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Smallpox Through Time

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6.The Speckled Monster
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1758

The Burford epidemic of 1758 reveals the human cost of smallpox in the 18th century. (4 mins)

7.Jenner's Breakthrough
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iconSecondary Resources

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1. The Speckled Monster
By the 18th century, smallpox in Britain... Read more
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2. Treating the Speckled Monster
By the early 18th Century, a range of treatments... Read more
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3. Inoculation in 18th C. Britain
The practice was slow to catch on because... Read more
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4. Inoculation in North America
The first smallpox inoculations in North America... Read more
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5. Royal Victims
Smallpox was famously a disease of 'princes and paupers'... Read more

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I was made aware of the Burford epidemic through the work of a local historian, Joan Moody. She published an excellent pamphlet describing this forgotten local tragedy. She and her husband took us around the town and showed us where in the graveyard the victims are supposedly buried.


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Burford is an enchanting town, the gateway to the Cotswolds. It has barely changed since the 18th century, when it was a busy commercial centre. At one time 40 stagecoaches a day stopped in the town. (These days the coaches are more likely to contain tourists).

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The Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charity dedicated to achieving improvements in human and animal health.

Timelines: "Smallpox through Time" was entirely funded with through a Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Award. We are very grateful for the Trust's support in the making of this resource.

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