Helen McDonald

with Helen McDonald

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Helen McDonald

Author | Historian

Jennifer Kloester


Jennifer Kloester is an Australian author of Young Adult, Biography & Historical Fiction.

Her first novel, ‘The Cinderella Moment’, was published by Penguin Australia and Swoon Romance in 2013 and was followed by the sequel, ‘The Rapunzel Dilemma’ in 2014.

Jennifer has given talks around the world on Georgette Heyer and the Regency, and is a passionate advocate for women writers, books and reading.

Read the transcript

[0:00] Music.

[0:08] And welcome to the book cave today where interviewing talking to the award-winning author and historian Helen McDonald.
Helen welcome to the book cave 10 wonderful to have you here hello I just love your book.

[0:22] Your first human remains are episodes in human dissection such a great title
funnily enough when I came out in a second edition with Yale University Press they changed the title they kept the human remains they didn’t like a episode I’ll try.
So it had to be deception and it’s history as I know but I think is trying to tell the entire story of deception from the moment it was invented through to now.
It’s episodes telling episode that’s exactly right and you do a great job and then your second book possessing the Dead.
Yes again at this time about the anatomy act yet through in what happened England haha yes yes this is the sort of.

[1:14] Morbid fascination help asking me what gave me the idea because it’s not
kind of counterintuitive for me because I’m quite a happy sort of perfect however I think the impetus for it was I was in a museum one day it was a provincial museum and it had.
As well as like artefacts like vases and pieces of mechanical equipment on a jar.
In which was part of a human body and I was just struck by it and in particular thinking
well who was that who was that once a part of and how did they come to be in this jar.
And so that was the beginning of the quest to find out who were these people on her medicine was made.
Wow what this book human remains opens with of course you I think it ended the dissection by the.
Anatomist I suppose you could call more pressure.

[2:15] Sort of the diamond a man who’s that fellow who looks I’ve always thought a little bit like a cadaver.
In a black fedora hat yes he has a medical condition himself colour.
But yes he always wears a fedora hat so
he is consciously playing on the anatomist as Showman which has a long history but also he is a highly skilled anatomist and invented a process called plastination for preserving human body parts
pictures of used in medical schools all around the world so he’s got this kind of Shady aspect of his.
This but also a very professional aspect.
So you actually begin the book with this good of on hard and for Formula to section the first public to section of a of a human body a dead body since
the 1830 and you talk about his statement where he says he is returning Anatomy to the Democratic science it once was yes what does he mean by that
there is a history of.

[3:28] Office of the public attending Anatomy lessons but it was always as a show rather than to learn anything much about the human body so
a mid 18th century law made to section a secondary punishment for Murder so someone who would committed murder would be sentence supposed to hang by the neck until they were dead and then their body to be handed over to the surgeon’s to be de sac
usually that began with a public kind of performance of deception and the object was if you commit murder you will never rest in a grave your body will be destroyed nothing
you will be left of you so it was the punishment are so naturally after that.
Euro it was very difficult for parliamentarians an anatomist persuade people well it’s no longer a punishment hey it’s a good thing you can do for the rest of society if you leave your body to science like that it was about $200
gap in between.

[4:29] Punishment the section of punishment and human beings altruistically leaving there remains which started about the 19th 50 years prior to medical schools
but the thing about those public perceptions.
As is also happened with good divine hargens is people flocked to them people people loved public executions they wanted to see them and they also wanted to see
these public perceptions wow so.
In the late 1700 early 1800 we talking about I guess there must have been a kind of rise in medical schools in the interest in
human anatomy is what it means to understand disease to understand what goes on inside the human body because I didn’t have things like x-rays that we have now but also
a very important aspect was for surgical.

[5:19] Just because the more I meant practiced on the dead hopefully them all skilled he would be at operating on you right now in those days of course they couldn’t do all kinds of operations they didn’t have anaesthesia
and so on so that they could of course chop off limbs and take out bladder stones and the
quickie you could perform those operations with the least possible loss of blood the better Hans practicing on a cadaver so it was a very important aspect
of medicine and in fact surgeons today argue that students aren’t doing enough to section they’re not learning on the dead body as much as they should be
right ok but there was obviously some kind of a shortage in these in the early 19th century and so we come to the really.

[6:10] Infamous case of the famous the most famous body snatchers which I think is where the term comes from Burke and Hare they actually weren’t body snatchers in in
terms of lifting bodies from the grey right was right at that time yeah but they were two men who worked on a canal they were building that canal between Glasgow and Edinburgh they were Irish immigrants one of them had a boarding house and they decided they learnt that you could earn about
10 pounds per corps if you sold it to Dr Robert Knox so who was illegitimate daughter.

