A museum about the man who accidentally discovered penicillin and then did nothing about it can be found in Paddington, and it’s just reopened after a long pandemic closure.

The Alexander Fleming Museum is, to be honest, not that amazing, being a couple of exhibition rooms, and then the Hallowed Space, where he famously left his window open in a dirty lab and discovered penicillin. The Hallowed Space is however just a recreation. It has largely original objects, but for many years, the room was used to store nappies for the maternity ward next door, and it was only in 1993 that the space was converted back into Fleming’s laboratory.

There’s also a video which goes into a lot more detail about his discovery, and much more importantly, mentions the work a few years later by people you’ve probably never heard of that turned an academic curiosity into a life-saving medicine. A medical person would probably be delighted to be able to step into the Hallowed Space, and it’s wonderful that it’s been restored, but otherwise, it’s quite an odd little museum to visit.

However, the key thing is that it has reopened, and if like me, you have an urging to visit every museum possible, regardless of their subject – then the museum is now open on weekdays by advance appointment only made by contacting the museum curator Kevin.Brown5@nhs.net.

The museum can be found around the side of St Mary’s hospital, by the main entrance on Praed Street — look for the iron gates and big brick arch opposite Norfolk Place.


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