Another week of retirement... another little holiday. Aren't I fortunate? This time I was staying with a friend in London. It's good having a knowledgeable guide and we explored all sorts of interesting places. I've been to Highgate Cemetery before but never the West Cemetery, which can be visited only as part of a guided tour. It was the first area of the cemetery to be developed, in Victorian times, when burial space in London's churchyards was becoming overcrowded and insanitary. Opened in 1839 by a private company, it was landscaped with features designed to provide a prestigious resting place for wealthy Victorians for whom elaborate funerals were considered a necessity. There are many family mausoleums. Unfortunately, space here too started to run out though, ironically, many of the mausoleums are under-utilised. It became difficult to trace surviving family members, who were supposed to maintain them. The cemetery became unprofitable in the 1970s and was left to vandals and nature. In 1975, a group of concerned 'Friends' started to try to reverse the damage and they continue to battle to keep nature at bay, repair the monuments, respect those buried there and retain the original spirit of the place. Burials there are still allowed. It has quite an atmosphere and the tour was fascinating.