It’s one of those fault lines running through our house. I have a tendency to collect which if truth be known is just hoarding and there are others who relentlessly declutter. It is that age old dilemma of which pieces of paper to keep to throw away? Now I know it is easier now with paperless bills and emails but it remains a problem for me.
Not only do I have the entire collection of Beano’s from 1985 to 97, assorted runs of Look and Learn but during the 90s I went back and began buying whole volumes of the Eagle comic, which I first read in 1957.
More importantly there are the family documents, nothing I grant you as grand as a signed letter from minor royalty or the plans drawn up by Capability Brown for a new garden estate. Ours are more down to earth.
They include wartime letters faded photographs and quite a few negatives which I reckon haven’t seen daylight for over 80 years and lots more. Earlier I wrote about the family identity cards and today I want to share a medical certificate which I guess my father had to possess so that he could carry on working.
It is the International Certificate of Vaccination or Revaccination against small pox issued by the Ministry of Health. Now I haven’t found out yet which European countries required it but as dad worked across Western Europe it could have been any one of many. Or it may just have been that because of the outbreak of smallpox here in Britain in 1962 our neighbours naturally enough wanted to be sure he was free of the disease.
And smallpox was still a killer. Today through the efforts of the World Health Organisation it has been eliminated, but in the early 20th century stretching back into time it was both feared and dreaded. At best it could leave an infected person terribly disfigured and of course often proved fatal.
Now I remember the 1962 outbreak only because were vaccinated as were thousands of children across the country. Now like all these things there is a blog devoted to the outbreak http://smallpox1962.wordpress.com so I’ll let you go there to get the full story.
But had Dad not kept the certificate and had I in turn not stored it away there would be no record of the impact on the disease on my family.
Not perhaps great page turning history, but history.
Pictures; from the collection of Andrew Simpson