Corrective Surgery

In this latest blog, our Human Remains Conservator discusses the skull and death mask of Burke and Hare’s accomplice, John Brogan, and how pioneering surgery carried out by Thomas Mütter could have helped with a childhood injury. The story of Burke and Hare is well known. In 1828 the pair murdered at least 16 people…

Surgeons’ Hall Step Into The Future

We’ve told you about the history of surgery. Now it’s time to take a step into the future. Surgeons’ Hall Museums are delighted to announce two new galleries which are set to open in the autumn of 2020. The new galleries are the second phase of the museum redevelopment, with phase one being completed in…

William Burke and the Edinburgh Irish; Sympathy for the Devil

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh’s Archives  holds the memoirs of Edinburgh University student Thomas Hume. In his memoirs, Hume discusses the execution and dissection of William Burke, both of which he was witness to. In this latest blog, our Senior Museum Research Fellow Ken Donaldson explores the sympathy felt for Burke by some witnesses…

Pathology Spotlight – Fergusson, Burke & Hare

This specimen was prepared by Professor Sir William Fergusson who, as a young man in early 19th century Edinburgh, worked closely with Dr Robert Knox, whose notoriety is based on his association with the serial killers Burke and Hare. It is a corrosion cast of a right foot with the lower end of the leg…

Jack and the Shannon

In our final blog of the year, we look at a case of amputation instruments used by Alexander Jack during the early 1800s. Jack was an RCSEd Diplomate in 1801 and later ship’s surgeon aboard the HMS Shannon. These instruments are part of his personal surgery kit and were used by him during the battle between…

The Battle of the Barbers and the Leeches

The above title refers to the friendly rivalry between the Physicians and the Surgeons of Edinburgh for the annual Handicap event played by the Royal Colleges Golf Club. The inaugural match teed off in 1890 and continues to be held every May at Luffness New Golf Club. It was founded by, and first captained by…

Edinburgh’s Dark History: Burke and Hare

William Burke was executed on January 28 1829. As punishment for his crimes he was publicly dissected by the anatomist Professor Alexander Monro (tertius) at the University of Edinburgh. Grisly souvenirs started to appear in Edinburgh, with books and wallets made from Burke’s skin being sold on the streets. A pocket book made from Burke’s skin…