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Correspondence relating to the Scottish Anti-Vaccination League

Identifier: Coll-723

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of correspondence relating to the Scottish Anti-Vaccination League, Kirkcaldy, 1896-1897.


  • Creation: 1896-1897

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Biographical / Historical

Throughout the 19th century there had been serious outbreaks of highly infectious smallpox in the UK which was most severe among children. The disease was most commonly found in densely populated districts. Compulsory Vaccination was introduced in Scotland from 1 January 1864, whereas in England, the first Vaccination Act of 1840 made vaccination available but it was provided on a request basis only. In 1854 it was made compulsory, although it was not properly enforced until the 1874 Vaccination Act which made registration of births compulsory within 6 weeks, something which occurred in Scotland from 1855.

In 1896, parents in England and Wales were permitted to register their conscientious objection to compulsory smallpox vaccination by making a statutory declaration and registering this with the local registrar of births marriages and deaths. The Scottish Anti-Vaccination League was established to campaign for this right, which was granted in Scotland when the Vaccination Act (Scotland) came into force from 28 August 1907.


1 bundle of circa 150 letters.

Physical Location


Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material purchased from Broughton Books, Edinburgh, November 1989, Accession no. E89.75.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Materials

The UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes this material related to the Anti-Vaccination League: records, 1873-1897, Keighley Public Library, Ref. BK33

Processing Information

Top-level descirption created by Graeme Eddie. Updated by Aline Brodin in September 2020.

Correspondence relating to the Scottish Anti-Vaccination League
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379