Anatomy Museums And Modern Medical Exhibition Essay

803 Words Dec 10th, 2015 4 Pages
On 18 December 1873, Mr Davidson, Mr Dennison and Mr Roumanielle pleaded guilty to offences under the Obscene Publications Act (1857). In a case heard at Marlborough Street magistrates’ court in London, the magistrate, Mr Knox, ordered that that their property be destroyed. Mr Collette, for the prosecution asked if he may be granted the honour of beginning the destruction himself, a request which Mr Knox immediately granted. Accompanied by Police Inspector Harnett and Sargeant Butcher, Mr Collette proceeded to take a hammer and smash a collection of anatomical wax models. The destroyed remains of which, were handed back to the defendants. The elaborate models, said to have cost a considerable sum of money, had originally formed part of Kahn’s Anatomical Museum, which had for twenty years, been the best known and most popular medical exhibition in Britain.

Anatomy museums flourished in the 18th century, their visitors were restricted to members of the medical profession and those of a certain social position who could secure an introduction . However, by the 1820s there was a growing public interest in anatomy . One of the principal reasons for this was the case of Burke and Hare, who between 1827 and 1828, committed murders for the purpose of selling the bodies to the anatomy schools in Edinburgh. The case provoked a public sense of revulsion at the illegal trade in corpses for the purpose of anatomical study and led to fundamental changes in legislature surrounding…

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