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‘Dying For London Medicine: The Secret London Body Trade In the Pauper Dead’

Thursday 18 March 2021 £5Book now

An online talk by Elizabeth Hurren

The trade in dead bodies in Victorian Britain was large and highly lucrative. Driving it was a six-fold increase in the number of doctors in training in the second half of the century. To qualify in medicine, under the Medical Act in 1858 and its extension in 1885, each trainee doctor had to dissect two bodies in a two-year teaching-cycle. These students needed human material before they could register with the General Medical Council, and most were prepared to pay for extra bodies and body parts to qualify quicker and start earning back their expensive tuition fees. Where there’s a demand for a commodity, there’s always someone willing to meet it. In this case, it was a network of body-dealers that stretched across London. These shadowy figures made their money by sourcing and selling corpses that, in most cases, were unclaimed either because the deceased had no known relatives, or their relatives were too poor to pay for a dead pauper’s funeral from the workhouse.

Professor Elizabeth Hurren from the University of Leicester shares those secrets with us, in Dying for Victorian Medicine: The Secret London Body Trade in the Pauper Dead 


The Life and Times of Malcolm McLaren. Online: Paul Gorman with Toby Amies

Thursday 22 April 2021 £5Book now

Paul Gorman in conversation with Toby Amies

On the eleventh anniversary of the burial of Malcolm McLaren in Highgate's East Cemetery, writer and cultural commentator Paul Gorman will be in conversation with filmmaker and photographer Toby Amies about the ‘late cultural iconoclast’ McLaren, locating him as a leading visual artist ‘whose influence can be detected across contemporary culture’. 

Malcolm McLaren is perhaps best known as the manager of the Sex Pistols, who shook up music as punk arrived to shock the world.

There is nobody better qualified to talk about McLaren than Paul Gorman, whose work spans fashion, art and music. His book The Life and Times of Malcolm McLaren: The Biography was published by Constable & Robinson in April 2020 to great critical acclaim and is the definitive work on McLaren. 


The Marx Memorial Lecture: The Plot For Karl Marx. Online talk by Alan Dein

Thursday 6 May 2021 £5Book now

A talk by Alan Dein

Over a ten year period, oral historian and broadcaster Alan Dein recorded interviews and dug deep into the archives for a BBC Radio 3 feature on the creation of Laurence Bradshaw’s Karl Marx memorial. He interviewed Bradshaw’s wife Eileen, art and social historians, and hundreds of visitors to Marx’s grave at Highgate Cemetery to explore the remarkable story, and the cultural impact, of perhaps the most well-known grave in the world. In this lecture, Alan Dein will share audio and documents from his research and will discuss how Bradshaw’s sculpture inspired other bronze versions of Marx’s head around the world.