[6:47] He wasn’t asking to bring him know and he always claimed he didn’t know they’d be murdered but others are saying you know he should have been suspicious they’re extremely fresh.
They were often still warm when he acquired that is so on although they didn’t take them directly to Knox they took him to the Porter.
So the porter is the person in the natomas house who receives the corpses insects or whatever
yes so Burke and Hare heat on this wonderful plan to make money they did indeed get about 10 pounds
corpse they murdered I’ve forgotten 11 to 13 people and sold their bodies to Knox and they were caught
Burke was the only one who hanged 4hr because.
Hair turn Kings evidence of evidence against him and just disappeared
some say he came to the Australian colonies we’re not quite sure about that but Burke was executed in public about 10000 people attended that execution and then he was too fat.

[7:55] Wow game over consumption and human skeleton still hangs in the University of edinburgh’s Anatomy school Indian and other things.

[8:07] The fact she was never only about learning medicine other opportunities were taken with bodies in this case they don’t and some of his skin and made purses of it and covered books.

[8:19] Wish so it’s never just pure science
so we actually cases like that we indulging individual fishes or fantasies do you think it was not that uncommon for accounts of
of murderers crimes to be published in a book in which their skin was used to.
Of the account yes so and that became a very valuable thing and there’s still some of those books around obviously and museums not
nothing because you have this amazing photograph
picture and hear of Mary Patterson who was a young woman who who was who died.

[9:10] And they actually use to almost as a sort of erotic.
Yes image very troubling so she was one of Birkenhead murder victim and when her body a
appeared in Robert Knox is an atom is school some of the students recognised her she was a prostitute they visited dry and so then they deceptive her.
And art was made from her body and yes there’s so much more to the actual just deception 4.
Scientific purposes medical advancement is a lot more to it that ok so.

[9:50] Is intersecting people even that will certainly then and possibly even know about.

[9:58] Handling the bodies of the marginalized yes after this murders are there been several attempts by parliamentarians in Britain to bring in an act that would enable
a legitimate source of bodies to be obtained for the medical schools rather than grave robbing and certainly rather than murder
and they brought in an act successfully in 1832 so just a couple of years after Bourke with hand and
it didn’t specify precisely where those bodies would come from but what actually happened was people the poor.
The Insane in the sick were used from then on so body is the
dark people who died in an institution in Britain in work houses in hospitals in jails on the Hulks waiting for transportation to Australia those people would be sent to be detected
if no relative arrived to claim them for burial in 48 hours after the death of but the trouble with claiming a body for burial in those days was first you need to have been notified.
They didn’t have our means of communication and.
To claim a body meant you had to be able to pay for it to be buried.
And many people for example the relatives of those who lived in workhouses couldn’t.

[11:23] No another interesting thing about that was it in Australia when Anatomy acts.

[11:29] Came into being they were all model mon that British act except they reduce that time in which you could play my body to 12 hours.
So you can imagine what happened here so here most bodies were taken from hospitals benevolent asylums immigrant Asylum with and insane asylums
so it was always the marginalized used until well into the 20th century wow so there must have been I suppose it sort of equivalent of.
Human trafficking hidden bodies rather than in life people yes and because people were people making money out of this
well not on the surface however there are interesting things that this kind of law also enables so medical man became very astute at acquiring bodies to descend for the students to the fact and to autopsy
and of course when those medical men travel to Australia and took up positions here
there were other bodies that became very valuable and they were used to acquiring bodies and you how to and that was.
Aboriginal people so there was in fact money to be made from them because you could you could acquire them for museums in Britain who are crying out for such remains and they would.
Give you money straight up or you would offer to sell the body or for other.

[12:54] What skull usually because our bodies are very cumbersome so you had to preserve it so skulls became objects of trade so what was the idea about what was the what’s the perceived value in a human skull.
In the 19th century what are they trying to
all seeing everything all sorts of things so there was a belief that the shape of the skull.
Indicated something about the mind is contained the brain it contain the idea of chronology yeah chronology comes into it and it also racial science so of course people noticed that
skull shapes differ depending if you were in Africa or if you’re in England or if you’re in Australia so.

[13:39] Abbott collectors like Joseph Donna Davis who is a doctor in the north of England I wanted to collect to skulls at least from
every part of the world when female 1 male so that you could have representative samples and become like the key play signal in which deals with the collection that everyone wanted to visit and
everyone referred to in their academic writing and so are so Barnard Davis was one of those men who
was very good used in who he contacted in the colonies to acquire this kind of material he had a network comprising Colonial governors medical men who worked in jails and Hospital
he would read Explorers accounts of their travels and right to the Explorers he tried to the naval office and say ahh any ships going to Southern Africa and who on them up
but you owe me a things for my museum so just that it did he succeed in this collection.

