Marking the bicentenary of the death of Edward Jenner

Between Thursday 26 and Saturday 28 January 2023, there will be an exciting programme of services and events which will celebrate Jenner’s remarkable contribution to medicine, along with other scientific achievements throughout our history

Thursday 26 January 2023 will mark exactly 200 years since the death of Edward Jenner, the Gloucestershire-born physician who carried out the world’s first ever vaccination. His former home in Berkeley is now open as a museum, and a statue in his memory stands proudly in the Nave of Gloucester Cathedral. The services, events and activities in January will remember Jenner’s remarkable contribution to modern medicine, with the aim of celebrating science for all.


Together with Dr Jenner’s House and Berkeley Benefice, Gloucester Cathedral is delighted to be welcoming the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, as part of the celebrations.


On Thursday 26 January at 5.30pm, all are warmly invited to join a special Evensong in the Quire of the Cathedral. As part of this service, thanks and praise will be given for Jenner’s life, as well as for the contributions made by doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. People are asked to register their attendance at the service in advance, which can be done via the Cathedral website.


The service will be followed by a special talk, ‘Edward Jenner’s Legacy’, which will take place at 7.30pm in the Nave of the Cathedral. Here, Professor Chris Whitty will discuss Jenner’s legacy and the wider impact that vaccines have had on global health, using a range of examples from the last 200 years. This talk will be aimed at those with a particular interest in science, medicine and healthcare, but all are very welcome. It will be ticketed, and tickets are free of charge and can be booked now via the Cathedral website.


To conclude the celebrations, on Saturday 28 January, Gloucester Cathedral will be hosting its first ever ‘Science for All’ Festival which aims to make science fun and accessible for families of all ages. Between 10am-3.30pm, visitors are invited to come and see a wide range of experiments and demonstrations around the Cloister and Chapter House; this will include everything from parachuting teddy bears to learning more about how hydrogen is made. The festival will be free to attend, but people are asked to book timed-entry slots in advance. Booking will be available via the Cathedral website from early January.


Canon Rebecca Lloyd, Canon Chancellor and Director of Learning and Participation at Gloucester Cathedral, said:


“We are delighted to be marking Edward Jenner’s 200th anniversary here at Gloucester Cathedral and we are honoured to welcome Professor Chris Whitty as our guest.


Gloucester has a deep monastic heritage and the medieval monasteries were the places where modern medical and hospital care just started to take shape, alongside the intellectual enquiry that later became science.


So, we are proud once again to be a space where people of all ages can come to reflect, learn, and celebrate the scientific and medical achievements of our history and of our own time, which go such a long way to improving the lives of us all.”


Timothy Wallington, of The Jenner Trust, added:


“Edward Jenner could not have imagined what he had started when he pioneered vaccination. Along with St Mary’s Church in Berkeley, it is our privilege to mark this anniversary in the place where he lived, worked and is buried, and to welcome Professor Chris Whitty to celebrate with us.”




Notes for editors:

About Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral is a glorious sacred space in the heart of Gloucester, with a history that can be traced back to 679AD. It is the mother church of the Diocese of Gloucester and welcomes around 400,000 visitors every year. The Cathedral is open daily, with entry by donation, and hosts a packed and varied programme of services and events throughout the year.


About Dr Jenner’s House

Doctor Jenner's House was Edward Jenner's home in Berkeley from 1785 to 1823. It opened to the public as a museum in 1985 celebrating his life, his medicine, his many contributions to science - including pioneering vaccination against smallpox - and the impact of smallpox vaccine, particularly the successful WHO programme that eliminated smallpox from the world. It is a fine Queen Anne house set in gardens that include the Temple of Vaccinia (included in Historic England's 100 irreplaceable buildings) where Jenner provided his own vaccination clinic.


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