Bentham celebrates the big 250

JUST because you're dead there's no reason not to have a birthday party, writes Kate Watson-Smythe. Jeremy Bentham, the utilitarian philosopher and founder of University College London, will be 250 years old today and the college is throwing a party.

Bentham, who gave orders that upon his death his body should be stuffed, has sat in a closet in the university library for the past 148 years.

Dressed in his Sunday best and wearing his favourite straw hat, Bentham (pictured right) instructed that his body should be made to sit on a chair taking the pose of someone deep in thought. The body was dissected and the skeleton reconstructedwith a wax head replacing the mummified original.

The party will have a live satellite link with American academics gathered in Texas for a two-day seminar on his work, after which Bentham will be presented with a bottle from the college wine collection, named in his honour, and a cake with 250 candles.

Picture by Tony Buckingham