1 Aug 1976 — 28 Oct 2010 (aged 34)
This beautiful headstone is in Highgate Cemetery East which, unlike it’s West counterpart, can be explored freely by visitors. The East section still shares the rather untended, haphazard layout of its West cousin, but many of the headstones are downright whimsical and modern in the artistic sense.
I’ve learned from other, wiser cemetery-wanderers online that the symbolism of this headstone indicates that Mr. Horn was gay and the odd spacing on the word “PARTNER” is to allow for the eventual addition of an “S” when his beloved someday passes away and joins him there.
It is unclear if Mr. Horn worked at Penguin Books UK and was also a very young partner at that institution or if he simply loved books and reading, but the use of that publishing house’s emblem, doubled, is a reference to the fact that penguins, to paraphrase Jason Villemez from his Medium post, “…mate for life and… are occasionally used as a symbol of the gay community.”
2010 was before same-sex marriage was legal in the UK and another wanderer speculates that a singular “Husband” waiting for its final “S” would not have been allowed or perhaps (my thought) considered since “partner” is such a common way to refer to one’s lifemate in the UK, same-sex or not.
Nothing comes up for me or the other wonderers about the real-life Mr. Horn, but the symbols left behind — either by his design or his beloved’s — tell us something of who the man was and what he and his partner meant to each other.
RIP Jim Stanford Horn and peace to your partner.
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