The notorious murderers who sold their 17 victims to Dr Knox in Edinburgh's anatomy school worked as navvies building the canal. William Burke worked on the canal near Maddison in Falkirk, where he met his wife Helen McDougal. He then got work maintaining the canal in Edinburgh.
William Hare was also an Irish immigrant navvie on the canal in Edinburgh where he became employed as a docker. Hare escaped execution by giving evidence against Burke who was hanged in Edinburgh in 1829.