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William Burke  (1792- 1829)  “Burke's body is to be dissected, and his Skeleton to be preserved, in order that posterity may keep in remembrance his atrocious crimes.”

William Burke (1792- 1829) “Burke's body is to be dissected, and his Skeleton to be preserved, in order that posterity may keep in remembrance his atrocious crimes.”

Sealed in this small glass specimen jar is said to be a piece of the brain of William Burke (1792-1829). He was one half of the infamous Edinburgh body snatchers known as Burke and Hare. Burke was executed in 1829 and museum records state it was, “presented by the doctor who used Burke’s body for anatomical purposes, in a sealed glass tube 3” long”. Burke and his accomplice William Hare murdered at least 16 people. They delivered the bodies to anatomy teacher Dr Robert Knox.

Sealed in this small glass specimen jar is said to be a piece of the brain of William Burke (1792-1829). He was one half of the infamous Edinburgh body snatchers known as Burke and Hare. Burke was executed in 1829 and museum records state it was, “presented by the doctor who used Burke’s body for anatomical purposes, in a sealed glass tube 3” long”. Burke and his accomplice William Hare murdered at least 16 people. They delivered the bodies to anatomy teacher Dr Robert Knox.

Picasso by Brassaï

Picasso by Brassaï

William Burke was one of Scotland’s most notorious criminals. Between November 1827 and October 1828, Burke, along with William Hare, murdered approximately sixteen people in Edinburgh. As part of what became a lucrative business, they infamously sold the bodies of their victims to anatomy lecturer, Dr Robert Knox, for dissection purposes. When they were caught, Burke was sentenced to death, whereas Hare was spared (for giving evidence against Burke) and Knox denied knowing where the bodies…

William Burke was one of Scotland’s most notorious criminals. Between November 1827 and October 1828, Burke, along with William Hare, murdered approximately sixteen people in Edinburgh. As part of what became a lucrative business, they infamously sold the bodies of their victims to anatomy lecturer, Dr Robert Knox, for dissection purposes. When they were caught, Burke was sentenced to death, whereas Hare was spared (for giving evidence against Burke) and Knox denied knowing where the bodies…

Relic human skulls - Adja / Fon - Benin - Curiosa Africa

Relic human skulls - Adja / Fon - Benin - Curiosa Africa

Burke's Skin Pocket Book. In the collection of medical oddities housed at the Surgeons’ Hall Museum in Edinburgh lies a tattered pocketbook. It's dark brown, nearly black, with a pebbled texture and gold lettering that has begun to fade with age. Upon closer inspection, the words ‘EXECUTED 28 JAN 1829’ and ‘BURKE’S SKIN POCKET BOOK’ come into focus, revealing the item’s true origins. This is a book bound in the skin of William Burke, the notorious murderer and body snatcher of Burke & Hare…

Burke's Skin Pocket Book. In the collection of medical oddities housed at the Surgeons’ Hall Museum in Edinburgh lies a tattered pocketbook. It's dark brown, nearly black, with a pebbled texture and gold lettering that has begun to fade with age. Upon closer inspection, the words ‘EXECUTED 28 JAN 1829’ and ‘BURKE’S SKIN POCKET BOOK’ come into focus, revealing the item’s true origins. This is a book bound in the skin of William Burke, the notorious murderer and body snatcher of Burke & Hare…

Dodo bird skeleton

Dodo bird skeleton

William Burke and his business partner William Hare were two well known death dealers.They stalked the streets of Edinburgh and developed the technique of smothering while compressing the chest area of their prey. This method became so innovated it became known as “burking.”

William Burke and his business partner William Hare were two well known death dealers.They stalked the streets of Edinburgh and developed the technique of smothering while compressing the chest area of their prey. This method became so innovated it became known as “burking.”

1909 – Occultus / Barbarossa

1909 – Occultus / Barbarossa

William Burke & William Hare were Irish immigrants living in Edinburgh who in 1828, were accused of killing 16 people(although it is thought it could be more) over the course of a year. They would sell their cadavers for dissection but when they were arrested each blamed each other, eventually Burke was hanged in 1829 but Hare managed to get off and escaped down to England.

William Burke & William Hare were Irish immigrants living in Edinburgh who in 1828, were accused of killing 16 people(although it is thought it could be more) over the course of a year. They would sell their cadavers for dissection but when they were arrested each blamed each other, eventually Burke was hanged in 1829 but Hare managed to get off and escaped down to England.

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