Temple of Vaccinia – Berkeley, England - Atlas Obscura

Berkeley, England

Temple of Vaccinia

The "father of immunology" used this humble hut to offer the local people some of the world's first free vaccinations. 

Despite what it’s name may suggest, this “temple” is really a quaint thatched hut. But though it looks modest, it was put to an extremely noble use. Dr. Edward Jenner, the “father of immunology” and pioneer of the world’s first successful vaccine, hunkered down in this humble hut to vaccinate people for free.

The hut was originally built as a part of a summerhouse for Jenner by a friend. Tucked away in the far corner of the garden, it was intended to be a place for him to relax and write. But Jenner instead used this as a place to start what could be considered the world’s first free vaccination clinic. Jenner himself named it the “Temple of Vaccinia,” but some locals know it as the Jenner Hut.

Jenner’s contributions to society spread far beyond his impromptu backyard clinic. He introduced the smallpox vaccine in 1796 after noticing that milkmaids who had previously come down with cowpox seemed to be protected from smallpox. Just over 200 years after his public health breakthrough, the World Health Organization declared smallpox eradicated.

Historic England named the temple one of the country’s 100 Irreplaceable Buildings. It’s also a listed building for its special historic interest.

Know Before You Go

The Temple is in the garden of Dr. Jenner's House, a museum based in the former home of Edward Jenner. Entry to the temple is included in museum admission.