My watch list  

National Anti-Vaccination League

The National Anti-Vaccination League, historically, a 19th century British anti-vaccinationist advocacy organization.


Early History and Formation of the League

In 1866 Mr. Richard B. Gibbs formed the first Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League in the UK (Address: Office 1 South Place, Finsbury, London E.C.)[citation needed]. After his death in 1871, the League underwent various changes until 1876 when it was revived under the presidency of the Rev. W. Hume-Rothery. In 1880 the movement was enlarged and reorganised by the formation of "The London Society for the Abolition of Compulsory Vaccination," and an office was opened in Victoria Street, Westminster, with Mr. William Young as secretary. The "Vaccination Inquirer", established by Mr. William Tebb in 1879, was adopted as the organ of the Society. A series of fourteen "Vaccination Tracts" was begun by Young in 1877 and completed by Dr. Garth Wilkinson in 1879.

The movement grew, and as the influence of the London Society soon became national, it was decided in February 1896 to re-form the Society as "The National Anti-Vaccination League." Its objectives were defined as:

The entire repeal of the Vaccination Acts; the disestablishment and disendowment of the practice of vaccination; and the abolition of all regulations in regard to vaccination as conditions, of employment in State Departments, or of admission to Educational, or other Institutions.[citation needed]

In 1921 the following clause was added:— and vindication of the legitimate freedom of the subject in matters of medical treatment.

In June 1867, the publication "Human Nature" campaigned against "The Vaccination Humbug". It reported that many petitions had been presented to Parliament against Compulsory Vaccination, and many from parents who alleged that their children had died through the operation, and complained that these petitions had not been made public. The journal reported the formation of an Anti- Compulsory Vaccination League "To overthrow this huge piece of physiological absurdity and medical tyranny, and quoted Richard Gibbs, who ran the Free Hospital at the same address as stating "I believe we have hundreds of cases here, from being poisoned with vaccination, I deem incurable. One member of a family dating syphilitic symptoms from the time of vaccination, when all the other members of the family have been clear. We strongly advise parents to go to prison, rather than submit to have their helpless offspring inoculated with scrofula, syphilis, and mania." [1]

Publications of The London Society for the Abolition of Compulsory Vaccination

Board members

Board in 1883

  • President: Mr P.A. Taylor, M.P.

Board in 1921

  • Secretary: Lily Loat
  • Vice presidents: included Charles CreightonM.D., Josiah Oldfield, D.C.L., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., Herbert Snow, M.D.
  • President: Lady Grove.

Board in 1936:

  • Treasurer: Ernest Parke, JP
  • Secretary: Lily Loat
  • Vice presidents: The Countess of Aylesford; The Marchioness of Donegall; The Duchess of Hamilton; The Lady Maud Warrender; The Viscount Harberton; Lady Dorothy Lee Warner; B P.Allinson, MRCS, LRCP; Major R. F. E. Austin, MRCS, LRCP; M. Beddow Bayly, MRCS, LRCP; Reginald Bowden, MD; H. Tudor Edmunds, MB, MRCS, LRCP; W. Ellis Morgan, MRCS, LRCP, London; Agnes Eslcourt-Oswald, MRCS, LRCP; Mrs. Alice Ker, MD, LRCP, LRCS; H.V. Knaggs, MRCS, LRCP; Cyril Pink, MRCS, LRCP; Stirling Saunder, LRCP; Fergie Woods, MD (Brux.), MRCS, LRCP, London; T. G. Vawdrey, MRCS, LRCP; W.H. White, MRCS, LRCP; Robert Mackie John H. Bonier, Leicestcr; H.G. Chaneellor, London; H.B. Knight Chorley, London; Charles Gane, JP, Beer; H.W. Goddard, Leicester; Joseph Harrison, Dorking; Rev. Lionel Lewis, MA, Glastonbury; Harry Lucas, Birmingham; J.E. Norman, JP, Weston-super-Mare; W. Grove Parriss, Trowbridge; H.E. Ponting, Dorking; A. Rawlings, Reading; H.J. Sayer, JP, Birmingham; William Slebbings, Reading; A. Trobridge, Thirsk; Harold W. Whiston, Macclesfield;

