Speaker: Dr Helen MacDonald (University of Melbourne)

Grave-robbing and the Burke and Hare murders have become anatomy’s enduring reference points, but during the nineteenth century most bodies were stealthily acquired by medical schools through other means.

After the 1832 Anatomy Act a distinctive pattern of corpse procurement was creatively forged in Scotland, through alliances between the country’s anatomists, anatomy inspectors, local law makers, and the men who were in charge of hospitals, poor houses and lunatic asylums. This system was one that the English schools could only envy.