On 2nd November 1981 a memorial stone for Howard Walter Florey, pathologist and bacteriologist, was unveiled by his widow in the north aisle of the nave of Westminster Abbey, near the grave of Charles Darwin. The stone was the gift of the government and people of South Australia and was designed by J. Peters and cut by Paul Trappe. The inscription reads:
In grateful memory of HOWARD WALTER BARON FLOREY O.M. His vision, leadership and research made penicillin available to mankind. Born Adelaide 1898 Died Oxford 1968
Howard was born in Adelaide on 24th September 1898, a son of Joseph and Bertha Florey. He attended Oxford university as a Rhodes Scholar in 1922 and later worked in Cambridge, Europe and the USA. In 1933 he was appointed professor of pathology at Sheffield and then at Oxford in 1935. He is celebrated for making Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin into a clinically useable product, thus initiating the era of antibiotics. From 1947-1955 Florey played a key role in setting up the John Curtin School for medical research in Australia. In 1960 he was elected President of the Royal Society, the first Australian to hold the office. His first wife was Mary Ethel Hayter (d.1966) and they had a son Charles and daughter. In 1967 he married Margaret Jennings who had worked with him since 1936. He was created Baron Florey of Adelaide and Marston in 1965 and was made a member of the Order of Merit. He died suddenly in Oxford on 21st February 1968 and is buried at Marston, near Oxford.
"Howard Florey. The making of a great scientist" by Gwyn Macfarlane, 1979
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004
24th September 1898
21st February 1968