Surveillance efforts have been increased at the Highgate cemetery to protect the tomb of Karl Marx from vandals.
Installing CCTV devices around the area has proven to be a necessary measure since Marx’s tomb had been defaced twice this year. Once in January and another back in February 2019. The cameras are placed on two tree trunks situated on both sides of the monument. A severely destroyed marble plaque from the grave has been removed as part of a restoration effort.
Owners of the historical monument, Marx Grave Trust, decided to install the cameras after consulting with Historic England’s security experts. The non-departmental public body oversees the United Kingdom’s built heritage.
Involved in the decision was the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust. They say that Marx’s tomb is the first of its kind in the cemetery with CCTV cameras. The move was made in hopes of preventing vandals as suspects from this year’s attacks have yet been caught.
Tourists have reacted to the newly installed cameras in an interview with The Guardian. One visitor from Berlin says, “It is sad that it is thought necessary.” Another says “In Germany this wouldn’t be possible,” citing the country’s strict CCTV regulation laws. “You see them in some public places, but never in a cemetery.”
Media history professor of Westminster University Jean Seaton shared her sentiments on the matter in a statement to the publication:
“It is wonderfully ironic that Marx, the great outsider, has to be protected in this way as an individual – because that is what the grave represents. All the statues of Marx that have been knocked down were of him as an idol, but the tomb at Highgate represents him as a human.”