Who were Burke and Hare?

The press called them ‘the bodysnatchers.’ But who were William Burke and William Hare?

The Auld Toun Blog explores Edinburgh’s stories and gives updates about our latest news. 

The Old Town by JB55 CC

The press called them ‘the bodysnatchers.’ But who were William Burke and William Hare?

William Burke and William Hare were both from Northern Ireland. They came separately to Scotland, where they found work building the Union Canal between Falkirk and Edinburgh.

Burke was talkative, handsome and charming. He spoke Irish Gaelic and could read and write in English.

Hare is the more mysterious of the two. We only know of a ten-year period of his life. He was also a Roman Catholic of the labourer class, born in Derry or Newry. He was illiterate but could be cunning and manipulative.

Find out the rest of the story at our Evil Deeds: Burke and Hare tour. Delve into 1820s Edinburgh and the cadaver trade that shocked the city.

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