[14:43] His life he had a collection of about
1700 stars from all around the world which he sold to the Royal College of Surgeons in England a couple of years before he died so it then you hang part of their collection which was already large
that was no fuss do they still have it no they gradually repair created but much of their collection was bombed during the second World War I so destroyed.

[15:12] Ok do we know if mean I can’t imagine making any particularly useful discoveries.
Because humans gold shortly just Tim and skull well there are Discoveries to be made I think
and that’s certainly an argument mounted by the museums who want to keep them who don’t want to repair create them as saying this is human history it’s not any longer just racial history it’s not just about where these.
Killer people came from it’s about all of us and how we have involved in different environments
but the counter argument to that is to point out have a very little researchers ever actually being done on those bone often it was just enough to have them yeah as Joseph Bernard David said the British Museum he said.

[15:59] Daryl Justin cross gathering dust no one looks at them he was
outraged also cause there are different measurements but the thing is that doesn’t indicate that there’s an inferior or superior brain that’s what I love to do with no that’s right
yeah there must be all sorts of other factors that you need to write so beautifully
about the case of the history of this poor poor young woman Mary McLaughlin.

[16:31] How life death and dismemberment in 1830 in Australia in Tasmania and I think this is such an evocative account of really quite emotionally charged account yeah tell us about Mary.
What I always try to do in my history is so you get the.
Picture and affection was happening but then I like 20 down on a one particular person and find out as much as I can about their life.
And how they the circumstances in which they lived and how this happened to them so Mary McLaughlin
how to go to Scotland for this story she became the first woman to be sentenced to death and deception in Van Diemen’s Land yes I know Tasmania Tasmania so I went.
To Scotland to look at the records of her trial to see how she had become available for that purpose and it’s a very sad story sheet married into a family called the Sutherland family that in Scotland women keep their own name so she was Mick
McLachlan if she had two children by William Sutherland who were about 3 and 5 and
what becomes clear from reading the legal records is that her husband and his brothers had robbed a house but Mary McLaughlin was found with a bonnet
from that robbery and she was charged not just with.

[17:56] Leaving herself but with being a receiver stolen goods which attracted a worse sentence the longest sentence so she was sentenced to be transported
2 Van Diemen’s Land for 14 years was the first prime
which is probably been given the bonnet for the gift were yes exactly who knows and they’re a heartbreaking stories in her father of.

[18:19] People who gave evidence on her behalf such as the children that she cared for in a factories so she was cover textile factory she was an overseer there and the children all thought she was a kind overseer and I would say things like she would give us her shorter wrap around
legs on a cold day that’s the human so she was.
Torn from your family transported to Van Diemen’s Land and assigned to a man called Charles man and his family.
Except the system retained at the time so she became the domestic servant
she’s never been a domestic servant before she’s been a factory worker but it was just assumed all women could do to Mr and
she became pregnant there now the obvious implication in.
Reading between the lines for the newspaper accounts of that is the Charles man had impregnated hurt he was a man with a wife and family of his own and.

[19:26] She was sent back to the female factory which was a prison that’s what happened to women when they got pregnant and she gave birth there and she
disposed of the child so she killed the child in the outhouse the toilet and.
I don’t know who informed on her you probably need to they probably just found the body and she came out of that room and that’s why she was sentenced to death.

[19:52] So there are lots reason why the child might die they were and in those days.

[19:59] Evidence about weather at child have been born alive or born dead was very hazy there was all sorts of arguments between medical Manor on what constituted life
did the child have to take a breath of its own accord after it’d exited the vagina and so on
where does the proof live there anyway she was sentenced to death and.
Incredibly yes so hangs at 8 in the morning as the St David’s Bells chime which is the time they always did and them.

[20:37] I have found it hard to let her go and she’s one of those characters that we’re not a carrot.

[20:44] One of those historical figures that is still haunts me and whenever I go back to Scotland I do a little bit more searching because I wonder what how.

[20:53] Yes I drink I assume you put into a pole house because their father disappeared very quickly on the scene
anyway this guilty so probably they went into a poor house I haven’t found them in any records nor if I found any family members of hers.
Haha yes I did she was detected
yes and then she was defected there was no record kept of that so I’ve had to re-imagine that in terms of a
what I knew was happening in the Hobart General Hospital at that time who had power which was the keys surgeon
Tom James Scott and how he wielded power in that place so he could say who couldn’t who could not participate as a medical man in intersection
it was Scott it had this continuing fight really with Crowder yeah Crowther Hoot come out from England yes and was
it crowd crowd applying to various didn’t really teach me.
Students unless you could offer them access to bodies from William Crowther wanted to teach medical student right but now it’s Crowther isn’t it.

