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.

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