Sick City Project

'Nobody is healthy in London, nobody can be'

Anatomy of the City 2 – Hyde Park Place, W2

A portrait of Laurence Sterne, c. 1789. Wellcome Library, London.

A posthumous portrait of Laurence Sterne, c. 1789. Wellcome Library, London.

Hyde Park Place is now a shabbily elegant backwater, close to the bustle of the Bayswater Road. In the eighteenth century a large cemetery occupied this land, and in 1768 Laurence Sterne was buried here in a pauper’s grave. But the author of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy – surely the most mischievous book of the English Enlightenment – did not rest in peace for long. His corpse was grubbed up by bodysnatchers, and sold to an anatomist. By an astonishing coincidence this anatomist had been a friend of Sterne’s, and recognised the cadaver as he prepared to dissect it. Sterne was reburied, but later exhumed and laid to rest for the last time near Shandy Hall in Yorkshire.

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This entry was posted on May 29, 2012 by and tagged , , .
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