The History of Germ Warfare at Dr Jenner’s House & Garden

Dr Robert Spencer

Dr Robert Spencer - Credit: Archant

Dr Robert Spencer, decontamination scientist and expert on countering biological threats, is to provide the latest in Dr Jenner’s House & Garden series of Old Cyder House Talks on Tuesday, February 11 2014.

Biological agents (microbes & toxins) are alleged to have been used since time immemorial, but finding incontrovertible evidence for such events is difficult.

Dr Spencer’s talk will trace the alleged and actual use of such weapons in eighteenth century North America, through World Wars I & II; the Cold War; and up to modern times.

The lecture will examine their use - actual and potential - by criminal and terrorist groups. It will also attempt to answer the question ‘Are biological weapons actually Weapons of Mass Distraction, rather than Weapons of Mass Destruction?’

Simon Hobson, Visitor Experience Manager at Dr Jenner’s House, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Dr Robert Spencer to the museum. His topic is one that strikes fear into all of us – the prospect of being attacked by a virus like smallpox used as a biological weapon of war is something that terrifies and appalls in equal measure. Dr Spencer’s talk will be a fascinating insight into this most hideous of threats and how they are countered.

“Our Old Cyder House Talks series has been enormously successful over autumn and winter season with three further talks on a wide range of different topics scheduled between now and March. Our new season opening in April 2014 will see more than twenty new talks presented over the next twelve months.”

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The talk will be given on Tuesday February 11 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £7.50 which includes a drinks reception from 7:00pm. Seats may be booked in advance by contacting the museum on: 01453 810631 or email

More information can be found on the museum website: