The Last Furlong

Comments on the race of life.

From Cremation, Burial, to Body Snatch


I promise you this is the last of my morbid posts! We had Cremation, Burial and now we’ve got Body Snatch.

Both Cremation and Burial give me the creeps – it’s the way we’ve got rid of the dead for many thousands of years. It’s the way we do things. But I don’t have to like it.

Something else that started with our search for knowledge in the Enlightenment, is body snatching. Bodies were used for dissection. All this was illegal but profitable because the new medical schools that came about were constantly running out of undecomposed bodies. Relatives were horrified at the desecration of their loved ones – which is quite understandable of course!

Body snatching became so prevalent that it was not unusual for relatives and friends of someone who had just died to watch over the body until burial, and then to keep watch over the grave after burial, to stop it being violated. Iron coffins, too, were used frequently, or the graves were protected by a framework of iron bars called mortsafes.

The Anatomy Act 1832 allowed unclaimed bodies and those donated by relatives to be used for the study of anatomy. Thus ended the body snatching trade. The use of bodies for scientific research in the UK is now administered by the Human Tissue Authority.

So the old Furlongs living in this house, have both donated their bodies to Liverpool University/Newcastle University – for science.

It seems much better value for a body than either cremation, or burial don’t you think?


Image result for body donation Liverpool




Author: Elizabeth

I'm someone also pounding the Path, just like you.. I'm retired, going into Old Age and loving my life. I'm hoping to remain happy and well for as long as possible. Old Age is not SO bad - yet!

2 thoughts on “From Cremation, Burial, to Body Snatch

  1. Its not a done-deal that bodies will be accepted. This is from the Human Tissue Authority:-
    “All medical schools welcome the offer of a donation. However, certain medical conditions may lead to the offer being declined. Medical schools can give you more information about these conditions and any other reasons why a body donation may be declined.

    Post-mortem examination (sometimes referred to as an ‘autopsy’) is an important reason why a medical school might decline the offer of a body donation. We recommend that potential donors and their families are prepared to consider alternative arrangements in these circumstances, which can arise unexpectedly. Depending on the circumstances of a person’s death, a Coroner might require, by law, that a post-mortem examination takes place.

    It is important to note that medical schools might not be able to accept donated bodies during holiday periods, such as Christmas.not a done-deal that bodies will be accepted ”

    A work colleague had to take his loved one’s remains and bury them as the med school only wanted the spine. He thought he had done with any funeral arrangements and was somewhat surprised to be called several months later to get an undertaker to remove the remainder of the remains so-to-speak. Seems they are getting picky 😉 This happened in Yorkshire, btw where it seems they are just into filleting corpses…. sorry, couldn’t help myself… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes all absolutely true. And we had to take ourselves off the organ donar register too.

    And if you die over the holidays also not accepted!

    Who knows. Funny old world.


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