Dr Edward Jenner: 1749 - 1823
English physician, scientist and Freemason Dr Edward Jenner once said of his revolutionary smallpox vaccine: "I shall endeavour still further to prosecute this inquiry, an inquiry I trust not merely speculative, but of sufficient moment to inspire the pleasing hope of its becoming essentially beneficial to mankind."
Edward Jenner was born in Berkeley, Gloucestershire on 17 May 1749, the son of the local vicar. At the age of 14, he was apprenticed to a local surgeon and then trained in London.
In 1796, Jenner carried out his now famous experiment on a boy named James Phipps. It was during this experiment that Jenner was able to prove that use of cowpox a mild illness found largely in milkmaids, made Phipps immune to smallpox, one of the great killers of the age. Jenner developed these findings further over the next few years and the results were published in 1798. In it, Jenner coined the word vaccine, derived from the Latin word vacca, meaning cow.
Jenner is often referred to as the father of immunology, and his pioneering work undoubtedly saved many lives.
Jenner was an active Freemason throughout his life, and served as Worshipful Master of the Royal Lodge of Faith and Friendship, No. 270 which meets in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Gloucestershire.