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The Karl Marx Tomb in Highgate Is Something of a Humble End for a Man Whose Influence Stretches Across the Globe

Where is Karl Marx buried and where exactly is the Karl Marx tomb? Well we are here to let you know. In the Victorian district of Highgate in London, along with 53,000 graves and 170,000 people, lies the tomb of the German political philosopher and revolutionary socialist Karl Marx. On the 14th of March 1883, at a quarter to three in the afternoon Marx passed away in an armchair at his home. He was buried three days later along with his wife who had died and been buried fifteen months earlier. The original Karl Marx grave was marked with a simple headstone in accordance with Marx’s wishes.

Now, accounts vary but between nine and eleven mourners attended his funeral which was organised by his close friend and co-author of the famous Communist Manifesto, Friedrich Engels. A humble end for a man whose ideas have been so influential to large parts of the planet.

Workers of all Lands Unite: It didn’t Quite go as Marx Planned

In 1954 the grave was moved and a new tomb was commissioned by the Communist Party of Great Britain. The resulting monument, a bronze head atop a marble plinth inscribed with “workers of all lands unite”, was designed and constructed by Laurence Bradshaw. Interestingly he never signed his work and many speculate that he didn’t wish to be associated with a figure who was still polarising the politics of the country and the rest of the world. In addition to the above inscription the base of the monument has the quote “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it”.

A Site of Pilgrimage for the Chinese, the Russians, the Germans and Many More

The site is a regular feature on the local tourist trail and has been a site of pilgrimage for Marxists, and socialist politicians from around the world. Many wish to pay their respect to a man who has gone on to influence the path of their respective countries. It is not unheard of to see a bus load of Chinese tourists turn up and also sometimes old guard Russians. But since its relocation, and given the man’s political significance, it has also been the target for a number of attacks and political demonstrations.

A Little Battered and Bruised but the Karl Marx Tomb Survives

The most substantial was a bombing attempt in January 1970. The bronze bust was battered and bruised and a few paving stones shattered, but beyond that nothing else was affected and nobody was hurt. The monument was restored at a cost of £600.

The cemetery itself is huge and hosts the graves of a number of other interesting people including Douglas Adams and George Elliot, to name a couple. The site is run by a trust consisting of paid staff and numerous volunteers who maintain the area and provide guided tours. The cemetery is one of the more interesting in London and anyone who is interested Karl Marx or in the history of the left should take a look. The East Cemetery Monday to Friday: 10am to 5pm with last admissions at 4:30pm. Weekends and public holidays: 11am to 5pm. Many balk at the idea of paying to see the grandfather of Communism, but for those willing you only need muster £4.

Sources: Highgate Cemetery Website