Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Petition to Return Statue to Trafalgar Square Gains Momentum

A campaign to return a statue of Edward Jenner to Trafalgar Square has been re-launched in his 260th Anniversary year. The Statue used to stand on a fifth plinth in Trafalgar Square but was moved to Kensington Gardens in 1862. Next year sees worldwide celebration of the 30th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox: Edward Jenner discovered the vaccine against smallpox and was the Father of Immunology. It is therefore highly appropriate that this “Great Britain”, should be honoured in 2010 and his statue restored to its original position.

The Gloucestershire country doctor received worldwide recognition after his smallpox discovery on May 14, 1796, receiving various international honours and awards including a letter from United States President Thomas Jefferson.
In his home country it was not until after his death that a statue, with permission from Queen Victoria and support of Prince Albert, the Prince Consort and a keen supporter of vaccination, was erected in Trafalgar Square.

The statue, paid for by world subscription, was unveiled in May 1858 on the anniversary of Jenner’s birthday but sadly in 1862 the statue was removed and taken to Kensington Gardens apparently a non-military statue in Trafalgar Square was inappropriate.

However, with the 30th anniversary of the World Health Organisation announcing world eradication of smallpox, The Edward Jenner Museum wants to honour the doctor’s contribution to saving millions of lives by relocating his statue to its original site.

Sarah Parker, Director of The Edward Jenner Museum in Berkeley, said: We’ve started a petition on the Number 10 Downing Street site and support is growing. It's such a shame that people in the UK don't seem to remember who Jenner was and his significant part in the eradication of smallpox from the world. Sadly we have forgotten what a truly horrible and disfiguring disease it was, killing one in three children.

He gave the world vaccination and was at the forefront of other medical breakthroughs. His statue quite rightly used to be in Trafalgar Square; we need to get Jenner back there and back into the public’s awareness.

There is much discussion at the moment concerning the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square; it would be an ideal setting for Jenner’s statue.

To sign the online petition on the No 10 Downing Street site to return Jenner’s statue to Trafalgar Square go to


or visit the museum’s website


and follow the link from there.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Edward Jenner & the Missing (Fifth) Plinth

The national spotlight is currently shining brightly on an empty plinth in Trafalgar Square. Built in 1841 the ‘Fourth plinth’ was intended for an equestrian statue but was recently the subject of a hotly contested competition by artists who desired their own brand of art fill the plinth.

Famous figures in the world of art such as Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, and Tracey Emin battled to have a spot to showcase their art in central London’s most famous of squares.

Today, a moment of fame on the world’s most famous plinth is within reach to anyone who has the inclination to apply.

Of course, Trafalgar Square’s most celebrated monument is Nelson’s Column, designed in 1843 by William Railton and erected in 1845.

But did you know that a ‘Fifth plinth’ once existed in Trafalgar Square?

On this plinth sat a statue of Dr Edward Jenner (1749-1823), the father of Immunology and the pioneer of vaccination. His work on the development of the smallpox vaccine has saved millions of lives and led to the development of vaccines that have had a significant and lasting impact on world health.

Smallpox – the ‘speckled monster’ - was greatly feared and accounted for millions of deaths around the world. In London alone, 10% of all deaths in the eighteenth century were as a result of Smallpox. Smallpox was disfiguring and horrific. It infected old and young, rich and poor. Those sufferers who survived were often blind and disfigured by spotty scars. Famous Smallpox sufferers included Queen Elizabeth I, Mozart and Queen Mary II (wife of William III). The latter was not to survive.

On 14 May 1796 Edward Jenner finally made a breakthrough with a cure for Smallpox at his country home, The Chantry, in Berkeley, Gloucestershire (now The Edward Jenner Museum). Lymph from a cowpox pustule of dairymaid Sarah Nelmes, caught from a Gloucester cow Blossom, was vaccinated by Jenner into James Phipps aged 8. Later when the boy was inoculated with smallpox, the feared symptoms failed to appear. Jenner called it ‘vaccination’ from the Latin vacca for cow.

