A Curious Invitation present London Month of the Dead
waterloo teeth
The Post-Mortem Trade in Human Teeth with Suzie Lennox

Saturday 8th October 2022 at 1:30 pm

From the battlefield of Waterloo to the graveyards of England and Scotland, the teeth of dead men and women in the 19th century were as much in demand for dentists as cadavers were for anatomists.

The moneyed classes of Georgian England had taken a liking to sugar. This rapidly reduced their teeth to a set of rotten black stumps, which would need to be removed by a dentist - without anaesthetic - and substitutes found. Luckily Britain’s body snatchers were masters at the art of tooth extraction. The blunt end of a spade, or a bradawl, to gouge the teeth from their fleshy beds formed part of their basic tool kit.

Join Suzie Lennox and the body snatchers of Britain as we look at this lucrative trade. Meet the men who knew the value of human teeth and how some would travel far and wide if they knew a profit was there for the making. From teeth discovered in piles on the mantlepiece waiting to be sold, to teeth that, when found, were still attached to the gum and jaw, Suzie will delve into the most lucrative side-hustle of the Georgian period.

Tickets £12 including a 20% donation toward a host of restoration projects at Kensal Green Cemetery.

Suzie Lennox
Suzie Lennox is an historian, author and blogger who specialises in researching Medical History and Criminal History. She has been studying the gruesome world of bodysnatching since 2005. She is a member of the Crime Writers Association.

Image credit - Lower denture with human teeth, England, 1800-1870. Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Kensal Green Cemetery