Alexander Fleming Museum review
Alexander Fleming was the Scottish doc who discovered penicillin. He received a Nobel Prize for it, a knighthood from the king, had streets and squares and schools named after him, and even had his face painted on a banknote. And now they've turned his little hospital laboratory into a museum.
If you're expecting to see a sparkling science lab filled with microscopes and lab coats then prepare to be surprised, because it's just a pokey little office on the second floor. In order to get there you have to walk through a few corridors of the hospital itself, past the neurology department, past the faith room, past the iron pipes and double doors, and past the waiting patients sitting on the seats. You can hear their whispers being amplified along the stone floors and you don't want to look them in the eye in case they burst into tears. I'm not a big of hospitals (except when I'm ill), so I keep my head down and keep quiet until I find the reception. Then the guide comes along and leads you up the stairs.
Fleming's laboratory reminds me of those messy stock cupboards that your teachers used to disappear into beside their blackboard, whenever they wanted a break from their unruly students. I can easily imagine Fleming sitting in here with his radio on (classical music probably), with a cigarette burning down in the ashtray which he has completely forgotten about (too engrossed in his work to notice). It's a typical bloke's lab -- it looks like a bomb's gone off in it. You'd think that being a scientist he might have been quite tidy and meticulous about how he kept his equipment (a tidy desk for a tidy mind, and all that)... but nope. His desk is that of a mad inventor, a crazy experimenter, strewn with dirty test tubes and petri dishes, faded pages of notes, and a view of Praed Street out the window (it's not one of the prettiest streets in London -- it's full of bus stops, shops and pubs).
Apparently he was sitting up here staring out of this exact same window in 1928, counting down the hours to home time. He was taking his family on holiday so he stacked all his petri dishes on a bench and left. When he came back a few weeks later he discovered that his bacteria had been contaminated with mould. And that was how he discovered it -- by accident. By leaving the lids off his dishes whilst he was paddling his feet in the sea. But that's when his brains kicked in, because anybody else would have just chucked them in the dustbin and got on with their work, but Fleming recognised that he'd stumbled onto something important.
I won't tell you what happened next because you need to learn something on your visit, so let me just say this: by the time you've listened to the guide's ten-minute monologue, watched a ten-minute documentary on the telly, and waded through ten boards of supplementary information, you'll probably be in need of some medicine yourself. It's an educational slog, but an informative one if you have an interest in the subject matter. But you really do need to have a love of it already. If you're just a curious tourist then I'd definitely give it a miss.
Guest – Dear Sir I am agriculturist by profession. I was taught about pennicilin in my intermediate Biology book.I heard his name as inventor.But I was not informed about his laboratory.However Penicilin led me to get taught laboratory science to my daughter.I am not well informed about her further education in field.It is my hope to make a visit to this meuseum.Would you like to help me for 25days visa of UK to my destination of Fleming Museum.
Admin – Not sure I can really help with a visa mate, but I hope you enjoy your visit
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