This process marked the beginning of a worldwide eradication of a devastating disease. In the late eighteenth century, Jenner predicted: The annihilation of smallpox – the most dreadful scourge of the human species – will be the final result of this practice. The World Health Organization finally declared the world rid of the disease in 1979 following an international eradication programme. The WHO declared Smallpox one of the most devastating diseases known to humanity.

So far, it is the only disease to ever be eradicated from the world.

International Recognition

Jenner’s research was duly acknowledged internationally. Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States was a keen supporter of vaccination. In a letter to Jenner in 1806 he wrote: Yours is the comfortable reflection that mankind can never forget that you have lived. Future nations will know by history only that the loathsome small-pox has existed and by you has been extirpated.
Showered with a variety of international honours, gifts and medals, Jenner was also acknowledged with many statues. The first was erected in 1825 in Gloucester Cathedral, a few miles from his home town of Berkeley inscribed simply ‘Jenner’. Other commissions followed and statues around the world in major cities can be found in Italy, France, and Tokyo - the latter stands in the gardens of the National Museum.

Following permission from Queen Victoria, a statue to Jenner was erected in Trafalgar Square in recognition of his enormous contribution to the welfare of mankind. Top of the list of donors for the statue was America, followed by Russia.

Britain was last.

Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, a keen supporter of vaccination and himself the leading British contributor to the memorial fund, presided over the inaugural occasion on the anniversary of Jenner’s birth in May 1858. According to reports of the occasion anyone who was anyone was there and all agreed it was an excellent likeness to Jenner.

Removal of Statue

However, not long afterwards the statue was removed. A non-military character sitting reflectively but not astride a horse, was thought inappropriate in Trafalgar Square. The Times supported its relocation and Parliament similarly demanded it be removed. The medical profession led by The Lancet and the British Medical Journal were furious and fought vigorously to preserve the statue. Punch naturally joined in the bitter debate getting straight to the point:

England’s ingratitude still blots
The escutcheon of the brave and free;
I saved you many million spots
And now you grudge one spot for me

The Prince Consort, Jenner’s main supporter died in December 1861 and by 1862 Jenner’s statue had been moved to Kensington Gardens, the first to be placed there. It currently still stands in the Italian Gardens. Many however commented that it was entirely out of place.

St George’s Hospital originally sited at Hyde Park Corner, put in a bid for the statue in 1896 on the centennial anniversary of Jenner’s great discoveries. Jenner had been a student there and the illustrious surgeon, John Hunter, Jenner’s mentor and friend, had been a surgeon at the hospital. It is just as well the statue wasn’t moved again as this site is now a hotel.

Jenner continues to sit resplendent in his Kensington surroundings but it is perhaps ironic that they are ‘Italian’ gardens. Shunned by the British establishment, he was forcibly removed from his rightful place in the heart of London’s Trafalgar Square. One can speculate whether these new artworks are worthy of such a place. What would the puritanical Victorian press for instance make of today’s debate?

New Demand to re-instate Jenner Statue

2009 marks 260 years since Jenner’s birth and the 30th anniversary of the eradication of Smallpox. Ironically, it is a disease that has all but been forgotten by the world following Dr Jenner’s pioneering research.

Jenner has been cast into the shade for long enough. It is time for one of the world’s forgotten heroes to have his statue reinstated in Trafalgar Square in its rightful place. This would be a fitting tribute to Jenner and his victory in mankind’s ‘war’ on disease.

Join our campaign to get Dr Jenner’s statue reinstated.

Sign up now:


Sarah Parker
The Edward Jenner Museum, Berkeley, Gloucestershire
http://www.jennermuseum.com/ info@edwardjenner.co.uk

Sources: John Empson BSc BLitt – Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, September 1996

Monday, 20 July 2009

Waterloo Wheat

Waterloo Wheat
Originally uploaded by TMR Davies

Wheat on the field of Waterloo. Crops have traditionally grown well on old battlefields.

Scrap to Steam Fundraising Event

Copper Phoenix is assisting in the promotion of and fundraising for:

Scrap to Steam fund-raising event
Y Maes, Caernarfon
August 3rd to 29th 2009

The NG15 restoration team are holding a month long fund-raising event at Y Maes (Castle Square), Caernarfon from the 3rd to the 29th August 2009. The event is being run by Cymdeithas Rheilffordd Eryri, the Welsh Highland Railway's supporting society and the organisation behind the restoration, however it is also being supported by D J Williams & Son, Brunswick Ironworks Limited, Caernarfon.

