181-year-old corpse of Jeremy Bentham attends UCL board meeting

Add spice (or at least embalming fluid) to your Board meeting. Invite Jeremy Bentham!


Many board meetings are so tedious that members often end up looking like waxwork dummies.

But at this gathering, the well-dressed gentleman in the corner can be forgiven for looking a little out of it – Jeremy Bentham died 181 years ago.

The ‘spiritual founder’ of University College London can usually be found in a cabinet in a university corridor.

But he was moved earlier this week to mark the last council meeting attended by retiring provost Sir Malcolm Grant.

Bentham, a philosopher regarded as the founder of utilitarianism, requested that his skeleton should be preserved and dressed in his own clothes.

One of the many myths surrounding him is that he attends every UCL council meeting and is always recorded as ‘present but not voting’.

UCL curator Nick Booth said: ‘It’s a brilliant story. It has everything: a dead body, academic eccentricity, reanimation of a corpse, ancient tradition. What’s…

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