(Plan of Mitre Square and Surroundings. Scene of Murder, 1.45am, 30th September 1888 by architect Frederick William Foster, by occasion of the murder of Catherine Eddowes, Jack the Ripper’s fourth victim)

The exhibition “Forensics: anatomy of a crime” has just opened recently at the Wellcome Collection. It focus on the history, science and procedures of forensic medicine: crime scenes, famous crime reports, anatomy and necropsy, identification of victims and investigation of suspects involved in violent crimes, the morgue, the courtroom, and the fascinating evolution of forensic psychiatry. It depicts a rich material, together with artworks and the interface with fiction and public sensationalism.

Some highlights:

Alphonse Bertillon was a French police officer and biometrics who developed a innovative anthropological system in 1870s to measure and record the physical characteristics of each suspect. He also standardized the process of photographing criminals.


Dr Edmond Locard, known as the Sherlock Holmes of France. He also studied  Law and was the pioneer in setting up a criminal laboratory. The criminologist also contributed to the improvement of dactylography (the study of fingerprints).

Wellcome Collection exhibition

Handwritten autopsy index cards and an illustration of pathologist Sir Bernard Spilsbury. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.


Mexican artist Teresa Margoller transplanted the crime scene: the floor tiles on which her friend was murdered in Mexico.

Wellcome Collection. Opened from Tuesdays to Sunday 10-18h (on Thursday opened till 22h).
183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK.
Free admission. Till June 21st.

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