Scrap to Steam will be opened by the Town Mayor ,Councillor Hywel Roberts on August 3rd 2009, when he will make the first donation of this event towards the restoration of the Loco.

The event's aims are twofold with the primary exercise to raise funds for the restoration of the Loco. However as the event is being staged in Caernarfon it's also aimed at raising awareness of the Locomotive amongst the local population. We hope that this will inspire a few more people to take an active interest in working on the restoration. We are already seeing a number of local volunteers new to the railway attending the working parties and so we hope that the upward trend continues following Scrap to Steam.

The event will be manned from various sources including the society and those restoring the loco, however more help will be always be very welcome. If you can help during any of the period, even if it's only for one day, please contact Peter Randall (details on the Contacts page).

We are very thankful of Brunswick's involvement and help with this event. Brunswick's are already well known to the Welsh Highland Railway through their work during the re-building of the railway itself. They were the main contractor for all the steel based structures such as water towers and bridges. They are also already involved with the restoration of №134 as they are currently overhauling the rear stretcher from the frames.

Central to the event will be sister NG15 №133. This Loco is currently in store at Dinas station and will be moved to Caernarfon for the duration of the event. The Loco will be prepared for it's move during the working party weekend on the 18th & 19th July 2009. For ease and logistical reasons it is planned to detach the tender and only take the Loco unit. Again if anyone can help please contact Andie Shaw on this occasion (details on the Contacts page).

Please make the effort to attend Scrap to Steam and we look forward to meeting you.

Monday, 6 July 2009

From an Edward Jenner Museum Newsletter of 2008

This has proved strangely prophetic as the Attic rooms are now open to the public in 2009.

From the Archives

We asked Tim Davies, Marketing Manager at Berkeley Castle to tell us about his favourite item in the Museum and archive.... but Tim went a little higher than that:

One of the most interesting experiences I have had at the Edward Jenner Museum was a quick tour of the Attic. As I originally trained as a building surveyor I have always been fascinated with old and historic buildings and especially those that have evolved over time, naturally working at Berkeley Castle is therefore very pleasing!

But back at the museum, a “secret” door from the first floor landing takes you to a bare board staircase and after walking up and around following the roof structure you emerge onto a landing with rooms radiating around you. These would have been for maids/staff in years gone by and, like all accommodation for these people, it is fairly Spartan – you don’t waste luxury on the hired helps. But look beyond the apparent emptiness and bare features and you can see the remains of ancient wallpaper, paint and old repairs within the roof structure. My favourite part of all and relating to the evolution of the building was being able to look through an access hatch at the original roof of the house that pre-dated the present building. You understand then what a big change in size and status the current building achieved.

Very simple, very interesting and slightly spooky, it would be great if the roof space could be utilised or shown to more people, but perhaps then it would lose its charm and air of mystery. That’s my favourite part of the Museum, and I apologise if it is not specifically Jenner related!

Edward Jenner Museum Ghost Image

Edward Jenner Museum Ghost Image
Originally uploaded by TMR Davies

This was the picture that started the massive media hype for The Edward Jenner Musem. Copper Phoenix has now been asked to develop ghost tourism at the Museum, as a much needed extra income stream. This will be boosted by the recent filming by Living TV's "Most Haunted" at the Museum.

The ghost is seen in the doorway. Who is the ghost? We'll let you know if we find out from any of the groups, who intend to visit the haunted attic!

Getting the Web Bit Right

Websites are so important that it is amazing that so many tourism organisations still get it wrong.

Getting started

Develop your own website including your information in other famous tourism websites.

Do a cost benefit analysis and don’t forget to include the cost of keeping your website up-to-date.

Work with an experienced or professional website developer, it pays to pay for this.

Ensure they deliver an easy to navigate website that is best value for your needs and budget.

Online consumers are reluctant to read large amounts of text but while images can be very effective, too many images will slow down the time it takes for the consumer to see the page on the screen.

