Michael Faraday

In the nave of Westminster Abbey, just north of the grave of Sir Isaac Newton, is a memorial floor stone for Michael Faraday, eminent physicist and chemist. The memorial, together with one for James Clerk Maxwell, was unveiled on 30th September 1931. In 1976 the stone memorial was replaced by one made of metal, presented by the Institution of Civil Engineers. The Latin inscription can be translated:

The memorial of Michael Faraday 1791-1867. Buried elsewhere.

His life

Michael was a son of James Faraday (d.1810), a blacksmith, and his wife Margaret (Hastwell) and was born on 22nd September 1791. Little is known of his early life but he was apprenticed to a bookbinder. His great interest in science was furthered by his contact with Sir Humphrey Davy and Faraday was employed as a laboratory assistant at the Royal Institution. Later he became Director there. He investigated chemistry, electricity, magnetism, the composition of steel and the making of optical glass and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. He was professor of chemistry at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich from 1829-52 and worked for Trinity House Corporation. On 12th June 1821 he married Sarah Barnard but they had no children.

He died on 25th August 1867 and was buried in the Sandemanian church plot at Highgate cemetery in London.

Further Reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

"The electric life of Michael Faraday" by Alan Hirschfield, 2006

The Faraday Museum is at the Royal Institution in London

There is a statue of Faraday in Savoy Street, London


22nd September 1791


30th September 1931


Scientist; physicist



Memorial Type


Material Type


Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday by Thomas Phillips

© National Portrait Gallery, London [Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0]

Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster