Jeremy Bentham was a British Philosopher and Social Reformer. Described as the “Spiritual founder” of University College London. When he died in 1832 in London, he left instructions for his body to be dissected for medical purposes and then preserved as an ‘auto icon’.
After dissection, the skeleton and head were preserved in a wooden case, the skeleton was padded with hay and dressed in Bentham’s clothes. There is evidence his preserved head was once attached, as he intended, but this was eventually replaced by a wax head fitted with some of Bentham’s hair. The Auto Icon is on display in University College London, the head rested between his feet for some years but is no longer on public display.
It is said that on the 100th and 150th anniversaries of the college, the body of Jeremy Bentham was brought to college council meetings, he was also present at a council meeting in July 2013 to mark the retirement of Sir Malcolm Grant.