Ensure your site is accessible to all types of users – some people have slow computers, slow Internet access, and small monitors or could be visually impaired.

Highlight your contact details and maintain pricing and make sure you reply to any enquiries within 24 hours!

Site Promotion

A majority of website traffic is delivered via search engines. Your site should be built by a reputable developer who can also make it search-engine friendly.

Ensure all literature, emails etc refers to your website address.

Consider expanding the reach of your product online through community, government, and commercial website partners.

You should include your information on other websites such as Local Tourism Associations, regional tourism organisations, etc.

You could consider marketing through advertising on non-travel-specific websites and commercial travel sites. Common social sites like Face Book and Twitter also provide a platform where one can easily reach a big audience with the products on offer.

Post travel happenings and stories to the social media sites. The post will go to all fans and be seen by those who visit your site. Ensure you drop a comment with a link to your website.

Maintain your website

Ensure that technically your site is ‘available’ to Internet users all or close to all of the time.

Your content must be accurate, current, relevant and compelling – this will be a site visitor's initial experience of your busines, your professionalism and your product.

Online bookings and payments if managed effectively can help your business, if they dont work it will reflect badly on you.

Develop arrangements to ensure bookings and payments made online are secure. Decide which payment options will be accepted and illustrate it fully on the website booking form.

Simple steps but so, so importantto getting the right image and utilisation!

For help with your website see www.copperphoenix.co.uk

Friday, 3 July 2009

The Lion, Waterloo

The Lion, Waterloo
Originally uploaded by TMR Davies

For some reason, inverting the image of this picture has made the Lion's expression far more superior.

Don't know why!

Christ Church and Downend Cricket Ground: Britannia Crash

Christ Church and Downend Cricket Ground: Brittania Crash
Originally uploaded by TMR Davies

I used to think nothing ever important happened where lived, until I heard the story of the Britannia aircraft crash in 1957, the actual crash site is in woods just a few minutes walk from my home. The jet clipped the church pictured above before crashing a few hundred yards away, amazingly not on any houses. It could have been so different. It made world headlines and the event was commemorated by a plinth and small service in 2007.

The picture was taken on a sunny evening with cricket being played. So quiet and peaceful. How many were aware of what had happened here over 50 years ago? Until the crash Downend was best known for being the birthplace of Victorian cricketer W G Grace, who played on this small cricket ground.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Co-Op and Edward Jenner Museum in an English Country Garden

On 30th June 2009, 14 volunteer gardeners are visiting Berkeley for the day to give the Edward Jenner Museum a tidy-up/make-over in Jenner’s former garden. The Museum run by a charitable trust is the Co-Op’s chosen recipient for assistance this year out of the whole Mid-counties region, which has delighted staff at the famous Gloucestershire attraction.

As part of the Co-op ethos staff have to do ‘community hours’ which must go towards a worthwhile project. Museum Director Sarah Parker said: We are very grateful to the Co-op team for their most generous offer to help us in our efforts to improve and renovate our garden. We hope eventually to re-plant Jenner’s garden to as it was in the 18/19th Century. We are working with garden designer, Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall on the project but need support, research and as a charity, above all funds.

The Museum currently operates with one part-time Gardener/Maintenance Manager who apart from looking after nearly one acre of garden, also looks after Edward Jenner’s 200 year old vine, planted from cuttings taken from the world’s oldest vine at Hampton Court Palace in 1801. The delicious dessert grapes (Black Hamburg) will be on sale at the museum from August and cuttings are also available.

The assistance the Co-Op volunteers will provide is an immense boost to the Museum’s “outdoor look”. After the Co-Op team has left long-term volunteers in the garden are needed for ongoing assistance and the Museum is looking for an Apprentice Vine-Keeper, to learn the ancient craft of vine-keeping.

Jenner himself apparently experimented with blood as fertilizer and was a keen gardener, along with his world famous medical research activities.

This year celebrates the 260th anniversary of Edward Jenner’s birth and his garden has one noticeable scar on the lawn. The trench left by the University of Bristol’s archeological dig is being left open for visitors to see Saxon Berkeley. Sarah Parker said We doubt that Jenner would have been aware of how much history was under his lawn!


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