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Collection of Photographs relating to Rex v. Ruxton 1935

Identifier: Coll-704

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of circa 43 black and white photographs, many of them duplicated, of severed limbs and bones, bodies in decomposition, skull and cranial features, foot casts, shoes and other personal effects. There are tracing paper sketches of skull dimensions, feet, and bone cross-sections.


  • Creation: 1935-1936

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Please contact repository in advance.

Biographical / Historical

In 1935, Dr. Buck Ruxton of Dalton Square in Lancaster, England, murdered his wife Isabella and their house-maid Mary Jane Rogerson, cut up their bodies and deposited them in the River Nith, south-west Scotland. When the bodies were found at the 'Devil's Beeftub', near Moffat, they were in an advanced state of decomposition. The great John Glaister Jnr. (1892-1971) Professor of Forensic Medicine at Glasgow University and James Couper Brash (1886-1958) Professor of Anatomy at Edinburgh University were responsible for developing advanced identification techniques using x-rays, bone reconstruction and photographs to prove the victims' identities. The two Professors gave the leading evidence for the prosecution and ultimately Dr. Ruxton was hanged for the crimes at Manchester on 12 May 1936. A petition asking for clemency for him was signed by 10,000 people. The case still stands as a milestone in Forensic Medicine.


1 envelope : containing circa 43 photographs and miscellaneous tracing paper sketches

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material acquired in 1991. Accession no. E91.13.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Collection of Photographs relating to Rex v. Ruxton 1935
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379