[22:09] Who add to this dreadful thing to eliminate with his son being a mother know so
this William Crowther who was a little bit marginally involved with the Mary McLaughlin case and I had a son called
William lodewick Crowther right he also became a doctor did went back to England to do his training and so on and when he was
back in Van Diemen’s Land became a well-to-do doctor himself
but also got caught up in this business of providing Aboriginal bodies two different medical men back in Britain
he had a relationship with the Royal College of Surgeons head sent them whilst like at one stage the head of whale 30 footlong suspended in their museum he sent them that so
had a failing business on the side
and so when he learnt that the Royal College of Surgeons was seeking Aboriginal remains he knew that he was in a position to provide them.

[23:16] With because I did this dreadful thing with king is it King Julian
is considered the time to be the last full blooded Tasmanian male Aborigines yeah I which probably wasn’t true but no David also Billy and he dies and
this other fellow Ross has died and
Crowder goes in and they do this terrible thing with the skull yeah tell us about that so William landing worked on a sailing ship and it came back into port and like all the way live.

[23:54] I got very drunk and and he contracted to disease and he died from it
Crowther had his body instantly taken for the n in which he died into the hospital where he was in control of what happened to him but there were also doctors working there on behalf of the Royal Society who.
Another group who wanted to keep when your plan his remains and they argued that his skeleton should always stay in The Colony because he was the last man and he was a type specimen and that was very important to keep at home not send to Britain
at night William Crowther and his son went into the hospital to secting room and there was a school tape.
Teacher named Thomas Ross lying on the intersecting table because he had been.
Paul when he died no one claimed his body and he was being detected by the students and there was William Lani so.
Trouser cut out made a slit in Lenny’s face cut out the skull
and he’s substituted under Lenny’s skin the skull of Thomas Ross
so put the white man’s skull in top Denise Thomas Ross is skin Mount that wasn’t going to feel anybody for very long and of course when the Royal Society men came in.
They could see something was wrong picked up the head and Pop’s the white skull.

[25:22] So they instantly knew what crowded done it was effectively the end of his career
at that hospital he never got a foot in that door again but he did stay a medical man and no one knew what happened to that skull.
It it was mean rumours were that it was shipped to the Royal College of Surgeons Royal College of Surgeons said they never received it
who knows what he wouldn’t let his skull is still new to this but I found out what happened to Thomas Ross and nobody cared anything about that
is it been buried in the presbyterian burying ground.

[26:03] Wow that it’s just you have this wonderful I hope that your words.
The deceased of turned into Eminem’s by instruments and by words and I can see how they’re made I guess anonymous is what you mean by the instruments what do you mean by.

[26:23] Say because he never spoken of as subjects only as objects so those bodies fish that lie in museums and medical schools
are there for a particular purpose of the most that might be known of them is or nowadays maybe at a
label that says a male what they died of and so on but in the 19th century all these people upon whose bodies medicine were.
Was made they’re not known they just they’re just nothing that subject That’s Amore
very fascinated by what terms are subject into an object and it’s really interesting to read first year medical school
students accounts of when they first go into detecting and some of them say things like I was fine you know didn’t bother me a tour of
but I Drake tattoos you over the eyes
brother felt the eyes looking at me but not everybody of course but some students have these kinds of uncanny experiences with the Corpse when they first meet it
when they first encounter it and the experience today is very different to the experience I was writing about when they were fresh corpses smelly you had to do the section very quickly that is integrated for your eyes now that preserved for a very long time more than one person works on them.

[27:50] There’s something about that moment that you shift from subject to objects not just dance it does it it’s.

[27:57] Intuitively it is death it does is your own everything once you’re dead but when you’re first in that detecting room that’s not how your experience do you still.

[28:08] People still wonder about you like your hands what did Those Hands do in life and so on when I went to good to find hargans exhibition
the thing that struck me was he had a whole body plastinate of a Chinese woman and he always poses them in strange ways but I looked at her feet and saw all the wrinkles behind her ankle and
immediately gave me a sense of her age and then I’ve started thinking of her walking through life and you always.
The dead aren’t just dead no no no because well because they’ve lived yeah we can imagine
the living and the ourselves as dead like yeah that’s right it’s sort of a real.
In your face reminder of your mortality and the fact that you two will one day
Falcon the cadaver whether or not you just another question but at least that’ll be your choice oh you certainly hope so it will come to the modern world as soon as I think that’s that’s really kind of interesting also that question of.
After death does the person cease being a person here come the object because and when do we stop having any.

[29:25] Ethical responsibilities to that person yeah like we treat.
Well I hope we treat with great respect the dead now as their laid out in coffins visited off and my family for a couple of days then.
Although we do often shuttle ourselves into ovens these days which didn’t happen and I don’t think that is truly even today to see this
scandal in Queensland because they swapped out.

