept a toll-house where one of the main northward roads out of London entered his land. A number of pubs sprang up along the route, one of which, the Gatehouse, commemorates the toll-house.

Hampstead Lane and Highgate Hill contain the red brick Victorian buildings of Highgate School and its adjacent Chapel of St Michael. The school has played a paramount role in the life of the village and has existed on its site since its founding was permitted by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I in 1565.

The area north of Hampstead Lane and east of the High Street was part of Hornsey parish and also later the Municipal Borough of Hornsey, and the seat of that borough's governing body for many years.

Highgate Hill, the steep street linking Archway (traditionally called part of Upper Holloway) and Highgate village, was the route of the Highgate Hill Cable Tramway, the first cable car to be built in Europe. It operated between 1884 and 1909.

Like much of London, Highgate suffered damage during World War II by German air raids. The local tube station was used as a bomb shelter.

Highgate New Town Stoneleigh Terrace, Highgate.jpg
Highgate New Town

Highgate New Town is a post-war estate adjacent to the cemetery, designed by Camden Council with similarities to the Alexandra Road estate.


Between 1983 and 2010 Highgate was part of the Hampstead and Highgate constituency. The Boundary Commission report of 2003 recommended removing the Camden part of Highgate from the remainder of that constituency and joining it with Kentish Town and Holborn to the south in order to form an enlarged Holborn and St Pancras constituency from the 2010 general election.

Since 1983 the northern half of Highgate village was part of the Hornsey and Wood Green constituency. Until 2023 the southern half of Highgate was in the Holborn & St Pancras Parliamentary constituency whose MP is Keir Starmer of the Labour Party, the party's current leader. The whole of Highgate Village is now part of the Hampstead and Highgate (UK Parliament constituency).

Transport and locale

The Angel Inn Angel Inn, Highgate, N6.jpg
The Angel Inn
The Duke's Head Dukes Head, Highgate, N6 (2883803424).jpg
The Duke's Head
Kenwood House Kenwood House.jpg
Kenwood House

Nearest places

Bus routes

Nearest tube stations

Places of interest

Highgate is known for its pubs which line the old high street and surrounding streets. Some notable favourites are the Angel, the Flask, the Duke's Head and the Wrestlers.


The 2011 census showed that the Highgate ward of Haringey was 82% white (60% British, 19% Other, 3% Irish). 40.9% of the ward were Christian, 7% Jewish and 3.8% Muslim. [10]

The Highgate ward of Camden meanwhile was 80% white (61% British, 15% Other, 4% Irish), and 3% Black African. 37.5% of the ward were Christian, 4.2% Jewish, and 5.1% Muslim. [11]



St Michael's Church St Michael, South Grove, London N6 - geograph.org.uk - 307883.jpg
St Michael's Church
St Joseph's Church St Joseph's Church, Highgate - geograph.org.uk - 370060.jpg
St Joseph's Church

Highgate's main Church of England parish church, St Michael's, is situated close to the summit of the hill, and is the highest church in Greater London. It was built as one of the Commissioners' churches in 1831 and consecrated and opened on 8 November 1832. The architect was Lewis Vulliamy, and in 1831 his original drawings for the church were exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts. [12]

From the late 17th century until 1830 Ashhurst House, the home of former Lord Mayor of London Sir William Ashhurst, stood on the site of the church. The remains of the house's cellar now form part of the church's crypt. [12]

The church's spire, built of Bath stone, with a cross of Portland stone, is a landmark on London's northern skyline. [12]

Inside, the chancel and choir stalls were done by G. E. Street in 1880. The pulpit dates from 1848. The present bench pews date from 1879, replacing box pews. The present organ is by Hill and Davidson, and was installed in 1885, replacing an earlier instrument of 1842. It was overhauled in 1985. [12]

There is a monument to Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his family in the form of a slate slab in the middle of the church. [12]

