November 2021
Friday 20th November
“Burke and Hare - a Dark Tale” Eric Melvin
The story of Burke and Hare is dark indeed. Over a few months in 1828, the villainous pair killed at least 16 people and sold their bodies to Dr Robert Knox, the famous anatomist. Eric Melvin retired as Head Teacher of Currie CHS in 2005. He is the author of several books and has a particular interest in Edinburgh’s rich history. His presentation will draw on contemporary sources to examine their horrific crimes. It is often thought that Burke and Hare were grave robbers, part of the dreadful trade that supplied corpses to the ever-growing demands of Edinburgh’s world-famous medical school. But no, they never robbed a single grave. They were serial killers. So what brought these two Irishmen to Scotland – and perhaps to Currie? As will be explained there is indeed a link to Currie. What turned them into killers? Why were they able to kill so many victims without detection? What is the link between their crimes and Edinburgh’s Golden Age? How were they eventually caught and why was it only Burke who was hanged? Finally, were these dreadful crimes unique to Edinburgh?
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