Highgate in 1839
Highgate is on high ground on the great north road, 4 miles from London. Part of the village is in the parish of St. Pancras, and part in Hornsey parish. The village, which comprises some good villas and other houses, is on the top of a hill. A new church has been lately built, and a new school-room for the endowed grammar-school, which was founded by Chief-Justice Cholmeley in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The master has a good salary and a house. There are some almshouses at Highgate, and one or two dissenting places of worship. Some ponds at Highgate contribute to supply part of the northern suburbs of the metropolis with water.
In order to avoid the steep declivity at Highgate, a project was formed in 1809 for carrying the north road through a spacious arched tunnel. The work was commenced ; but in 1812 the earth over the tunnel fell in, the plan of a tunnel was given up, and a road was cut through the hill. A road which crosses the north road is carried over it by means of an archway of brick and stone. An extensive cemetery has lately been formed at Highgate, on the slope of the hill just below the church : the grounds are well laid out, and the entrance gateway contains a chapel and other apartments. There are numerous catacombs in this cemetery. There were in Cholmeley’s grammar-school, in 1833, 33 boys ; in another endowed school were 26 girls ; and in a national school, 98 boys. A room for a national school for 100 girls was building at the same time.