The church was damaged in the Second World War by enemy air raids and the present stained glass window at the east end was installed in 1954, replacing a window broken in the Blitz. It is one of the last works by Evie Hone and depicts the Last Supper. [12]

Further down Highgate Hill is the town's Roman Catholic parish church, St Joseph's. It was designed by Albert Vickers, and built in 1888, replacing an earlier, smaller church of 1861. Although St Joseph's Church was opened in 1889 by the Bishop of Liverpool, it was not until 1932, when its debts were cleared, that it was officially consecrated. [13]

The church has a distinctive copper dome with a green patina, and the interior of the dome was painted by Nathaniel Westlake in 1891. The organ is by William Hill and Sons, and installed in 1945 as a memorial to the local victims of the Second World War. [13]

1980s murder

On Friday 26 August 1988, Michael Williams, a 43-year-old father from Highgate who worked for the Home Office in Pimlico, disappeared while travelling back home after an employee social. His body was found at Highgate Wood the next day. The case remains unsolved despite being featured heavily in the national press and on the BBC's TV programme Crimewatch . [14]

Notable inhabitants

Highgate Cemetery is the burial place of Communist philosopher Karl Marx, Michael Faraday, Douglas Adams, George Eliot, Jacob Bronowski, Sir Ralph Richardson, Dawn Foster, Christina Rossetti, Sir Sidney Nolan, Alexander Litvinenko, Malcolm McLaren, Radclyffe Hall, Joseph Wolf and singer-songwriter George Michael.

Many notable alumni have passed through Highgate School, either Masters or indeed Old Cholmeleians, the name given to old boys of the school. These include T.S. Eliot, who taught the poet laureate John Betjeman there, Gerard Manley Hopkins the poet, the composers John Taverner and John Rutter, John Venn the inventor of Venn diagrams, actor Geoffrey Palmer, Anthony Crosland MP and Labour reformer, and the cabinet minister Charles Clarke.

A blue plaque on a house at the top of North Hill notes that Charles Dickens stayed there in 1832, when he was 20 years old.

Peter Sellers lived as a boy in a cottage in Muswell Hill Road, where his mother had moved in order to send him to the Catholic St Aloysius Boys' School in Hornsey Lane.

In Victorian times St Mary Magdalene House of Charity in Highgate was a refuge for former prostitutes—"fallen women"—where Christina Rossetti was a volunteer from 1859 to 1870. It may have inspired her best-known poem, Goblin Market.

Siouxsie and the Banshees' bassist Steven Severin was born and brought up there.


In 1817 the poet, aesthetic philosopher and critic Samuel Taylor Coleridge came to live at 3, The Grove, Highgate, the home of Dr James Gillman, in order to rehabilitate from his opium addiction. [17] After Dr Gillman built a special wing for the poet, Coleridge lived there for the rest of his life, becoming known as the sage of Highgate. [18]

While here some of his most famous poems, though written years earlier, were first published including "Kubla Khan". His literary autobiography, Biographia Literaria , appeared in 1817. While living there he became friends with his neighbour Joseph Hardman. [19] His home became a place of pilgrimage for figures such as Carlyle and Emerson. He died here on 25 July 1834 and is buried in the crypt of nearby St Michael's Church. The writer J. B. Priestley subsequently lived in the same house; a commemorative plaque marks the property.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hampstead</span> Area of Camden in London, England

Hampstead is an area in London, England, which lies four miles northwest of Charing Cross, and extends from the A5 road to Hampstead Heath, a large, hilly expanse of parkland. The area forms the northwest part of the London Borough of Camden, a borough in Inner London which for the purposes of the London Plan is designated as part of Central London.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hornsey</span> Area of London, England

Hornsey is a district of north London, England, in the London Borough of Haringey. It is an inner-suburban, for the most part residential, area centred 10 km (6.2 mi) north of Charing Cross. It adjoins green spaces Queen's Wood to the west and Alexandra Park to the north, and lies in the valley of the now-culverted River Moselle. The central core of the area is known as Hornsey Village.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Muswell Hill</span> Suburb in north London, England

