St Mary’s Hospital was founded in 1845 in Paddington and first opened its doors to patients six years later. It’s the birthplace of many members of the British Royal Family, including Princes William and Harry. The hospital is home to the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum. Here, in 1928, Fleming revolutionised medicine by discovering penicillin.
With the shift towards community healthcare delivered in the early 20th century, partly due to the social medicine revolution, pressure on bed occupancy relaxed, and with the formation of the National Health Service in the 1940s, many of the local hospitals of the St Mary’s teaching hospital group eventually closed and relocated services to the Paddington basin site.
Until 1988 the hospital ran St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, part of the federal University of London. In 1988 it merged with Imperial College London, and then with Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School in 1997 to form Imperial College School of Medicine. Imperial College left the federal university in 2007, to become independent.
The laboratory where Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin has been restored to its cramped condition of 1928 and incorporated into a museum about the discovery and his life and work. It is open to the public from Monday to Thursday from 10:00 to 13:00 and can be visited by appointment outside of these times.
The museum, which is a member of the London Museums of Health & Medicine, was declared an International Historic Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1999.
The tickets cost:
For adults £4.00
For children, students and senior citizens £2.00