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12 July 2012

Find the site of Alexander Fleming's discovery

A blue plaque on the wall on Praed Street near Paddington Station remembers the room, two stories above, where in 1928, Alexander Fleming returned to his work bench at St Mary's Hospital to accidentally discover Penicillin.

Fleming had just returned from a trip to his country home to find discarded Petri dishes he had piled up to make space for his colleague Stuart Craddock to use his work bench. We are told that a colleague dropped in causing Fleming to have a good moan about his workload, and rummage through the dishes.

One of the dishes was contaminated with fungus, causing colonies of the staphylococcus bacteria to be destroyed, whilst other colonies farther away remained intact. This chance discovery led to the development of Penicilin, the antibiotics derived from Penicillium fungi.

For more, see http://history1900s.about.com/od/medicaladvancesissues/a/penicillin.htm


  1. There is a small museum within the hospital. Limited opening hours.

  2. I came here to mention the museum. If you have a pressing reason why you cannot make the normal opening hours, you may be able to arrange a special visit.