Art macabre: resurrectionists and anatomists.ANZ J Surg. 2001 Jun; 71(6):377-80.AJ
The teaching of anatomy in England and Scotland from the 16th to the 19th centuries was carried out by the Companies of Barber Surgeons and also there were a number of private schools. The only sources of material for dissection and study were the gallows or the grave and the supply from the former was limited by law. Therefore the latter became the source of a saleable commodity, and so the profession of grave robbing became established. The taking of bodies was abhorrent to the populace, fights and riots would sometimes occur and public outrage was directed towards anatomists. The passing of the Anatomy Act of 1832 helped bring an end to the grisly business of snatching bodies, but the supply of material for study still remained a problem. In the 1920s there was a change in public attitude toward dissection which resulted in an increase in the donation of bodies.