The Italian Boy : Murder and Grave-Robbery in 1830s London, Paperback

The Italian Boy : Murder and Grave-Robbery in 1830s London Paperback

3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Towards the end of 1831, the authorities unearthed a series of crimes at Number 3, Nova Scotia Gardens in East London that appeared to echo the notorious Burke and Hare killings in Edinburgh three years earlier.

After a long investigation, three bodysnatchers were put on trial for supplying the anatomy schools of London with suspiciously fresh bodies for dissection.They later became known as The London Burkers, and their story was dubbed 'The Italian Boy' case.

The furore which led directly to the passing of controversial legislation which marked the beginning of the end of body snatching in Britain.

In The Italian Boy, Sarah Wise not only investigates the case of the London Burkers but also, by making use of an incredibly rich archival store, the lives of ordinary lower-class Londoners.

Here is a window on the lives of the poor - a window that is opaque in places, shattered in others but which provides an unprecedented view of low-life London in the 1830s.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368 pages, 80
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: True crime
  • ISBN: 9781844133307



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

True story of bodysnatching and murder in and around Spitalfields in the early 19th century. Manages to make the time seem both real and impossobly distant from today. Brings to life a sense of what London's east end was like in those days.

Review by

Story of the murder of a boy in London to sell his body to the anatomy schools. Wonderful research & writing. Anecdotal history at its best.Read Aug 2006