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Watch Bloody Britain online: Episode 8 The Body Snatchers

During the 17th and early 18th centuries, a grim profession emerged. A growing number of anatomists, keen to improve their medical knowledge, needed corpses on which to conduct dissections, which were often done in theatres, where members of the public could pay to watch. Bodies were difficult to come by, as it was only legal to perform a dissection on the corpse of a recently executed criminal. So body snatchers, also known as resurrection men, made money by digging up fresh corpses and selling them to medical schools and hospitals.

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