Edward Jenner Museum
When it's your job to discover and support research into new vaccines, there's no better way to introduce your work to your family and friends than through a trip "back in time" to where it all began. So when it came time for the Old Road Campus Research Building NDM Units to plan their summer school-holiday outing, the historical home of Edward Jenner - the father of vaccination - was an obvious choice.
The Edward Jenner Museum, now known as "Dr Jenner's House and Garden, the Birthplace of Vaccination", was opened to the public in 1985, after many years as the local vicarage. Set among the rolling hills of Gloucestershire The Chantry was Edward Jenner’s home from 1785 until his death in 1823. It was here that Edward Jenner first took a sample of cowpox from a local milkmaid and inoculated his gardener's son, James Phipps, with the pus - vaccinating him against smallpox. The museum houses an impressive exhibition of not only Jenner’s own artefacts - from his original surgical instruments, to the books that once laid upon his desk - it is also a shrine to the history and hurdles of vaccination, and the basis of it all: immunology.
Senthil Chinnakannan, a Postdoctoral Scientist from The Jenner Institute, really enjoyed the historical aspects of the day. After a scenic bus ride through the Cotswolds, the group of 40 ORCRB staff and their families and friends spent the day touring Jenner's home, playing croquet on his lawn and picnicking in his sunny gardens. Following lunch, the group was also treated to a tour of Berkeley Castle, which backs on to Dr Jenner's garden. The impressive castle, which dates back to the 11th Century, is still inhabited by descendants of its original owner Robert Fitzharding, and houses everything from suits of armour to Queen Elizabeth's gilded quilt.
"Today was really interesting, the best part was visiting the home of Edward Jenner, and learning the history behind what we now know as vaccination, it was really exciting to see where it all started."
Branch Administrator of the Ludwig Institute, Mark McDermott, bought along his wife Victoria and their two daughters, Isabelle and Olivia, who learnt a few "tricks of the trad" from the castle's court jester.
"The ORCRB visit to the Jenner Institute and Berkeley Castle was a really fun experience. It was a pleasure to introduce my wife and children to my colleagues and to also meet their families, who I had heard so much about," he said. "My little girls had a great time and are keen to again meet up with their new 'friends'!"