September 30. A mould which appeared to attack the germs
responsible for infections was discovered by the British scientist,
Professor Alexander Fleming.
Like so many revolutionary discoveries, it happened almost by
accident. Fleming left a dish of bacteria on a bench in his laboratory.
he looked again, a mould had not only contaminated the sample
but wiped out part of the staphylococcus bacteria.
Although Fleming was cautious in announcing a medical miracle,
it seemed that this mould, later identified as Penicillium notatum,
had the power to kill a range of infectious agents.
First it was necessary to isolate the active part of the mould,a
process which could take years. But in due course a new drug,
penicillin, would be available to deal with infections that had
previously proved fatal.
The first results were little less than miraculous. The age
of antibiotics had arrived.
January 6. Fourteen people, including four sisters, were
drowned when the Thames burst its banks, flooding lower-lying
districts of London.
Hundreds more were made homeless along the length of Old Father
Thames and the vaults of the Palace of Westminster were flooded.
The normally dry moat of the Tower of London filled up in the
floods and 12 Landseer paintings were badly damaged at the Tate
The disaster was caused by a much-feared combination of a sudden
thaw and a high tide.
November 29. Analysts discovered that a traffic boom
was causing deaths on Britain's roads to soar - and the commonest
offender was the private car.
During one three-month period there were 309 deaths on the streets
of London bringing the year's total accidents so far to 872.
This averaged two more accidents every week more than than the
In Paris, the prefect of police claimed 61 per cent of street
accident were due to the carelessness of the victims.
June 18. American aviator, Amelia Earhart, became the
first woman to fly the Atlantic when she left Newfoundland in
her seaplane and battled her way through terrible weather across
the ocean to arrive near Llanelli the day after take-off.
The daring aviator's fuel was so low she had to throw out equipment
to stay airborne. Miss Earhart and her two male companions had
no idea where they were when they came down - they had hoped to
October 10. A blitz was launched in New York's "speakeasies"
after it was found that bootlegged whisky, contaminated with wood
alcohol, had killed 518 people in this year so far.
The move followed a series of police raids on illicit drinking
dens in which 21 barmen were arrested.
Mayor, Jimmy Walker, announced that "speakeasy" owners would
face murder charges if their illegal "hooch" was found to be poisonous.
Prohibition had been in force for nine years and was promoting