LANCSGEN-L ArchivesArchiver > LANCSGEN > 2010-06 > 1276545531
From: "" <>
Subject: Re: [LAN] Barton upon Irwell Workhouse
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2010 19:58:51 -0000
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Sadly where and how he was buried would depend on what the family could afford. If they couldn't afford to bury him then the workhouse, (depending up on when), were permitted in law to sell or use his body for medical research and later buried at the institutions expense. This practise began in the 1830's and lasted into the 1950's.
The 1832 Anatomy Act (UK) was passed to address the concern people had for the continuing unethical sale of dead bodies.
...public opinion meant that something had to be done and the outcome was the 1832 Anatomy Act which was a key issue in the election of 1832. A key figure behind this was Jeremy Bentham, founder of University College London. His idea was essentially that anyone applying to a hospital for treatment was in effect giving permission for the use of their body, in the event of a poor result, being available for dissection, followed by Christian burial. Although forgoing a Christian burial Bentham was publicly dissected at University College in 1828. There is a sub text to this. Anyone applying to a hospital for treatment meant, in effect the poor who could not afford to pay a doctor. Hospital also meant workhouse. After much argument with Peel, the Prime Minister and political manoeuvring designed so that the death rates in the workhouse should not be made public the bill became law. The situation was now this: the bodies of those maintained by the state (i.e. in Workhouses) if no!
t claimed by relatives (for burial at their expense) became the property of the Anatomist. The fate of these bodies had become, and still is, anatomical examination - not dissection. Administration was by an Inspector of Anatomy, working for the Home Office. Unsurprisingly the residents of workhouses, unconsulted, were not happy with the act, but powerless to do much about it. Many evaded examination by signing a declaration that they did not wish to be dissected: the supply from workhouses was unexpectedly low: there were riots: there was scandal, maladministration and indecency and plain mistakes. Burial services and coffins were often rudimentary. Burial clubs became common - like a Christmas Club - pay so much a week for your funeral. Just before World War 1 ten percent of the income of women in Lambeth was set aside for 'Industrial insurance'. There is still a dread amongst the older generation of a 'pauper's funeral' The only change to the act, however, was in respons!
e to repeated failure of the anatomists to bury remains within the sti
pulated period: the period was extended in 1871.
Introductory Anatomy (http://www.leeds.ac.uk/chb/lectures/anatomy1.html)
Look for a burial several years after death.
No wonder my grandparents were terrified of being admitted to the local hospital (the former Chorlton Workhouse)!
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