'Girls Preparing Nutrient Media for Bacteriological Test', 1946.
3 3 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 25cm

'Girls Preparing Nutrient Media for Bacteriological Test', 1946.

© NMeM / Daily Herald Archive / Science & Society Picture Library


Women working in a laboratory, taken by an unknown photographer for the Daily Herald newspaper in 1946. The laboratory technicians shown here are all women. World War II (WW2) saw an increase in women working in science and industry, jobs that had been seen until this time as traditionally male. This laboratory owned by Distillers Co Ltd at Speke, Liverpool, was, at the time, the largest penicillin plant in the world. During WW2 Sir Howard Walter Florey and Ernst Boris Chain, developed a means of producing penicillin on an industrial scale. Together with Alexander Fleming - who identified the antibacterial properties of the penicillium mould in 1928 - they shared the Nobel Prize in 1945. Their work on producing a 'wonder drug' saved millions of lives.

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