On 19th March a group of Fellowship members met for an informal celebration at George Eliot’s grave in Highgate Cemetery. The grave was looking springlike with the hellebores, cyclamen, primroses and pansies we’ve been planting and we were pleased to be joined by a visiting family with an interest in George Eliot.
Vivienne Wood read a poignant memory of Edith Simcox, adoring friend of George Eliot in her later life, of the day of George Eliot’s funeral describing how she took a wreath to the house and then went to the grave ‘deep and narrow - the flowers filled all the level space’.
Nicholas Jacobs read an extract from a letter written by William Hale White to The Athanaeum in 1885 commenting on John Cross’s biography and describing her in a rather different light ‘one of the most sceptical, unusual creatures I ever knew’ and hoping that ‘in some future work the salt and spice will be restored to the records of George Eliot’s entirely unconventional life’’
Pam Weight, Mary Somerville and John Woods shared their thoughts and/or family memories of possible links with the writer and Linda Mayne, Chair of the 2019 committee put a plaque on the grave celebrating the bi-centenary. Joy Redfern laid a small wreath of Warwickshire rosemary.
In the evening we attended Rosemary Ashton’s pacey and fascinating lecture on George Eliot’s Life in London covering her achievements, adventures and loves. We were delighted that a member of the audience who lives locally to Highgate volunteered to help care for the grave.
As George Eliot wrote: ‘Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them’
|Event Date||19 Mar 2019|
|Price||Tickets £9 from the Highgate Cemetery website|