Friends of Highgate Cemetery (FOHC)

A year by year account of FOHC's history and achievements

1975 - The Friends of Highgate Cemetery was founded when the current owner, Raybourne Ltd, was forced for economic reasons to shut down the Western Cemetery. Permission was given to FOHC to work in the cemetery on Saturday afternoons, felling invasive trees, clearing brambles and opening up access to graves.

1976 - Due to restricted access and minimal funding, it was decided to create in the Cemetery a managed woodland rather then attempt to restore it to it's earlier orderly well groomed condition. A detailed plan was prepared with this end in view.

1981 - The freehold of the Cemetery was acquired and unrestricted access obtained.

1983 - Historic Buildings Council declared the Cemetery a place of outstanding historic and architectual interest. Manpower Services Commission accepted a project involving limited restoration of buildings and landscape development. A company (now Highgate Cemetery Limited) was created to supervise the work of the MSC.

1984 - Work begun on the exterior of the Terrace Catacombs.

1985 - Resoration of the Chapels started.

1986 - Restoration of a Vault started.

1987 - The restoration of the Vault completed. Decendants of the first Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal raised funds to restore the Stathcona Mausoleum. Restoration completed the same year as well as the restoration of the North Lodge.

1988 - Manpower Services Commission support withdrawn following a change of policy after nearly five years. FOHC became entirely responsible for the financial and operational management of the Cemetery and exercised this responsibility through it's wholly owned subsidiary, Highgate Cemetery Limited.
A general manager and small staff appointed to handle, under the direction of FOHC, the business side of running the Cemetery - in particular, negotiations with undertakers and contractors, grave digging and landscape. Freehold of the Cemetery transferred to a new charity. The Highgate Cemetery Charity, which immediately transferred the freehold to The Official Custodian of Charities to secure the future of the Cemetery as a burial ground and place of historic importance. Work started on laying paving setts in the forecourt.

1989 - Restoration of the Chapels completed with part set aside for the provision of a permanent on-site office for FOHC and it's subsidiary.

1991 - Restoration of the exterior of Terrace Catacombs completed. A decision taken to preserve and not restore the Egyptian Avenue. Work begun on the gateway to the avenue and completed the same year.

1992 - Completion of conservation and stabilisation throughout the Egyptian Avenue and in part of the Lebanon Circle.

1993 - Restoration of Julius Beer Mausoleum started and completed. Repair of notable memorials begun and phase I completed.

1994 - Completion of Phase I in the Lebanon Circle and Phase II of the restoration programme of certain monuments.

1995 - Completion of Phase II in the Lebanon Circle. Completion of staff building in Eastern Cemetery and enhancement of chapel forecourt.

1996 - Restoration and rebuilding of the Colonnade. Completion of Phase III (and last) of the restorationand conservation of the Lebanon Circle. Extension of Courtyard pavement to incorporate the War Memorial and recently built toilet facilities.

1997 - Completion of final Phase of Lebanon Circle. Restoration of Daukes monument.

1998 - Restoration of Cheylesmore Mausoleum.

1999 - Tender documents prepared for major repairs to South boundary wall of the West Cemetery.

2000 - Phase I & II of the South boundary wall project completed and Phase III of a six Phase operation started.

2001 - Completion of further phases of all repair, including phase VI. Increased emphasis on landscape work. Opening of the John Gay Conservation Centre.

2002 - Important repairs undertaken to the steps and roof of the Terrace Catacombs to prevent water penetration.

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