Diary of a Resurrectionist, Thursday 20th December 1811

Friday 20th.
Went to St. Thomas’s, came home and went to the play, came home : at 3 A.M. got up and went to the Hospital crib got 5 large. Miss Nap (Naples?)

Miss Raphael, Miss ____, Miss M

Went to St Thomas’, probably for orders, went to the play and then went to work, resurrecting 5 adults from the hospital crib.

Which play Mr Naples went to see is impossible to say with certainty, but several London theatres were giving plays on the 20th December 1811;

The Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare) was on at the Theatre Royal Covent Garden, with John Kemble (then manager of the theatre and great lover of Shakespeare) as Leontes and his sister, the famous Mrs Siddons, as Hermione; this was a particularly well received performance by Mrs Siddons and Mr Kemble was regarded as a truly Shakespearean Leontes. Much as was also made of the amazing sets during the plays run (this performance would have been right at it’s end – it ran between 1802 and 1811 in 3 seasons).

Lionel and Clarissa, a comic opera by Issac Bickerstaffe, was on at the Theatre Royal Lyceum. This performance was part of the last revival of the old (1770s) comic opera. The plot is a tired old thing about a Father whose two daughters are in love with men other than the ones he’s chosen for them and how he comes to accept their loves etc. This was given with another comedy, a farce called High Life below Stairs.

At the New Pavilion Theatre, Newcatsle Street Strand, you could have seen a comic burletta called ‘A Reasonable Fool or All in Confusion’, after which they rearranged the stage and there would be a display of horsemanship! Then there was to be another semi-comedy called ‘Zamboe and Cadjoe’, and finally a comic pantomime called Robin Hood and Little John. Clearly many entertainments for your money. The quality sounds suspect to me.

Then at the Sans Pareil Theatre in the Strand, you could see a new comic burletta called The Vizier’s Son. The evening would include performances of popular songs and would conclude with a new pantomime called The Poison Tree or Harlequin in Java.

The Times, 20th December 1811

After the play, Mr Naples went bodysnatching; the Hospital Crib is likely the burial ground of Guy’s and St Thomas’ at Snowsfields.


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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