Board in 1952:

  • President: Arthur Trobridge
  • Treasurer: Major Hall Parke
  • Secretary: Lily Loat
  • B.P. Allinson, MRCS; M. Beddow Bayly, MRCS, LRCP; Reginald Bowden, MD; H. Tudor Edmunds, MB, MRCS, LRCP; Agnes Estcourt-Oswald, MRCS; H. Valentine Knaggs, MRCS, LRCP; Gordon Latto, MB, ChB; Erich Ledermann, MD, MRCS, LRCP; W. Ellis Morgan, MRCS, LRCP; Cyril Pink, MRCS, LRCP; Dorothy Shepherd, MB, BSc; H. Fergie Woods, MD, MRCS, LRCP

Publications of The National Anti-Vaccination League

  • 1957, Is Mass Vaccination with B.C.G. always warranted in the Scandinavian Countries? (booklet)
  • 1952, B.C.G. Vaccination, M. Beddow Bayly
  • 1947 TROLRIDGE, Arthur. Smallpox and Vaccination. pp. 8.
  • 1939, The Schick Inoculation Against Diphtheria, Beddow Bayly
  • The Case Against Vaccination|The Case Against Vaccination, Beddow Bayly (1936)
  • September/October, 1952, The Vaccination Inquirer and Health Review, no 817
  • 1929 National Anti-Vaccination League (LONDON) Thirty-third [etc.] Annual Report, etc.
  • 1921, Vaccination and the State By Arnold Lupton MP.
  • 1912, Leicester: Sanitation versus Vaccination, J.T. Biggs, JP. Book.
  • 1911 Smallpox and vaccination in British India
  • 1910, For and Against Vaccination. A statement by the Royal College of Physicians, Ireland; (with correspondence thereon, between Lieut. General A. Phelps and T. Percy C. Kirkpatrick)
  • 1904 BURTON, John Francis. The Story of the Vaccination Crusade in Hackney & Stoke Newington, 1902-1904, and what came of it. The cases of John Polley, William Pitt, and others, with an account of the action-at-law Polley v. Fordham. pp. 40. Hackney Union Branch of the National Anti-Vaccination League: London.
  • 1902 MILNES, Alfred. What about Vaccination ... With other contributions. (When Doctors Disagree. The Wreck of the Preussen. Vaccination an Error.) National Anti-Vaccination League: Westminster.
  • 1902 Smallpox at Middlesbrough. A reply to Dr. Dingle’s Reports ... Second edition, revised. by BIGGS, John Thomas pp. 24.
  • 1902 Smallpox at Gloucester. A reply to Dr. Coupland’s Report by Walter Hadwen. Reprinted from “The Reformer,” National Anti-Vaccination League: Gloucester
  • 1901 , Alfred Russel Wallace. Vaccination a Delusion ... Being Chapter XVIII. of The Wonderful Century pp. 213-323
  • 1901 An Italian Indictment of Vaccination. Public address given at the opening of the session of the University of Perugia, November, 1898 by Carlo Ruata. Translated from the Italian. National Anti-Vaccination League: London, 1901.

Publications of Lily Loat

  • The Truth About Vaccination and Immunization, Lily Loat (1951)
  • 1939 Pasteurization of milk : the case against compulsion
  • Address by Lily Loat before English Annual Session of the American Medical Liberty League in 1927

1880. Chief points against vaccination by International Anti-Vaccination League

The Executive Committee of the International Anti-Vaccination League, in Paris, 1880, at which delegates representing France, Belgium, Holland, Prussia, Württemberg, Switzerland, England, and the USA were present resolved that