[29:51] $7,800 silky oak coffin for a pine box worth $70 a year ago and so apparently his wife in the funeral industry well so we’re not getting the respect because clearly there’s a shovel in one body out of the
and then she scandals in the US quite recently where they found that people are running
body racquets out of funeral parlours so people were selling parts of
bones etc to the human tissue industry cause that could be for profit in the US and people who thought they bury their relatives.
Haven’t later found that they might have had pipe instead of bone in their legs oh my goodness ok so.
Coming back to the section then obviously we’ve got a long history of deception in which many.
Terrible and very corrupt things have happened and what we would now with modern day sensibilities think I was completely off all but is intersection
a way of benefit in the living years square that away with the story and how I square that is.

[30:55] I know that you have to break eggs to make an omelette but I like to spend my time with the broken egg.
I think it behoves us as a society to contemplate a little what goes into the making of a good thing.

[31:12] Yes say yes if I was having an operation of course I would want that surgeon to be well practiced it was during the 19th century it would be on cadavers.
But at the same time my sensibility is
OK so how come some it was ok to practice on some peoples body but other people were arranging very Grande funerals for themselves thank you very much and making sure that they didn’t.
End up disintegrating in an anatomist so we thought about.

[31:48] Autopsy vs two sections science theatre Lisa there different two different so tell the difference between autopsy over 6 different times of post mortem examination
one of which can be ordered by coroner so if the Suspicious death or the cause is unknown a coroner can order an autopsy
you don’t have the right to protest about that although you can ask for it to be limited
and what are the limited autopsy are those don’t only opening certain areas of the body like if it looks like it was a heart attack would you open.
Just said yes but the coroner doesn’t have to abide by that you can order anytime any kind of autopsy
but that autopsies only meant to be carried out to determine the cause of death you’re not meant to be taking bits and pieces for museums and write
whatever else and is the second type of autopsy which is a hospital post mortem
now I’m talking in the 19th century but probably still which is when
people are meant to be asked their permission for that kind of autopsy and usually the reason is well we understand what the reason for death is but we want to see how how that disease ACT.
Inside the body so that we will learn more for our future patients or be able to find a genetic cause for something the haps that.

[33:13] That you in the family might need to know about for other reasons now days you can inject and say no you don’t want that kind of autopsy carried out and pull off do they say that person suffered enough and whatever
but in the 19th century it was often a condition of you entering hospital that you could not object to an autopsy should you die there.
Guys hospital in London a little notice put on a wall saying.

[33:40] Should should you as a patient Di you agree to have a post mortem examination.

[33:47] Which sounds sort of quite bland and car individual ordinary know what a post-mortem examination like guys actually wasn’t because.
Hospital for also a source of subjects for the section for students to practice on students and the medical schools did not like receiving a body that it already been autopsied
take all those destroyed bodies are made already been so mutilated that they were useless for the section.

[34:15] So an autopsy could be an extremely.

[34:19] Mutilate invasive cha-ching so much so that you wonder during the 19th century if they were being used to suit Ida sections rather than just.

[34:29] To notice because you actually have this wonderful things you said as the skin is breached.
The body becomes safe to see it is that because there’s a kind of disjunct we know each other just purely from the external view but the internal view is so foreign to us all because.
It is an an an that’s for sure.
Some modern day students also say that so they’re ok when they’re inside but when you first see that person it still looks like a person now today’s kodavas.
Have usually been preserved maybe for at least six months that’s not a formaldehyde not not of.
Anything human and they’re quite leathery to the touch so
imagine how much more confronting it was during the 19th century especially the early Nineteenth century before those methods of preservation.

[35:29] Well I mean I look back to this picture of Paul Mary Patterson you know where he just looks like a she looks like she’s a an artist.
Model is very erotic hose and everything’s obviously very fresh and I’m in stop has just been killed the age is just a waffle.
She looks like a salted Botticelli Venus or some at the link between art and Anatomy is always been very strong and if that many anatomist would talk about their own work as an ass.
Are you leaving work still being done today so just recently written the catalogue essay for an exhibition by
an artist called Lauren black I don’t know if you know she’s got a exhibition at the moment at the art gallery of Ballarat Brian and she did a residency in a medical Museum
and so she would have an object in a jar in front of her and from that she would create.
Ask her own art her own response to that object in the jar haha work is just wonderful sheets is also Botanical artists so it’s that kind of level of detail but it really makes you think.

[36:39] Usually human this even intersection of cola she drawing the item not literally and some of her in some of her sketches a wonderful so.
She will use 3 layers of paper with carbon paper in between each she’ll look at the object
and then she’ll work on a blind social look down and
do it with her left hand instead and her right hand so as surgeons do working both parts together and not know what she’s actually sketched until she left the carbon paper.
And sees what’s underneath a really creative start taking anatomical specimens as they’re beginning Point extraordinary so.

[37:27] You see do you see the section.
As a cultural activity as my yes and it certainly was then because.
What it showed about the culture and which was taking place was choices that were made about who did affected how poverty was treated how mental health was treated.

