Egyptian Funerary Architecture in London’s Cemeteries
At Highgate Cemetery Chapel on Thursday 19th October 2023 from 7:00 pm
Includes an evening walk to the Egyptian Avenue

“As we enter the massive portals and hear the echo of our footsteps intruding on the awful silence of this cold, stony death-palace, we might almost fancy ourselves treading through the mysterious corridors of an Egyptian temple.”

William Justyne’s 1865 Guide to Highgate Cemetery offers us a glimpse into the imposing Egyptian Avenue of Highgate Cemetery, London. However, Highgate is not the only London Cemetery to borrow inspiration from Ancient Egyptian monuments, tombs and temples.

Abney Park Temple Lodges, designed by William Hosking, are composed mainly of stone building materials in an Egyptian Revival style. And there is the tomb of Hannah Courtoy in Brompton cemetery, which sits in close proximity to that of Egyptologist Joseph Bonomi, igniting interesting local lore that suggests that he had discovered the secrets of time travel through studying Egyptian hieroglyphs. According to local legend, the tomb contains a working time machine.

Whilst moss-covered obelisks and pyramids might seem a curious sight in predominantly Christian burial-grounds, it is reflective of Victorian society that took a delight in all things ‘Egyptomania’. This talk will explore how London’s graveyards went from places of a “foul smelling, slimy mass of putrefaction” to delightful garden cemeteries where the wealthy dead had their mortal remains entombed in Egyptian-style graves.

Tickets £12 including a Victorian punch and a 20% donation toward a host of restoration works at Highgate Cemetery. Please click here to buy.

Michelle Keeley
Michelle Keeley holds a master's degree in Egyptology from the University of Liverpool. Currently, she is deeply engrossed in conducting independent research on Joseph Bonomi the Younger and the fascinating phenomenon of Egyptomania during the Victorian era in England. Her focus lies specifically on Victorian Egyptian Revival architecture, with a keen interest in studying funerary structures. Notably, she serves as the editor of the renowned Magazine of the International Society for the Study of Egyptomania.




The Venue - Highgate Cemetery