Marston history: Famous people

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Howard Florey, Baron Florey of Adelaide & Marston (1898–1968)

Howard Walter Florey was born in Adelaide in 1898. He was the youngest child and only son of an Oxfordshire shoemaker, Joseph Florey, who had emigrated in 1885, and his second (Australian) wife, Bertha Mary Wadham.

Florey’s father died in 1918 and the family was bankrupted, but he managed to finish his studies at the medical school of the University of Adelaide, gaining his MB BS in 1921. He was then awarded a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford (working his passage to England as a ship’s surgeon), and gained a First in the Honour School of Physiology. Florey remained in England, first in Oxford, and then Cambridge and Sheffield. He also spent a short time at the London Hospital.

In 1926 Florey married Dr Mary Ethel Hayter (d. 1966), an Australian pathologist, and they had two children.

In 1935 Florey was appointed to the Chair of Pathology in Oxford, and earlier work on penicillin was developed and the drug came into production.

By 1962 Lord Florey had moved to Old Marston, after converting a barn belonging to Almonds Farm into a residence (now 4 Elsfield Road). In that year he was appointed Provost of The Queen’s College, and their Florey Building is named after him. In 1965 he was created a life peer as Baron Florey of Adelaide and Marston and a member of the Order of Merit.

In 1966 Florey’s wife died after some years of ill health, and in 1967 he married Margaret Augusta Jennings (1904–1994), who had worked with him since 1936.

Plaque to Florey

Florey died suddenly on 21 February 1968. The above plaque in the porch of the Church of St Nicholas, Old Marston reads:

In Memory of
a great man
a great scientist

Baron Florey of Adelaide & Marston
Provost of the Queen’s College, Oxford

His research was devoted
to discovering the causes
of disease & by his vision &
leadership penicillin was
placed in the hands of the

Lord Florey and both his wives are buried in the churchyard of St Nicholas’s Church in Old Marston.

Wikipedia: Howard Walter Florey, Baron Florey

© Stephanie Jenkins

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