NS6065 : Memorial to James Jeffray

taken 9 years ago, near to Glasgow, Great Britain

Memorial to James Jeffray
Memorial to James Jeffray
The inscription commemorates "James Jeffray M.D., Professor of Anatomy in the University of Glasgow, born 1759, died 1848; Margaret Lockhart his wife, born 1774, died 1863", and some of their children.

NS6065 : Glasgow Royal Infirmary can be seen in the background, on the left.

Several books relate a quite untrue story about James Jeffray. The usual story goes roughly as follows: the body of a convicted murderer was on the dissecting table; as an experiment, electric currents were applied to his body, resulting in the apparently dead man's reviving and attempting to get up, whereupon Jeffray stabbed him with a scalpel.

The facts, though interesting, are rather different: a handloom weaver called Matthew Clydesdale seriously assaulted an elderly coal-miner, who died soon afterwards of his wounds. Clydesdale was executed for this crime on the 4th of November, 1818. James Jeffray had arranged for Andrew Ure, of the Anderson Institute (the forerunner of Strathclyde University) to perform some galvanic experiments on the body during the dissection; by applying electrical voltages at various points, Ure was able to induce involuntary movements in the lifeless body. This would have made a powerful impression on the spectators then present.

The embroidered, sensational version of this story was concocted by a newspaper editor several decades later. For further details of the factual account, and of the manner in which the distorted version later arose, see, for example, the article "The Resurrection of Matthew Clydesdale", written by William B. Black, on pages 35–38 of "History Scotland" magazine, vol. 8 no. 4 (July/Aug 2008).

For more on James Jeffray himself, see LinkExternal link (University of Glasgow).
Glasgow Necropolis

The Necropolis is 37 acres in extent, and was formally opened in 1833. Like the Père Lachaise in Paris, it was laid out as a garden cemetery. In 1966, its ownership was transferred from the Merchants House of Glasgow to what is now Glasgow City Council. See LinkExternal link for further information.

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NS6065, 625 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 8 August, 2012   (more nearby)
Saturday, 25 August, 2012
Geographical Context
Burial ground, Crematorium 
Place (from Tags)
Glasgow Necropolis 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 6043 6558 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:51.7879N 4:13.9016W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 6043 6558
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Northwest (about 315 degrees)
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