Muswell Hill is a suburban district of the London Borough of Haringey, north London. The hill, which reaches over 100 m (330 ft) above sea level, is situated 5+12 miles north of Charing Cross.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">London Borough of Haringey</span> London borough in United Kingdom

The London Borough of Haringey is a London borough in north London, classified by some definitions as part of Inner London, and by others as part of Outer London. It was created in 1965 by the amalgamation of three former boroughs. It shares borders with six other London boroughs. Clockwise from the north, they are: Enfield, Waltham Forest, Hackney, Islington, Camden, and Barnet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">East Finchley</span> Human settlement in England

East Finchley is an area in North London, immediately north of Hampstead Heath. Like neighbouring Muswell Hill, it straddles the London Boroughs of Barnet and Haringey, with most of East Finchley falling into the London Borough of Barnet. It has the greenest high road in London.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Crouch End</span> Human settlement in England

Crouch End is an area of North London, approximately five miles (8 km) from the City of London in the western half of the borough of Haringey. It is within the Hornsey postal district (N8). It has been described by the BBC as one of "a new breed of urban villages" in London. In 2023, it was voted the best place to live in London by the Sunday Times, saying "A creative edge and friendly neighbours give this lofty northern enclave social capital in the capital".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Archway, London</span> Human settlement in England

Archway is an area of north London, England, in the London Borough of Islington 3.8 miles (6 km) north of Charing Cross. It straddles the A1 and is named after a local landmark, the high, single-arched Archway Bridge which crossed the road in a cutting to the north. It has a modern commercial hub around Vantage Point and Archway tube station.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Swiss Cottage</span> Area of Hampstead in London, England

Swiss Cottage is an area of Hampstead in the London Borough of Camden, England. It is centred on the junction of Avenue Road and Finchley Road and includes Swiss Cottage tube station. Swiss Cottage lies 3.25 miles (5.23 km) north-northwest of Charing Cross. The area was named after a public house in the centre of it, known as "Ye Olde Swiss Cottage".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hampstead and Highgate (UK Parliament constituency)</span> Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1983–2010

Hampstead & Highgate was a parliamentary constituency covering the northern half of the London Borough of Camden which includes the village of Hampstead and part of that of Highgate.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fortis Green</span> Human settlement in England

Fortis Green is a ward in the extreme northwestern corner of the Borough of Haringey, north London. It is also the name of the road that runs between Muswell Hill and East Finchley which forms part of the A504.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hornsey and Wood Green (UK Parliament constituency)</span> Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1983 onwards

Hornsey and Wood Green is a constituency in Greater London created in 1983 and represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2015 by Catherine West, of the Labour Party. To date it has drawn together for general elections parts of the London Borough of Haringey.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edgware, Highgate and London Railway</span> Former railway in North London

The Edgware, Highgate and London Railway was a railway in North London, England. The railway was a precursor of parts of London Underground's Northern line and was, in the 1930s, the core of an ambitious expansion plan for that line which was thwarted by the Second World War. Parts of the line were closed in the 1950s and have since been removed.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Parks and open spaces in the London Borough of Camden</span>

The London Borough of Camden is in percentage terms the second-greenest of the Inner London boroughs. It contains most of the swathe of land Hampstead Heath and many smaller green spaces. The Central London part of the borough, south of Euston Road, is characterised by its elegant garden squares with large instances: Tavistock Square and Bedford Square. In this part runs the Regent's Canal around the top edge of Regent's Park, a little of which is in Camden, including all of associated Primrose Hill. Highgate Cemetery is in Camden but Highgate Wood is in the neighbouring borough of Haringey.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coldfall Wood</span> Ancient woodland in Muswell Hill, North London

Coldfall Wood is an ancient woodland in Muswell Hill, North London. It covers an area of approximately 14 hectares and is surrounded by St Pancras and Islington Cemetery, the East Finchley public allotments, and the residential streets Creighton Avenue and Barrenger Road. It is the site of the discoveries which first led to the recognition that glaciation had once reached southern England. It was declared a local nature reserve in 2013, and is also a Site of Borough Importance for Nature Conservation, Grade 1.

