A Curious Invitation present London Month of the Dead
Harvesting the Dead
London's Dark Trade in 19th-Century Cadavers with Sarah Wise
on Saturday the 21st October 2023 at 1:30 pm

Remaining buried and intact posed a significant challenge for the deceased in the 19th century due to the high demand for cadavers by surgeons for dissection. A recently exhumed corpse could command as much as 20 guineas, surpassing the yearly wage of a factory worker. Additionally, valuable body parts like well-muscled limbs, scalps with hair, or even infants ("smalls") were sought after.

In this illustrated talk, Sarah Wise takes us on a tour of some of London’s lesser-known graveyards, and explains why they were particularly vulnerable to the bodysnatchers. From Kennington to Golden Lane, Old Street to Globe Town, seemingly small private burial grounds turned out to be far from peaceful resting places. This talk is not for the faint-hearted or those easily unsettled by grim tales.

Tickets £12 including a delightful gin cocktail and a 20% donation to Brompton Cemetery. Please click here to purchase.

Sarah Wise
Sarah Wise is a social historian and visiting professor at the University of California's London Study Centre. Her previous books include Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England and The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum.

Image - Vintage book cover from Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie. Creative Commons courtesy of Wikimedia Images.

Brompton Cemetery