Leicester was the site of particularly vehement resistance to the state mandated smallpox vaccination in 1853 (Wohl 133). The people of Leicester had already developed the "Leicester Method" of managing small pox, which involved disinfecting houses, burning infected clothing and bedding, and quarantining anyone who had been exposed to infected persons. Presumably, they didn't feel that they needed vaccination in addition to the measures they were already taking. No doubt, they also resented invasive government action and were suspicious of the vaccination technology--Jenner's lymph--which involved injecting healthy people with cowpox. In 1869, they formed the Leicester Anti-Vaccination League, and by the end of the 19th century, Leicester accounted for a quarter of the requests for conscientious objector certificates--28,524 requests.
Wohl, Anthony. Endangered Lives: Public Health in Victorian Britain. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983. Print.
Frances Thielman, “Leicester,” Appalachian State University, accessed December 3, 2023, https://omeka-dev.library.appstate.edu/items/show/7.
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