Edward Jenner’s lost microscope

The whereabouts of a microscope believed to have been given to Edward Jenner by James Parkinson is being sought by staff at Dr Jenner’s House, Museum and Garden in Berkeley following a talk given by Dr Cherry Lewis.

Dissecting microscope

© Christopher Gardner-Thorpe

Georgian scientist Parkinson’s name has gone down in history. In 1817 he was the first person to describe what is now known as Parkinson’s disease. However Parkinson was also a surgeon, geologist, palaeontologist and political activist. As a medic, he was a keen supporter of the new practice of vaccination and worked with Edward Jenner to introduce it to London.

Microscope inscription

© Christopher Gardner-Thorpe

Whilst carrying out research for her book The Enlightened Mr Parkinson, Dr Lewis came across a photograph taken in the 1980s by neurologist Dr Christopher Gardner-Thorpe depicting a dissecting microscope which had been shown to him by a Gloucestershire doctor. The story attached to this particular microscope was that it had once belonged to Jenner and had been a gift from Parkinson.

The name of the doctor has been lost to history, but staff at the museum hope the microscope is still in the county and are already following up on some suggestions given after Dr Lewis’s talk at the museum in April.

Owen Gower, Museum Manager said:

Jenner, Parkinson and their contemporaries made so many exciting discoveries during this period and these continue to benefit us today. Jenner’s microscope is a tangible representation of both the friendship between these two scientists and of their remarkable achievements. We would love to know if it’s still in the county.

Staff at the museum would be delighted to talk to anyone with information about the microscope and can be contacted on 01453 810631 or info@edwardjenner.co.uk.