Smallpox Through Time


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9.Mad Cows & Ox-faced Boys

The backlash begins: superstition and science combine to attack Jenner's vaccine. (3.25 mins)

10.Public Health, Public Protest
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1840-1890 next video 10/13next

iconSecondary Resources

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1. The vaccine controversy
Over the past thirty years, historians have debated... Read more
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2. Resistance to vaccination
From the start, vaccination had its critics... Read more
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3. The persistence of smallpox
Because of widespread resistance to vaccination... Read more
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4. Vaccination vs 'variolation'
Inoculation against smallpox ('variolation') was... Read more

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iconLocation details


John Birch, who wrote a fierce attack on vaccination, was a surgeon in St Thomas' Hospital London, so we filmed the module in the Old Operating Theatre, which once annexed the wards of St Thomas', and is now open to the public.


It's accessed through a twisting staircase in the gateway to St Thomas' Church, and it's a real gem: an early 19th century operating theatre, with raised viewing stands encircling the table where the bloody and brutal procedures (without anaesthetic!) would have taken place.

iconOur Sponsor: The Wellcome Trust

Free resource

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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