Facts about Highgate
Historically, Highgate adjoined the Bishop of London’s hunting estate. Highgate gets its name from these hunting grounds, as there was a high, deer-proof hedge surrounding the estate: ‘the gate in the hedge’. The bishop kept a toll-house where one of the main northward roads out of London entered his land.
In later centuries Highgate was associated with the highwayman Dick Turpin. Hampstead Lane and Highgate Hill contain the red brick Victorian buildings of Highgate School and its adjacent Chapel of St Michael. The school has played a paramount role in the life of the village and has existed on its site since its founding was permitted by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I in 1565.
Highgate is one of the most expensive London suburbs in which to live. It has an active conservation body, the Highgate Society, to protect its character. Until late Victorian times, it was a distinct village outside London, sitting astride the main road to the north. The area retains many green expanses including the eastern part of Hampstead Heath, three ancient woods, Waterlow Park, and the eastern-facing slopes known as Highgate bowl.
At its center is Highgate village, a collection of largely Georgian shops, pubs, restaurants, and residential streets, interspersed with diverse landmarks such as St Michael’s Church and steeple, St. Joseph’s Church and its green copper dome, Highgate School, Jacksons Lane arts center housed in a Grade II listed former church, the Gatehouse Inn dating from 1670 which houses the theatre Upstairs at the Gatehouse and Berthold Lubetkin’s 1930s Highpoint buildings.