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Waves of smallpox devastated Shetland in the 18th century, killing up to one person in six. But the Shetland weaver John Williamson developed his own method of inoculation, using tiny amounts of living smallpox material whose virulence had been lessened by drying in peat smoke and burying in camphor. To apply it he made his own instruments – and saved thousands of lives.

Shetland Archivist Brian Smith tells the story of a remarkable innovator.

You can watch this free event from here, through the YouTube link below, or if you’d like to join questions and discussion, you can also go to the Science Festival’s YouTube channel

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