Smallpox was one of London’s biggest killers, and even those who were lucky enough to recover were often badly pock-marked, with patches of hair and eyelashes missing. Smallpox could also leave skin thickened, as if by burns.Share
Yet, domestic servants who had visible smallpox scars were often preferred to those with unmarked skin, as it was proof that they wouldn’t be bringing the disease into their new household!
Early inoculation was introduced from Turkey by smallpox survivor Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, in 1720, before Edward Jenner introduced mass vaccination in 1796, using a less dangerous strain of cowpox. (Read more.)