The Bishop’s rectum, in a museum

The rectum of the Bishop of Durham sits on display in London, awaiting your examination. No longer attached to the bishop, it rests alone inside a glass jar in the Hunterian Museum at The Royal College of Surgeons of England. The museum calls it by the formal name: Object RCSHC/P 192.Visitors can casually admire the object’s beauty. Scholars and poets can find unexpected delights in studying and writing up the bishop’s rectum. This apparently humble body part can boast a historic connection to John Hunter, the surgeon whose collection of medical memorabilia eventually grew to become the Hunterian Museum.

The museum officially gives a simple description of Object RCSHC/P 192

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.