Obelisk monument in sandstone and granite with copper cladding, by MJ Dayes (architect) WR Shrivall (metalworker) and JW Seale (mason); plot purchased 1866.
Reason for Listing
The monument to George Peckett is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Design interest: a large, impressive and well-detailed Gothic monument in an unusual material;
* Setting: it is a prominent landmark within the Grade I registered Highgate Cemetery and has group value with other listed tombs and structures nearby.
Highgate Cemetery was the third of London's 'magnificent seven' burial grounds, a ring of suburban cemeteries established in the 1830s and 1840s to relieve pressure on overcrowded urban churchyards. It was the creation of the London Cemetery Company, a joint-stock company founded by the architect and engineer Stephen Geary and formally instituted by Act of Parliament in 1836. A seventeen-acre site on Highgate Hill was laid out as a picturesque garden cemetery with a network of serpentine drives, culminating in a monumental catacomb complex at the top of the hill. Geary himself supplied the initial plans, with assistance from the architect JB Bunning and from the landscape gardener David Ramsay. The cemetery, opened in 1839 and extended to the east of Swain's Lane in 1854, enjoyed great popularity and prestige during the second half of the C19 (famous occupants include George Eliot, Christina Rossetti and Karl Marx), but lack of money and maintenance led to a severe decline during the C20. Since 1975 it has been run on a charitable basis by the present Friends group.
The monument is a tall octagonal obelisk or pinnacle, about five metres in height, somewhat resembling an Eleanor cross. The heavily-moulded plinth is of stone - the base and coping of sandstone, with granite between - and bears the names of the architect, metalworker and mason. The lowest stage of the copper-clad superstructure has a pattern of stamped quatrefoils, with a coat of arms in relief on each cardinal face. The uppermost stage is a series of cusped Gothic canopies, surmounted by a spire which has lost parts of its copper decoration.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.