The Bodies Are Ready

And they want to teach

Zed Bee
5 min readAug 23, 2021


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The students. The technicians. The bodies. Each week they meet in the clinical area on the second floor of the Stopford Centre. 5 minutes past the hour a shrill buzz rips through the air and the doors open. 45 minutes later, another shrill buzz fills the space, and the doors are closed again until the following week.

The room

When you walk into the white-walled anatomy area you’ll experience two things. The first is the strong smell of formaldehyde, the chemical used to preserve cadavers. It’ll hit you in the back of your throat before settling into your stomach. As the session goes on you’ll occasionally wonder whether the smell will remain with you when you leave. It won’t, but you can’t help thinking about it.

The second thing you’ll experience is the cold which you’ll have to get used to. Don’t expect them to turn on the heating, there are dead bodies here after all.

The anatomy technicians

They are the fierce, sullen faced custodians of the cadavers and they take their job seriously. You’ll never learn their names; they’re not interested in being friendly. They are not here to mollycoddle or to pander to sensitive students.

Their job is to take care of the dead and ensure they are treated with dignity. Each week they begrudgingly wheel out 6 of them on metal gurneys and arrange them in the different stations across the room.

They oversee each session. Their eyes suspicious and watching, just waiting for any student who will step out of line. They’ll look over clothing and send students back to the changing room: no ties, no scarves, rolled up sleeves. Don’t like it, don’t stay.

Why do they always look so angry? One theory is that they are more used to dealing with the dead than the living. Maybe they prefer it. You can see it in the way they eagerly send the students away at the sound of the second buzzer.

It’s not too hard to imagine them keeping watch overnight, standing guard over the silent.

The students

The students are divided into groups of 8–10 and huddle around to listen to the demonstrator recount facts and figures.



Zed Bee

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