King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences
Stories of Strand-Aldwych


The Burkers. [1]The Burkers. [1]

The Italian Boy.[2]The Italian Boy.[2]

In the years following the case of the Italian Boy the remains of John Bishop – his skeleton and the skin of his arms took pride of place in King’s pathological museum for decades. While lecturing at King’s, Richard Partridge, as Professor of Anatomy would tell his students the Bishop and Williams story, embellishing it with fiction. The case of the London Burkers projected a vivid image of how London’s criminal fraternity were able to move around the capital along secret pathways of their own making – just as Bishop and Williams had done at Nova Scotia Gardens. Today the Bishop and Williams case itself has declined into obscurity, yet it revealed how London Burkers operated in the shadows of the capital’s streets – well until the passing of the 1844 Anatomy Act that killed off the trade leaving stories like that of Bishop and Williams to remain a potent folk memory.[3]

Written by Sandip Kana



[1] The British Museum Collections, [Accessed August 2022].

[2] The British Museum Collections, [Accessed August 2022].

[3] Sarah Wise, The Italian Boy, (London: Vintage Digital, 2012) pp. 328-339.

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