London beyond time and place London beyond time and place,Talks beyond time and place Episode 12: Jack Chesher | Topic: London’s Body-Snatcher Gangs

Episode 12: Jack Chesher | Topic: London’s Body-Snatcher GangsEpisode 12: Jack Chesher | Topic: London’s Body-Snatcher Gangs


Jack Chesher is a lover of all things London, history and walking. On his website “Living London History“, he wants to uncover the history of London and help Londoners see their home in a different light, as well as helping visitors to get under the skin of this incredible city.

London’s Body-Snatcher Gangs

On “Living London History”, Jack published a blog and Self-Guided Walk about London’s Body-Snatcher Gangs. In today’s episode of “Talks beyond time and place”, we chat about the Resurrectionists and this unusual business from the beginning of the 19th century.




00:00​​​​​​​ London beyond time and place Intro

01:05​​ Introduction

06:36​ How and when did your fascination with London history begin?

07:47​ What was the most surprising fact you’ve learned or story that you’ve heard?

10:52​ How do you pick the topics you write about?


15:18​ Where did the idea for the Body-Snatcher blog and Self-Guided Walk come from?

17:25​ Your walk starts in Bunhill Fields Burial Ground and goes to Smithfield and St Bartholomew’s Hospital. How did you come up with the route?

20:00​ Have you ever been to the Rising Sun Tavern?

22:00​ Why was body-snatching such a successful business?

26:41​ Was it illegal?

27:26​ The two most famous gangs of “Resurrection Men” were the Borough Gang and the London Burkers, among them the infamous Williams, Bishop and May. Can you tell us a bit about them?

32:52​ Tell us a bit about the “Italian Boy” and why he was the reason the London Burkers were caught (and why it marked the end of body-snatching in London).

37:27​ There is an iron coffin in the crypt of St Bride’s, Fleet Street. What is its connection to body-snatching?

39:06​ When I look at your website, I see a lot of blogs and walks that include cemeteries – Bunhill Fields, Crossbones Cemetery, Abney Park Cemetery, St John-At-Hampstead, St Pancras Gardens. Which London cemetery is your favourite?

42:04​ Some examples of body-snatching in literature: Dickens’s “A Tale of Two Cities”, Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”

43:20​ Which other self-guided walks have you got planned?

46:25​ What is your favourite place in London?

48:20​ Has dealing with London and its history and its literature changed your view of the city? Has walking the city changed your view of the city?

52:48​ Can you name three Londoners that you would have dinner or a drink with?



Walk In The Footsteps of London’s Body-Snatcher Gangs

St Bride’s: The Church That Inspired The Wedding Cake

St John-At-Hampstead: The Burial Place of Captain Hook

CROSSBONES: The Hidden Sex-Worker’s Graveyard

The Sleeping Lion And More Secrets Of Abney Park

Further reading

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


Talks beyond time and place” is a series of online conversations by author Philipp Röttgers of “London beyond time and place“. Philipp and his guests chat about how London influences their lives. In every episode, they cover certain topics, depending on the individual guest. Among his guests are scholars, historians, tour guides and more and the atmosphere feels like a conversation in a pub.

Music by Bryan Kolarczyk

Philipp Röttgers Talks beyond time and place
Philipp Röttgers Talks beyond time and place

*= affiliate links/advertising links

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