Gloucestershire

Dr Jenner museum saved from closure after £20k raised

Dr Jenner's museum in Berkeley, Gloucestershire Image copyright The Jenner Trust
Image caption Dr Edward Jenner lived in the house in Berkeley between 1785 and 1823

A museum in the former home of the smallpox vaccination pioneer Dr Edward Jenner has been saved from closure.

Last September the museum in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, announced it was under threat due to falling visitor numbers and emergency maintenance bills.

A campaign to raise £20,000 by March 2019 was launched in mid-October and it has hit its target.

Owen Gower, from the museum, said: "It was desperate but the money raised will keep us going for another year."

Known as the father of immunology, Dr Edward Jenner lived in the house in Berkeley between 1785 and 1823.

In 1796, he famously injected eight-year-old James Phipps with cowpox from a cow called Blossom, believing it would protect the boy from catching the deadly smallpox virus

The discovery saved billions of lives and the disease was successfully eradicated.

Image copyright Dr Jenner Trust
Image caption In 1796 Dr Jenner famously injected eight-year-old James Phipps with cowpox from a cow called Blossom
Image copyright The Jenner Trust
Image caption The horn, claimed to be from Blossom the cow, is kept at the museum

Mr Owen said the museum, which has been open for 20 years, has been "struggling to make a profit".

"We've been facing declining visitor numbers and been hit with emergency maintenance bills," he said.

"It was really desperate and we were facing closure."

However, since October the museum has managed to raise more than £20,000 from donations from the UK, America, Canada and across Europe.

"It's a place that people from all over the world really hold dear and see as one of the most important places in the history of medical history and science," he said.

"The money we have raised buys us another year and will keep us going and it's given us a buffer to start to plan."

The museum is due to open on 16 February for five days before reopening for the season on 31 March.

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