Looking through the Jeremy Bentham archives I came across an interesting letter relating to a request for help from the Devonshire Inn Chess Club, Oakhampton, Devon. I have reproduced the letter in full below.
Originally addressed to the President of the Royal College of General Practitioners.
2 June, 1993.
I write to you on a rather delicate matter, and seek your professional advice as a medical man.
I have for many years been an admirer of the nineteenth century philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, who as I am sure you know disapproved of cremation or burial, and suggested instead that the bodies of deceased loved ones should be preserved as an “auto-icon” in a lifelike state and mounted in a public place. He donated his own body to the University College, London, where he now sits in a glass case in the South Cloisters. You can visit him most days between 10.00am and 4.00 pm.
Jeremy Bentham, inspiration for a good letter from Devon.
This brings me to the point of my enquiry. The fact is, our secretary Colonel Polhill is no longer in the first flush of youth. An active member of the M.C.C. for over 20 years, he can still be observed daily walking his dog, and calling in to the Devonshire Inn for a half. He is dearly loved by all, but we are beginning to see certain signs. Quite likely the old soak will outlive the rest of us, but we feel that we need to make some provision.