We approached Highgate with a certain amount of expectation. From Highgate Hill, it was said, you could hear London in the middle ages, and it was from here that the bells of London called Dick Whittington to turn again, to be thrice mayor of London. The place oozes history, whether you see it as an ancient coaching stop, a village amongst royal woodlands, or the home of the bodies of the well-to-do. The ‘village’s active conservation society does much to keep the area’s olde feel and the high pavements, the square, the rambling, steep little lanes, all contribute no end.
We approached Highgate then in somewhat the same manner as one would approach a wealthy enclave such as Epping. However, whereas the latter is a bit new money thus rendering its charity shops full and affordable, Highgate is very much old money. As such, scratching around for a bargain becomes that much less fruitful, and this time, possibly more than any other vist to Highgate, was a particularly fruitless experience.
The problem with the charity shops in Highgate is an old chestnut: they know how to price things. It’s always true in an Oxfam shop, and increasingly so elsewhere – the best bargains are picked up in shops run by complete amateurs with no connection to the outside world. Here, on the other hand, you might find an interesting selection (I have in the past; not so much today), but you’ll pay through the nose. So my Highgate Haul was pretty disappointing.
Aside from my companion’s Einstein grouping, I returned with:
Transport: Highgate station on the Misery Line, or buses to Highgate Village
Visit: Highgate Cemetery
Overall rating: two rice bowls