Dateline: London, UK, April, 2016
There has been massive controversy since Highgate cemetery has been taken over by new trustees. Highgate Cemetery in London is the permanent home of Karl Marx and George Elliot and has been a small attraction for those who enjoy a stroll through the macabre.
There have been many disagreements on how far the board should go to bring in more money from visitors.
Sam Perrin, a former guide at the cemetery and member of the friends group, said the process had become like “the next series of The Apprentice” due to the corporate nature of the skills being looked for.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if, in the future, the cemetery ends up a Disneyland of Death,” she said.
Dr Janet Wolf is understood to have told the friends group that there was a “growing emphasis on the cemetery as a tourist attraction, with a constant drive to increase visitor numbers and visitor income. We are on the way to becoming a theme park”.
Chief executive of the group dismisses that the cemetery would become a Disneyland of Death. But there is a financial crunch as more people are choosing to become cremated. So Highgate Cemetery needs to come up with creative ways to keep the finances flowing.
While other cemeteries have events and things to draw people in on holidays like Halloween, Highgate cemetery does not. One popular event that a lot of cemeteries have is a spooky ghost walk. Events like this bring in revenue and could aid in the care of the grounds.
Will we see macabre theme park emerge from Highgate? I highly doubt it. But I enjoy cemeteries and even some of the fun events they host. I wouldn’t mind seeing a few of these emerge at Highgate. Especially if it will provide revenue to keep the cemetery open for generations to come.
We’d love to hear your opinion. Weigh in on our Facebook page.