Diary snapshot: Bodysnatchers

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Before the Anatomy Act of 1832, the only legal supply of corpses for anatomical purposes in the UK were those condemned to death and dissection by the courts. Those who were sentenced to dissection by the courts were often guilty of comparatively harsher crimes. Such sentences did not provide enough subjects for the medical schools and private anatomical schools (which did not require a licence before 1832). During the 18th century hundreds had been executed for trivial crimes, but by the 19th century only about 56 people were being sentenced to capital punishment each year. With the expansion of the medical schools, however, as many as 500 cadavers were needed annually.


2 thoughts on “Diary snapshot: Bodysnatchers

  1. While reading Prince and the Pauper I realized how the poor suffered at the hands of law. They were punished for such trivial matters. Unfortunately it happens now to, we read about police atrocities and it really hurts. How can people be so cruel? I had read read about Michelangelo dissecting dead bodies to understand human anatomy. Have you read The Agony and the Ecstacy?


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