Diary of a Resurrectionist; 29th November 1811

Friday 29th At night went out and got 3, Jack, Ben & me got 2, Bethnall Green, Bill & Danl 1 Bartholo.w Crib opened ; whole at Barthw.

3 bodies resurrected (2 at Bethnall Green, 1 at Bartholomew Crib)

Bartholomew Crib; the burial ground of St Bartholomew’s Hospital. The site which opened around 1740 on the site of the modern Goswell Road/Seward St, and took burials until the 1850s when it was closed. Recently excavated, the site yeilded up many bodies, a notable number of which displayed evidence of post-mortem practice (autopsies and possibly dissection).

Bethnall Green There are several burial grounds in this area, but Mrs Isabella Basil Holmes thought Naples’ probably meant St Matthew’s, an over crowded churchyard which dated from the 1740s and which at this time had “open fields on the East Side”. Mrs Isabella Basil Holmes is the late Victorian authority on the vanishing London burial grounds and was asked by James Blake Bailey, publisher of the diary and then librarian of the Royal College of Surgeons. for her opinion on the burial grounds in the diary.

Both burial grounds (interestingly) had a similar lifespan, from the 1740s to the 1850s. St Matthew’s Bethnal Green is stil surrounded by the churchyard though.

Opened; slang for a body on which an autopsy had already been performed.


About theresurrectionists

My name is Kirsty Chilton. I am a Medical Historian working in London and relentlessly searching for the body snatchers of 18th and 19th century London. Currently, the content of this blog is a personal project to repost and comment on the diary of 19th century Resurrectionist Joseph Naples 200 years from the time it was written.
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