By Elizabeth T. Hurren (auth.)
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Extra resources for Dying for Victorian Medicine: English Anatomy and its Trade in the Dead Poor, c. 1834–1929
It was self-evident, claimed Mr. Robinson, that in the case of Mary Whitehead her ‘friends ... had expressed a desire that the body should be buried’. 18 Dying for Victorian Medicine The master ‘would be entrusted with the body for internment’ and no more. In other words, the paupers had made their feelings known in the Dead House and been ignored for profit. They had wanted to view the body, sometimes dress the corpse, and witness the coffin lid being nailed down. All checked that the chalk on the coffin bore their loved one’s name.
His actions kept the covert anatomy trade away from prying pauper eyes. 39 Further evidence uncovered the operation of the anatomy trade and just how vulnerable paupers were to exploitation in death. Next Mary Thompson was sworn in at the witness stand. She stated: ‘I am the wife of George Thompson, who died in the workhouse at Newington – he died on 10th March, 1857’. Mary confirmed that she had been in the workhouse with him. They ‘had been there two years last November’. Mary’s duties were to ‘wash and clean about the house’.
The accused was charged with 64 counts of deception, but this evidence showed that he had been paid for about 82 bodies during his two-year employment. The judge pressed the accountant about the numbers in the supply chain at Guy’s hospital. Shattock stated that he did not purchase the bodies personally. The master dealt with the porter at the anatomy school in the hospital. Shattock processed the paperwork and receipts. He had done so since 1849 and as far as he was aware Feist had simply taken over the supply deal in 1856 from the previous master.
Dying for Victorian Medicine: English Anatomy and its Trade in the Dead Poor, c. 1834–1929 by Elizabeth T. Hurren (auth.)