Just in time for Halloween the Museum of London unveils a macabre new exhibition, Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men.
The exhibition looks at the history of grave robbery in London as well as the some of the gruesome surgical practices that used to go on in ye olden days.
The exhibition looks at the tales of body snatchers between 1825 and 1841 during which time illicit medical training was rife. On show are also the medical instruments and surgery sets that will make you shiver to the core at the thought of them being used by any sort of medical professional.
The exhibition came about when the Museum of London began looking into a mass burial site found under the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel in 2006 where they found 262 bodies all showing evidence of dissection, autopsy, amputation, bones wired for teaching, and animals dissected for comparative anatomy.
The bones were dated from the Anatomy Act of 1832 which stated that the State had the right to take ‘unclaimed’ bodies without consent after a case of murder for dissection came to light that put real fear into the public.
This act of course left the doors open for thieves and wheeler dealers to make some good profits and grave snatching evolved with an estimated 500-600 bodies per year being taken by body snatchers.
Julia Davidson who curates the exhibition, Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men said “They would strip the body of all its clothing, jewellery and other goods and leave those things behind. That way they couldn’t be prosecuted for theft, which could carry a death sentence. Technically you couldn’t steal a body because it didn’t belong to anyone.”
The exhibition is very much catered to the time of year and if you want to give yourself a real chill day out then you won’t be disappointed.
Davidson says “We’ve really tried to get it to feel quite creepy. You can feel the fear that people would have felt at the time, either about being dissected, operated on or being ‘resurrected’.”
Tickets are £9 and the exhibition opens on the 19th October and runs through to the 14th April.