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Hampstead Heath 7.JPG
Highgate seen from Parliament Hill
Highgate is located in Greater London
Population 10,955 (2011 Census. Ward)
OS grid reference TQ285875
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district N6, NW5, N19
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament
London Assembly
  • Barnet and Camden
  • Enfield and Haringey
  • North East
List of places
51°34′18″N 0°08′41″W / 51.5716°N 0.1448°W / 51.5716; -0.1448

Highgate is a suburban area of north London at the northeastern corner of Hampstead Heath, 4.5 miles (7.2 km) north-northwest of Charing Cross.

Highgate is one of the most expensive London suburbs in which to live. It has two active conservation organisations, the Highgate Society and the Highgate Neighbourhood Forum 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, 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, residential streets, and the Sacred Spirits Distillery 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 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 perhaps 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.

The village is at the top of Highgate Hill, which provides views across central London. Highgate is 136m above sea level at its highest point.

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


John Constable 003
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'.

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.

In later centuries Highgate was associated with the highwayman Dick Turpin.

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 the High Street and Hampstead Lane 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 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.

Transport and locale

Angel Inn, Highgate, N6
The Angel Inn
Dukes Head, Highgate, N6 (2883803424)
The Duke's Head

Nearest places

Bus routes

  • London Buses 143, 210, 214 (24 hour) and 271 (24 hour) all serve Highgate Village.

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.

  • Highgate Cemetery
  • Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution
  • Highgate School
  • Channing School
  • Highgate Wood
  • Jacksons Lane
  • Kenwood House
  • Highpoint I and II
  • Athlone House, formerly known as Caen Wood Towers, the home of the RAF Intelligence School 1942–48.
  • Cromwell House
  • Lauderdale House
  • Witanhurst
  • The Grove
  • Archway Bridge
  • Furnival House
  • St Michael's Church
  • St Joseph's Church
  • Highgate United Synagogue
  • St Augustine's Church


The name of the village is commonly however, the London Underground in announcements at Highgate tube station uses the alternative pronunciation of where the final syllable matches the last syllable in "frigate".


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.

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.

In popular culture

  • Highgate's historic feel - in particular the gothic atmosphere of its cemetery - has provided the backdrop to a considerable number of films, including Hammer Horror films of the 1970s and, more recently, Shaun of the Dead and Dorian Gray.
  • The pub tradition of Swearing on the Horns originated in Highgate.
  • In Dickens' novel David Copperfield James Steerforth lives in a house at the top of Highgate West Hill.
  • In the popular BBC sitcom, Are You Being Served?, Mr. Lucas (played by Trevor Bannister) lives in Highgate.


Notable inhabitants

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

  • Adjacent to Highgate Cemetery is Holly Lodge Estate, one of only two housing-estates built in the UK for single women; formerly, it was the home and grounds of Baroness Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts.
  • Between 1930 and 1939, the wife and son of Adolf Hitler's half-brother, Alois, lived in Highgate, before moving to the United States. Bridget and Patrick Hitler lived at 26 Priory Gardens.
  • Leslie Compton, formerly an Arsenal footballer and a Middlesex cricketer, owned a pub in Highgate after he retired from sports.
  • Singer George Michael owned an £8 million house in Highgate.
  • Southend United striker Nile Ranger was born in Highgate.
  • Rock star Rod Stewart was born and raised in Highgate.
  • Rock star Ray Davies of the Kinks was born and raised in nearby Muswell Hill and lives in Highgate.
  • Filmmaker Christopher Nolan was raised in Highgate.
  • Actor Jude Law lives in Highgate.
  • Actor Robert Powell lives in Highgate.
  • Comedian Noel Fielding lives in Highgate.
  • Singer Liam Gallagher lives in Highgate.
  • Comedian Graham Chapman of Monty Python lived in Highgate.

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.

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


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. 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.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Highgate para niños

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