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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Institutions


Theatre of Anatomy


It was founded by Henry William Dewhurst in the 1820s as a place of instruction on anatomy and physiology, which appears to have had some connection with the new University of London (later University College London)

Dewhurst lectured there on anatomy and physiology in 1827–1828 (A Lecture Introductory to the Study of Anatomy and Physiology Delivered by Henry William Dewhurst...on Monday, October 1, 1827, at the New Theatre of Anatomy, 24, Sidmouth Street, Gray’s Inn Lane, 1827; copy originally owned by Joseph Hume, UCL Special Collections; L. Hebert ed, The Register of Arts, and Journal of Patent Inventions, vol. I, 1828)

In July 1827 Dewhurst wrote to The Lancet to draw attention to his own efforts in this campaign; he had, he said, written to the Marquess of Lansdowne to ask if the Government would allow “myself, and other anatomists, to import bodies from France or Ireland duty free, and without molestation from the excise or custom-house officers” (The Lancet, 4 August 1827)

Lansdowne, however, would apparently entertain such a request only if it come from the Royal College of Surgeons; undaunted, Dewhurst began a petition at his theatre which all teachers of anatomy were encouraged to sign (The Lancet, 4 August 1827)

It no longer exists

What was reforming about it?

It was a focus of the campaign to increase the availability of bodies for dissection to teach medical student

Where in Bloomsbury

It was at 24 Sidmouth Street in the 1820s

Website of current institution

It no longer exists

Books about it

None found


Printed prospectuses for Dewhurst’s lectures and publications are held in the Wellcome Library, ref. MS. 5371–5372; details are available online via Access to Archives (opens in new window)

This page last modified 13 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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