England’s historic places have seen some of the world’s most important scientific advances and discoveries.
Many are still there for us to visit and imagine – what must it have been like to be the first?
5 Firsts that changed the world:
1. Leeds Bridge
Location: 1 Dock Street, Leeds LS10 1NB
You may have heard that the first ciné films were made by the Lumiere brothers, or perhaps it was Thomas Edison? In fact, French inventor Louis Le Prince made the first ciné films in Leeds, Yorkshire in 1888. He captured the first moving pictures on paper film using a single lens camera. Whilst working in Leeds he made the very first film in his in-laws garden, and his second film was of traffic crossing Leeds Bridge.
2. Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Location: Pembroke Place, Liverpool L3 5QA
Opened in 1899, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine was funded by Sir Alfred Lewis Jones, a shipping magnate who saw the impacts of tropical diseases on his crews. Lead researched Professor Ronald Ross (1857–1932), who identified the mosquito bite as the source of malaria, became the first Briton to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1902.
3. Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Location: Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PW
Reason for nomination: Dorothy Hodgkin, Britain’s first and only woman to win a Nobel prize in Science (for chemistry in 1964), had her laboratory here. She discovered the structure of penicillin, vitamin B12 and insulin.
4. Papworth Hospital
Location: Papworth Everard, Cambridge CB23 3RE
Originally set up in 1918 to provide holistic treatment for tuberculosis patients, Papworth Hospital enabled its patients to work in several industries. However, Papworth Hospital is most famous for pioneering cardiothoracic surgery including the world’s first triple (heart, lung and liver) transplant in 1986. Papworth has been an NHS hospital since 1948.
5. Alexandra Palace
Location: Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY
Known globally as the birthplace of television, in 1935 the BBC leased the eastern part of the building, and in November 1936 the first public television transmissions were made.
Alexandra Palace also played an important role during the Second World War. Though television broadcasts were stopped, BBC transmitters at the palace were used in a secret operation to jam radio signals used by German bomber pilots to identify their positions and targets.