[37:49] How to recruit to medical man like this kind of sensitizer write to someone else’s body and if I’m denied that right I should be able to do whatever I like you dig it up from the Grave
is it cultural matter these aren’t medical matters absolutely must have been people who objected.
Massive objection rights
elsewhere in Britain and also in the United States people leave the body snatchers because actually no one’s body was safe it wasn’t just the poor being lifted from Graves it was anybody you could get your hands on the fresher the better
and so if you were wealthy enough to afford as you could hire watches to watch over a grave for.

[38:39] 24-48 hours until the body with going a bit off and wouldn’t attract such a price from the anatometal so why we have mausoleums like great stone out of his is 2
I’m not sure about me was the lounge but they had more safe mode thanks so there would be like
iron bars over the place in which the body was buried that was specifically to stop body snatching
how long do body snatching gone for a 18th century into the early 19th century the anatomy act was meant to stop it but it’s actually mention.
I’m stopping at an earlier draught did band body snatching
this one didn’t but gradually as these bodies from work houses and hospitals became more available there was less money to be made from actually that’s awesome but then even these bodies from the workhouses in mental institutions in Tibet
that in itself must of course I mean really.
Horrible sort of dreadful immoral sort of practices it must have gone on for people to make people still making money out of bodies.

[39:44] Doing nothing no but what they might have been I don’t know I haven’t found anything about that but certainly
people did a checked when they found out so there was one case in the 18 50s when two daughters had come to a mental institution to claim their fathers body for burial and found it been opened
who knew what had happened inside the body and they were terribly distraught and they went to their minister of religion and he took their case up
on their behalf but you know it’s after the event so
and also what happened in lunatic Asylum this was lots of medical men had a research interests in the brain so there were vast collections of brain au.
So you know it was always said to be all we need is for scientific purposes but the whole thing was in the 19th century.
Consent was never requested it nor was it required like what’s that wasn’t part of the law that you need to know
no oh you you had a right under the under the anatomy act to claim the body for burial but if you didn’t turn up within that time.

[40:56] Having been informed by post that someone died in the body was fair game.
Put On A Happy Face of Mrs parsley sparkly whose body did disappear even though her family had.

[41:10] Made it clear that they didn’t want it to be detected.
I’ve forgotten this yeah I forgot a mystery bet they shut the door and I’ll say no to what you
get away with the late they said I’ll know if the next up with a Mr but bazeley
parsley and basil will be sort of similes maybe if you have a certain accent they found yourself a lot of money so
people would come to claim the bodies for burial they would go following what they thought was a full coffin and see it
buried but in fact that was an empty coffin or it was defective remains another detritus that have been shoved into the car that was sent off for burial because he had a deal with guys Hospital
so he would supply them for an amount of money he had to split with the Undertaker they were both in.
And they would dispose of their rubbish and give him a coffin to bury but it didn’t contain the remains it was meant to contain.

[42:20] There was a similar case in Scotland in the 1894.
So how long do you think this is gone on does it say will go on not that I know of no no it doesn’t go on.
Fresh there are all sorts of new laws especially since the end of the Twentieth Century when
several scandals unfolded at same time internationally about how common post-mortems were people didn’t
no that material was being removed during post mortem and retain her food in the whole collection of children’s heart so that Alder hey yeah scandal of 1999 and she’s not even 20 years ago
well there was a doctor a where where is it in
Liverpool on England they were they were having an enquiry at the Bristol children’s hospital and found that there was a large collection of children’s hearts there has its hadn’t been public knowledge and then they investigated other hospitals including all the hey and found visited
actually become a cultural thing it was routine if a surgeon or Physician asked you for apart from a body that that part.

[43:38] And given to him for a search purposes him or hurt and that was happening under the anatomy ACT
but also more importantly under the human tissue ACT
which came into play In the Midnight 20th century 1961 under which.
Consent was meant to be obtained but it wasn’t really consent you were allowed to Webjet.
Soho small to me so it was the opt out system we only know about a system in which parts were routinely
obtained always said to be for good purposes to research collections and so on.

[44:17] And when the investigators ask doctors want but you know about the human tissue act you can’t do that under the act they were either profess ignorance of the law and they may well have been ignorant of the Lord I would say things like
well there was just a culture of culture of expectation and there would be consequences for someone who did not keep the object that.
The wanted so this culture of expectation is among the doctors and surgeons in the medical profession and is this because of this long history do you think of obtaining bodies such sort of.

[44:54] I get really to watch the All Through the 819 Central to the 18 hundreds of obtaining plenty of bodies through these years.
Minion doing this for the good of human because I’m doing this research thing we can say this is for the good of humanity the 20th century.
And by the end of the Twentieth Century and I didn’t he know we’ve got what 200 years of I guess a cultural practice of people.

