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Chookie

Medical science

In 19th century Edinburgh, one of the most influential surgeons of the time, a Dr Robert Knox (MD (Doctor of Medicine), FRCSEd (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh), FRSEd (Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh) ) was pushing the boundaries of medical knowledge.

His research methods involved the dissection of corpses and the discussion of these dissections with his students at the Edinburgh Medical College, and members of the public who pad to watch these dissections (females not allowed of course), these members of the public had to pay an entrance fee. Unfortunately this method of instruction depended greatly on a reliable supply of fresh bodies.

This requirement for fresh (or at worst, freshish) cadavers gave rise to the phenomenon known as “Resurrection Men”. Resurrectionists were gangs of men who raided cemeteries at night and dug up freshly buried bodies which they then sold to to medical schools and professors such as Knox.

Among the most infamous of these resurrectionists or “body-snatchers” were the Irish duo of William Burke and William Hare (a pair who only operated in Edinburgh). These two were itinerant labourers (AKA Navvies)who had moved to Scotland to W*** on the Union Canal. Both eventually ended up in Edinburgh living in the same lodging house in the West Port.

The activities of these restrictionists were largely confined to the Central Belt and Eastern Scotland below the the Highland line, but they were not confined to Scotland. This is where we get the term mortgage in it's original form – it comes from the Old French "death pledge," apparently meaning that the pledge ends on the death of the pledger or when the obligation is fulfilled. A closely related term is the “mort-safe” which determined a form of graveyard architecture and a thankfully short-lived need for armed watchmen in graveyards. With these resurrectionist activities, Scotland, not for the first time, is setting a trend.

Our heroes (Burke and Hare in case your braincell has given out) being lazy buggers, decided to cut out the need for invading graveyards with the associated problems of digging up the newly recent stiff, shifting mort-gages and mort-safes (this involved heavy W***) and dodging the buggers with the guns. They therefore applied a time and motion analyis to the problem. Their solution was simple yet brilliant.

What was it?

Create the stiffs.  

Sadly, this is not one of our proudest moments. The indiscriminate and widespread removal of new inhabitants of graveyards may, and I stress may, have been useful to the medical profession. On the whole I doubt it:-

Did Knox discover anything? No.

Did he advance medical knowledge in the Europe of his time? Yes.

Are these contradictory concepts? No, they aren't, Knox and his contemporaries were at the forefront of European medicine, yet the early 19th century European form of medicine was, basically, butchery.
Fey Hag

Aye Chookie; no just butchery, dirty contaminating butchery.

It is a wonder wur ancestors survived.

Must hae dodged ra medical profession of thir time or struck it lucky.  Wink
alba

Eya fae Embra!!  whit dae yie expect? In Glesga they widnie dae eny at the stuff. Mibbey in Partick but no Sunny Pollok.
Celyn

There are cute wee stone sentry boxes to guard the dead people in the old cemetery next to the Kirk House pub in Shettleston (Glasgow).
alba

Ahm really really sorry Celyn...sum drunk git telt me that wis the ootside toilets.
Celyn

Haha, bad Alba.   In St. Andrews, there are public toilets in what used to be the mortuary, near the cathedral.
alba

That takes "I'm dying furra piss" to a whole new level. Smile
dosser

Re: Medical science

Chookie wrote:
In 19th century Edinburgh, one of the most influential surgeons of the time, a Dr Robert Knox (MD (Doctor of Medicine), FRCSEd (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh), FRSEd (Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh) ) was pushing the boundaries of medical knowledge.

Sadly, this is not one of our proudest moments. The indiscriminate and widespread removal of new inhabitants of graveyards may, and I stress may, have been useful to the medical profession. On the whole I doubt it:-

Are these contradictory concepts? No, they aren't, Knox and his contemporaries were at the forefront of European medicine, yet the early 19th century European form of medicine was, basically, butchery.


Embru's got quite a impressive record o' dodgy doacturs.

There was Dr. Leander Starr Jameson who masterminded the Jameson raid that pretty much started the Boer War and lead to decades of aparthied in South Africa. According to some, he also got control of what became Rhodesia by treating the King o' Matebeleland's gout wi' morphine and deliberately turnin' him inta a junkie whit'd agree tae anything fer another fix.

There wiz yet anither doactur wha's name Ah've forgot fur ra moment. He wis the wan whit encouraged Australian aboriginals tae gie their deid a guid christian buriel in his gairden....... so's he cuild dig them up and ship ther bones tae Surgeons' Hall where they're still on display, Ah believe.
He wiz also very interested in the olfactory gland which, in some aminuls like snakes, is so highly developed that they can taste smells. Humans hae thon glan as weel though no' quite as weel developed. However, if thon doactur happened tae come across a interestin' human wan in the course o' surgery, he wiz inclined tae wheech it oot fur his collection.

Interstin' bunch yer Embru medical profession.
bormes

Celyn,
Speakin' o' mortuaries, did ye know the bar surface in the U.B.Chip in the downstairs bar in from Ashton Lane is the mortuary slabs from Canniesburn Hospital, now joined up to form thye bar surface?
ozneil

Werent Burke & Haire  (Purveyors of near fresh meat to the medical profession) from Edinburgh?
bormes

Aye ah think so, an' like polytishuns they turned oan wan anither. When cot wan went King's evidence an' the ither wan wus hung.
dosser

The skellytun o' the wan whit got hung is still on display in Surgeons' Hall, Ah believe.
And Ah've got it in the back o' mah heid that, a few years ago, a wee business card case made fae the skin aff the back o' his hand went up for sale at auction.
Woodsmoke

dosser wrote:
And Ah've got it in the back o' mah heid that, a few years ago, a wee business card case made fae the skin aff the back o' his hand went up for sale at auction.


You are indeed correct, sir..................

http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-...m/1/1247608442/filename=84_d3.jpg

I think his skin was used to make a couple other things too? One can only hope that a tobacco pouch wasn't one of them  Shocked  Laughing

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