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The Circle of Lebanon
The gothic highlight of Highgate Cemetary!
The architectural highlight of gothic Highgate Cemetary is when the Egyptian Avenue opens out into the Circle of Lebanon. It's a magnificent structure of twenty sunken tombs built around the roots of an ageing and ancient Cedar of Lebanon tree, from which the Circle gets its name.
The tree is believed to predate the cemetery by between 100 to 150 years, and is the only remaining feature of the terraced gardens of Ashurst Manor.
The first of these tombs sold in March 1839, two months before the cemetery was officially open, for approx 260 guineas. These family vaults were constructed first, in the Egyptian-themed Gothic Revival style, just prior to the Avenue itself. A few years after the cemetery opened, a second set of catacombs was added along the Circles outer wall. Almost identical to the ones on the avenue but with relief doorways and Egyptian style pediments. Also in each an extra tier of shelves increasing the capacity to 15 coffins.
It's grade 1 listed and is accessible by pre-arranged tours only.
Poet and author Radclyffe Hall is interred here.