  • small-pox epidemics do not increase the general death-rate, there being a corresponding decrease in other zymotic diseases, and that small-pox reduces the total mortality.
  • diminution of small-pox mortality at the beginning of the 19th century was not due to Vaccination, but due to the cessation of small-pox inoculation.
  • That the official returns shew that since Vaccination has been rigorously enforced, the rate of mortality from epidemic small-pox has increased.
  • FOURTH.—That the small-pox hospital returns, both in Europe and America, prove that Vaccination has neither prevented nor mitigated the severity of the disorder. The observations of REES, JURIN, DUVILLARD, etc., shew that the rate of fatality per cent, of those attacked before JENNER’S time was "one in six." The cases on which this result was based being many thousands. Recent Hospital statistics shew that the fatality to-day is still "one in six," the cases being more numerous, and the majority of them vaccinated. The disease is therefore unchecked and unchanged as regards fatality.
  • FIFTH.—That since Vaccination has been rendered obligatory, infantile syphilis (under one year old) has been increased in England, according to a Parliamentary return, dated February 25th, 1880, from 472 per million of births in 1847, to 1,736 per million in 1877, or fourfold; and that other inoculable diseases, such as pyaemia, scrofula, erysipelas, and bronchitis, were also augmented in infants. In England, the increase of inoculable diseases was 20 per cent., notwithstanding an expenditure of 200 millions sterling since 1850 in sanitary works. Another Parliamentary return (No. 443, Session 1877) demonstrates that 25,000 babies are yearly sacrificed by diseases excited by Vaccination.
  • SIXTH—That from the exceeding difficulty of finding a case of spontaneous cow-pox, the vaccinating profession cannot possess a standard of purity in lymph; and that no analysis, or microscopic examination, or medical experience, can enable a vaccinator to distinguish pure from impure lymph, nor can the appearance of the vesicle of the vaccinifer be relied upon to indicate freedom from taint of syphilitic or other disease. A subject highly syphilised can shew vaccine vesicles, according to Dr. WARLOMONT, "perfectly irreproachable" in appearance.
  • SEVENTH.—That many diseases to which animals are liable, and particularly tubercle, are transmissible by means of so-called Animal Vaccination to man, according to Veterinary Surgeons, and that the great increase in Consumption in Europe was probably owing to this cause.
  • EIGHTH.—Dr. H. OIDTMANN, of Aix la Chapelle, has proved by official returns from the towns of Cologne, Dusseldorf, Duren, Elberfeld, Lieghitz, Treves, Wesel, and other places, that Vaccination does not afford even a temporary protection against small-pox, but on the contrary, on the outbreaks of small-pox, there is large and constant priority amongst those attacked, of the vaccinated and re-vaccinated, over those who have escaped Vaccination.
  • LASTLY.—That in view of the confusion of opinion which prevails in every medical assembly amongst the so-called authorities, whenever the subject of Vaccination is discussed, it is unwise, impolitic, unjust, and tyrannical to enforce Vaccination; that such enforcement retards all improvement in the treatment, and all discoveries for the prevention of small-pox; and that all Compulsory Legislation with regard to Vaccination ought to be repealed.

Forty-five years ago, the cry throughout the country of the reformers who were trying to get the imposts on corn abolished, was that "thousands of women and children were starving for want of that bread which the Corn Laws kept out of the land." The cry of the anti-vaccinator— which is neither less mournful, nor less true—is that thousands of children are crying for the infantine health which nature offers, but which professional interest does not permit them to enjoy. They may be born of healthy parentage, yet they must be exposed to suffering and possible death, through this system of universal State blood-poisoning: and Rachels are weeping throughout the land because their hearths are made desolate.

As in the case of the Corn Laws, so in the case of the Vaccination Acts: the cause of this widespread misery can only be repealed by persistent and determined agitation. The question is of vital and national importance, and should be considered irrespective of sect or party, for- no party holds a monopoly of sympathy for the victims of cruelty and injustice, and every one who has witnessed the operation of the system which works such widespread evil, should resolve to give Parliament no rest until this pernicious legislation is repealed.

The popularity of Vaccination has disappeared The practice has been unable to face free discussion, and the only support of vaccinal tyranny, in the present day, is the dead weight of State-officialism, and the advocacy of an interested professional trades-unionism. The SCIENCE which occupies itself with providing substitutes for Municipal and Personal Cleanliness is fore-doomed to failure. END


  1. ^ Article in The Independent on Sunday, Apr 20, 2003 by Philip Hoare
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "National_Anti-Vaccination_League". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE