Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - GRAVE ROBBERS -

Born in 1784, Henry War­bur­ton was the son of a tim­ber mer­chant. He was ed­u­cated at Eton Col­lege and Trin­ity Col­lege, Cam­bridge, where he was known as a “scholar and a man of sci­ence”. Af­ter univer­sity, he worked in the tim­ber trade. In 1809, he was elected Fel­low of the Royal So­ci­ety and his pas­sion for sci­ence and pol­i­tics in­flu­enced the rest of his life e.

War­bur­ton was first elected as an MP in 1826 as a rad­i­cal fo or Brid­port. He was a hard-work­ing politi­cian who cam­paigned on var­i­ous causes in­clud­ing bank­ruptcy and the Anti-Corn Law League. But it was as a spokesman for med­i­cal re­form­ers that War­bur­ton made his mark.

In 1828, he per­suaded the House of Com­mons to es­tab­lish a se­lect com­mit­tee on anatomy, which in­ves­ti­gated the sup­ply of ca­dav­ers for dis­sec­tion and bodys­natch­ing. War­bur­ton was keen to “bring sci­ence to the poor man’s door” and im­prove the do­mes­tic con­di­tions of the im­pov­er­ished through bet­ter med­i­cal care and sur­gi­cal skills. He wrote the com­mit­tee’s re­port but his first anatomy bill failed to get through Par­lia­ment. Af­ter rein­tro­duc­ing a sim­pli­fied ver­sion, the Anatomy Act was fi­nally passed in 1832. Henry War­bur­ton re­tired from pol­i­tics in 1847 and died in 1858.

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