[45:22] Having access to bodies enough to cross when they weren’t given they have two bodies how I do that
ok I’m cross which has the word consent in them so no longer lack of objection especially in Britain now you had to give positive consent
right and so these with children’s yeah for children.
There was one man I’m thinking of who was doing research into cleft palates so children’s hands had been Kennedy parents had no idea that they those
the high that the whole had been taken or be that it was still living in a bottle in it and a.
Warwick Institute there was there was one horrible one instance of an infant who had died and just been labelled.
Something like
no longer necessary to keep cut up and dispose of and so parents following those enquiries came forward and said.

[46:31] We thought we had buried a child now we’re being told there’s a bit of the child here bit of the child here’s some of them had two or three different.
Objects to dispose of the with all part of their child.
And they were very traumatised by their own absolutely yes so is part of the issue then in the modern day because.

[46:55] Part of my rational brand so says the person’s did child adult you did what does it matter in that way but of course the emotional
I’m just a poor dad horrified in the garden the thought of my child being buried without their head or an army would just be it would be completely traumatised so is partly because we.
Really haven’t come to grips with death.
Only but also for us when we think of someone we love like we remember that person through their body don’t we their laughter.

[47:28] Things like that brush and then they’re just an object to us nobody even at the same time as we dispose of their bodies as we necessarily must either by burial or cremation
we still think them think of them as a human being and for my thinking for myself I would hate to think that someone else was doing things to their body just for their own purposes.
And for a search the might never be carried out your yeah yeah yeah that I would know nothing of that I think it’s fine if you know about something and you can send to us yes.
But often of course the difficulty is you are asked for your consent at the most dramatic moment of your own life leisurely fits the death of a child rather than have an older person who’s lived a good life and so on so.
There is probably a fair by medical professionals that the answer to their request will be no and maybe that’s why it’s it is it is a hard question to ask you know the moment of death or soon afterwards by the way can we keep.

[48:30] Your child’s body and do we know if the research is was that with that he been done on all those what are those reports those scandals indicated that a whole lot of material if kept
and people have even forgotten that material was there so it’s just make some house so much worse so
I’m sure there were authentic researchers who did durer Surya and the way that they were meant to and should have done but then what happens to these off.
Like it’s almost like an acquisitive you have the power to a get I get it also kind of I guess points to her.

[49:11] Is it a lack of humanity and someone who’s able to take
the body and just simply objectified in that way particularly of a child’s what I guess we’re much more concerned about telling if.
Here I’m going back to the 19th century many of this for surgeons and anatomist I looked at I tried to find out how they themselves have been buried.
Had they donated their bodies
so I’m a proper funeral disposal in in a proper cemetery and so on I think
there is a long history of medical men experimenting on themselves which I think is a very Noble thing to do rather than experimenting on other people but you know.
If you’re arguing the people should be leaving their bodies to science why think it behoves you should leave your own.

[50:05] I think that’s pretty fair I think it’s pretty fair so we’ve talked about bodies as battle battlefields and this sort of
so is it still a Battlefield to get access to the dead I don’t think so no is that your calls people so go ahead
it’s very interesting and no one’s done much research on this since the nineteen 50s after second world war is when most body is used
can medical schools have been donated by that person for that reason.
No that is quite a shift cos I’ve got archival material just for the nineteen thirties and forties and I was still bemoaning that they couldn’t get enough corpses know I was donating their bodies throw.
Cause that shift I think that’s a really good area to research how was it the devastation of the Second World War
if it an embodies not seeming to be as important anymore so many people have been killed and disappeared.
But you would think that would also have been an effect after the first well that’s what I was going to say it was and that didn’t say that it was so traumatizing that you couldn’t do
paps entertained even the idea but.
With the second one after the war that was meant to end all wars I crapped he was a sort of fatigue maybe in or and yet at the same time.

[51:29] We would do almost anything Swimart.
When the body of a first world war soldier is discovered now we would do anything.
But is it because obviously people’s remains very.
You know the poor victims of that terrible in Bhopal and India that have those people have shocking treated terribly badly.
But of course a soldier from the Great Wall cause of the nationalistic further it’s actually that
kind of makes the body a different source.
And I still remember to this day I had a conversation with her in the nineteen seventies and she said she wanted to leave her body to science that was the first I’ve ever heard of such a
and I persuaded her I begged her not to do it I didn’t even know what leaving the body to science man today
so she clearly didn’t.
Didn’t value her post mortem remains at all didn’t care what became of that she felt that she was doing the greater a higher thing with her mortal remains I don’t think she did I have a sense she just thought.

