Sunday 11 September 2011

Where were you this weekend?

Heritage Open Days take place once a year across the European Union, normally it is the second weekend in September. For the uninitiated, it is a time when buildings, monuments, parkland, and gardens, normally closed to the public, open their doors with free access. Some specialised museums that charge an entry fee suspend any payment. 
We learnt that Lypiatt Park, with its Strawberry Hill Gothic style mansion, and which was the home of the late Sculptor, Lynn Chadwick, was to be open for one day by kind permission of his son. As the parkland is full of his sculpture we were keen to see it.  However, there was a restriction on numbers able to attend, and a ballot was held last week, but we were unlucky. Hopefully, we will have another chance next year.
Our alternative choice, was to visit the home of the pioneer of smallpox vaccination, and the father of immunology, an immense medical breakthrough which has saved countless lives. By 1980 vaccination had wiped out this devastating and disfiguring disease from the world.
Edward Jenner by James Northcote  (1749 - 1823)
image via Wikipedia
  Dr. Jenner's House - Birthplace of Vaccination
courtesy Wikipedia
Jenner's house sits under the shadow of the imposing Berkeley Castle, built in Norman times, and close to the River Severn.
Smallpox accounted for one third of child deaths and an average of one in eleven of all deaths.
This image clearly shows what a dreadful scourge it was, and how, if the victim survived, they would be scarred forever.
Jenner's study showing the cow horn from Blossom.  This cow infected a milkmaid with Cowpox through contact with it's udder.  He extracted liquid from the Cowpox pustule on the milkmaid's arm in order to carry out his first vaccination on an 8 year old local boy.
In this little garden hut which Jenner called his Temple to Vaccinia he vaccinated, on certain days, the poor of the district free of charge. Quite often the queues stretched into the town.


  1. thank you so much for this post. i feel ashamed i did not know about that. absolutely interesting and informative : )

  2. Dear Demie - Thank you very much for your comment. That is the good thing about blogging, you learn so many new things. The whole of mankind owes a huge debt to Dr. Jenner.

  3. Smallpox was such an awful, awful disease... we are so lucky to be living in a time when it has been eradicated. Dr Jenner is truly one of the great Men of Medicine...

  4. Dear Nat - you are right, we are fortunate to be living now. Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves of just how lucky we are in comparison with our ancestors.

  5. A wonderful post and some very beautiful pictures. Great work.

  6. Thank you very much Fotokarusellen - that is a compliment from someone as accomplished as yourself.

  7. I would love to visit Strawberry Hill someday, too, but you picked a fine alternative. The Temple of Vaccinia is an intriguing little hut — an interesting mix of rustic and Gothic. I'm delighted to see structures that still have thatched rooves.

  8. Dear Mark - I must apologise, as I fear I may have misled you. I should have put Strawberry Hill STYLE in the post, as the house I was talking about is not Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill in London, which incidentally I visited in June.
    The little Temple of Vaccinia looks in such good condition because it has just been restored.
    I have now corrected the post.

  9. Enlightening indeed :-) I loved this. I've never seen smallpox and feel so utterly thankful that a cure was found.

    Next stop Strawberry Hill...

  10. The photograph of the smallpox victim is truly dreadful. I remember as a child seeing people who had been scarred by this disease. Thank goodness for minds such as Jenner's.
    Your post is just what makes blogging so interesting.

  11. It was horrific Kate - if you survived, your siblings often could not recognise you, and it could ruin your work and marriage prospects.
    Strawberry Hill?..........may be.

  12. Dear Rosemary - you are right, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Jenner, and we do learn a lot from each others blogs.

  13. Goodness that smallpox photograph has me writhing! and google image searching for more...why do i torture myself?

  14. It is a frightening image, and apparently was very painful and itchy, but aren't we fortunate that it has been eradicated?


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