Edward Jenner Statue in Kensington Gardens

A big bronze statue of Edward Jenner can be seen in Kensington Gardens, London, near the fountains of the Italian Gardens. The monument was sculpted in 1858 by William Calder Marshall, as can be read in an inscription on the basament. A cow head is also a meaningful decoration. A bronze tablet, placed in 1996 (the bicentennial of Jenner's discovery) at the foot of the statue, remembers - among many other things - that the monument "was inaugurated by Prince Albert, the Prince Consort and the first to be erected in Kensington Gardens in 1862. The cost was met by international subscription".

"Initially a site in prestigious Trafalgar Square was secured [to the statue], with permission from Queen Victoria. There was some initial opposition to this, but many were very supportive including this impassioned plea: ‘we say emphatically that no statue that is or can be placed [in] Trafalgar Square could for one minute compare with that of the illustrious discoverer of vaccination’. In 1858, her consort Prince Albert, a keen advocate of vaccination, presided over an inaugural occasion in the nearby Royal College of Physicians. Sadly, Jenner did not stay there long as many thought it inappropriate to have a non-military figure in a location which celebrated Britain’s military success. Saving countless lives worldwide did
not compare well with the lives of military heroes. The Times supported his removal and it was demanded in Parliament. His last hope and main supporter, Prince Albert, died in 1861. A year later, [Jenner] was banished from Trafalgar Square and removed to Kensington Gardens, the first to be placed there"1.

  • Photos by Luca Borghi ti.supmacinu|ihgrob.l#| (July 2011)


- Neil Snowise, “London’s statues of medical history: four memorable physicians”, Commentary (RCP), June 2019, p. 24

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