[52:46] What does it matter you’re dead.
OK which many people do for haps the rise of secularism Pepsi maybe the loss of religion a big part of it to this idea because I wasn’t there an issue with you know the whole Burke and Hare you know
dissecting murderers was a kind of emotional blackmail to in two ways one is well if you’ve murdered someone we’re going to dice not just hang him we’re going to dissect you therefore it’s a deterrent supposedly the other thing is a medical men could then say
well you know we need these bodies and you don’t have the bodies were how can we.
I make you successfully so there’s a kind of emotional blackmail in there and also.

[53:28] People would say the reason that that emotional blackmail should have work if people religious was.
What’s going to happen on the resurrection day.
Stop making people died in fires and fall over boarding getting by sharks and if God is all powerful then children has no problem.
The piercing but but hang on I have to be home way to rise up rise up the resurrection
Pepsi the ones who think they’re going to get up in the rapture and have to be home to be in the rapture yeah that’s that’s really interesting
more people leaving their body to science now do we vs and in fact
because medical men aren’t doing this much perception of medical men require so much to section f
not as much need for body is because there’s computer generated learning tools and so I thought that was quite that
cutting into like that first scalpel Ana cartagena Tumblr sensei.

[54:42] This can never substitute surely doing deception so that’s a controversial thing.
But also what is interesting is that now we have other post-mortem uses for the dead such as organ transplantation collection of pituitary glands up until the nineteen eighties from brain or what for.
Oh that was for human growth hormone for children who threatened to become what was called pituitary dwarf so in the nineteen seventies in Britain and in Australia
but in Britain swear I’ve done the research virtually every post-mortem examination carried out the postmortem room technician would remove
pituitary gland from back of the brain put it into a jar for which he was paid 10 pence per pituitary gland there was not meant to be in exchange for money and any body part
and that became a big scandal in the 1970 years when that was found to be happening so they were collecting something like 60000 pituitary glands a year mega.
Mega huge farming of yes yes and of course it was through a very good purpose because then
add mushroom up and they would give them in tablet or injection for the two children who
we’re not growing in the way that they should just order for cannibal in fact Lee in fact they called organ donation and Noble form of can cannibalism.

[56:11] Bath.
What happened in a 1980 S which actually stopped this was the mad cow disease called they yeah they thought it was at one of the causes.

[56:25] Yes we are different not a cause of mad cow disease but what am I.
Taking this human growth hormone becoming very ill themselves and dying so
synthetic forms of human growth hormone substituted for the 1981 part of the evolution of medical science understanding and we’re all very grateful for what medicine can do in the modern era and who knows what do
long after we’re gone but then it comes back to consent
yes that pituitary gland absolutely so was all being done on this life how and credit yes so do we think this happens.

[57:12] Well who knows what happens when they there is a and Italian surgeon at the moment who is saying he’s really just do the first head transplant
now and he has a a man.

[57:29] Who is willing to have someone else’s he wants his own
had kept and but he will take a kadhava from the neck down and because he’s suffering from a terrible disease and he lives in Russia and he’s saying yes he’s going to be the first person to whom this is done
now the head is the only thing that is
not being transplanted except for a Russian experiments in the nineteen thirties when they were creating two headed dogs and also.

[58:07] So

[58:08] He’s not going to have done that without experimenting in some way is he he’s not just going to carry out the world’s first head transplant without some kind of experimentation already having happened so.

[58:21] It does read lots and lots of questions on that incredibly almost surreal.
Somewhat maccarb not very far and it’s fascinating futuristic moment I think we’ll and a fabulous into you with the amazing Helen McDonald
Dr hello thank you help with Epson printer bit before you’re allowed to leave the book cave we ask you the question we asked Gawler out interviewees and that is what are the three books that you would like to virtually donate to our virtual time capsule
the three books that you would leave the world a thousand years from now.

[58:58] Show me they would be a books I enjoy reading that explain something about our present moment so that contemporary novels are the first would be a.

[59:13] Part of that new burgeoning genre of nature writing so h is for Hawk by Harbour helenmcdonald and which is memoir and and Natural History love it the 2nd would be.
Practically any book by Elizabeth strout but olive kitteridge would be my favourite because she just does characters so well music
complicated characters she’s you writer multilayered yes looks incredibly simple on the surface Oatley sold wonderful read but my name is Lucy Barton that’s remote anymore but yeah.

[59:50] I love lamp and novelas don’t you love me and the food would be.
I had trouble with this one botrytis who write about place so well that place is almost another character oh yeah and I think I’ve go for Graham Swift Waterland which is set in the fence so the east of English
goes back into history about reclaiming.

[1:00:14] Land from sea basically but also it’s characters living in the present dealing with all this yes fantastic I haven’t read that one so I will have to deal with me
have to do they do that Graham’s with Sweetwater land and the fan country of Dorothy Sayers at 8.

[1:00:32] Wonderful World industrial.

[1:00:42] Helen McDonald water pleasure thank you so much.

[1:00:45] Music.

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