Hornsey was an ancient parish in the county of Middlesex. It was both a civil parish, used for administrative purposes, and an ecclesiastical parish of the Church of England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Queen's Wood</span> 52-acre wood in Haringey, London

Queen's Wood is a 52-acre area of ancient woodland in the London Borough of Haringey, abutting Highgate Wood and lying between East Finchley, Highgate, Muswell Hill and Crouch End. It was originally part of the ancient Forest of Middlesex which covered much of London, Hertfordshire and Essex and was mentioned in the Domesday Book. It is now one of three Local Nature Reserves in the London Borough of Haringey. It is situated a few minutes' walk from Highgate tube station.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">A1 in London</span> The section of A1 road in Greater London

The A1 in London is the southern part of the A1 road. It starts at Aldersgate in the City of London, passing through the capital to Borehamwood on the northern fringe of Greater London, before continuing to Edinburgh. The road travels through the City and three London boroughs: Islington, Haringey and Barnet, which include the districts of Islington, Holloway, Highgate, Hendon and Mill Hill, and travels along Upper Street and Holloway Road, crossing the North Circular Road in Hendon, a district in the London Borough of Barnet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Stroud Green</span>

Stroud Green in London, England, is a suburb adjacent to Finsbury Park in the northern part of Greater London. While most of the area is in the London Borough of Haringey, a very small part is in the London Borough of Islington. The Stroud Green Road not only forms the boundary between the two boroughs but is also the area's principal thoroughfare and a busy local shopping street, with many popular restaurants and bars.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hornsey and Friern Barnet (UK Parliament constituency)</span> Proposed United Kingdom parliamentary constituency

Hornsey and Friern Barnet is a proposed constituency of the House of Commons in the UK Parliament. Further to the completion of the 2023 Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies, it will first be contested at the next general election.


  1. "Camden Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  2. Lowe, Felix. "Highgate trumps Chelsea as priciest postcode" . Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.
  3. Walk London: Capital Ring Section 11, Hendon Park to Highgate Archived 2 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  4. "London Areas".
  5. "History of The Gatehouse Pub Highgate".
  6. "Why Was Holly Village Built?". London x London. Retrieved 14 August 2023.
  7. "London topographic map, elevation, relief". topographic-map.com. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  8. Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine : Hillary, Mark. "Arriving at Highgate tube station". Youtube. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  9. Murray, Ian (1993). Haringey before our time : a brief history. London: Hornsey Historical Society. p. 29. ISBN   0905794095.
  10. Services, Good Stuff IT. "Highgate - UK Census Data 2011".
  11. Services, Good Stuff IT. "Highgate - UK Census Data 2011".
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Sainsbury, Roger. "St Michael's Highgate - History". Official website. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  13. 1 2 "St Joseph's: About our Church". Official website. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  14. Chironss (27 December 2011). "Crimewatch UK 3.11.1988 2/3". Archived from the original on 24 June 2014 via YouTube.
  15. "Login".
  16. Stephen Jones (28 December 2016). "George Michael dead at 53: Recap as world-famous superstar singer found dead by boyfriend on Christmas Day - Mirror Online". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  17. Gillman, James (7 November 2016). The Life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. BiblioBazaar. ISBN   9780554322261 via Google Books.
  18. "Samuel Taylor Coleridge". Poets' Graves. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  19. Nye, Eric W. (1989). "Coleridge and the Publishers: Twelve New Manuscripts". Modern Philology . 87 (1). University of Chicago Press: 68–69. ISSN   0026-8232. JSTOR   438528.
  20. "IMDb: Most Popular Titles With Filming Locations Matching "Highgate"". IMDb .
  21. Galbraith, Robert (17 January 2022). The Ink Black Heart. Mulholland Books/Little, Brown. ISBN   978-0-316-41303-9.