A BERKELEY institution is appealing for help covering £20,000 of emergency repair work.

The team at Dr Jenner’s House and Garden was forced to carry out vital repairs to the enormous chimney stacks at the historic house at the end of last year.

The Grade II listed Chantry is the house that Edward Jenner, pioneer of the smallpox vaccination, owned from 1785 until his death in 1823.

Open to the public since 1985, it forms an important part of the historical record of the scientific breakthroughs that took place on the site.

The first warning staff had was some falling masonry, which on closer inspection appeared to be the chimney render coming away.

Once the chimneys had been assessed by a conservation architect, it became apparent that the render needed to be stripped off so the condition of the stone and brickwork beneath could be assessed.

“When we did that we were told to repair them we had to keep the render off, repair the chimney stacks underneath, and then paint with a breathable lime paint,” explained visitor experience manager Simon Hobson. “The hard cement-based render was applied to the chimneys a very long time ago and is now understood to be a fundamentally unsuitable material and will always fail in due course.”

The Chantry was hidden beneath scaffolding for several weeks around Christmas and while the iconic four meter high chimneys have now been repaired, this has left the charity seriously out of pocket.

“We were forced to act quickly,” explained Dr Tim Wallington, chairman of The Jenner Trust. “The conservation work cost nearly £20,000 which had not been budgeted for, which has left us with a big hole in our finances.

“We are a small independent charity without any core grant support and when we have something like this to deal with it causes us a big headache.

"We’re fundraising at the moment to help pay for the work, and so we really need people to help us. Anything people could spare would be wonderful.”

You can donate to Dr Jenner’s Chimney Appeal online at www.jennermuseum.com/donate.html