Did you know? Masonic Philately

Sir George Cathcart No. 617

Sir Alexander Fleming. (1881–1955)


Scottish Bacteriologist and Nobel Prize Winner




Fleming discovered the first antibiotic drug, penicillin, in 1928. In 1922 he had discovered lysozyme, an antibacterial enzyme present in saliva, nasal secretions, and tears. While studying this, he found an unusual mould growing on a neglected culture dish, which he isolated and grew into a pure culture; this led to his discovery of penicillin. It came into use in 1941. In 1945 he won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Howard W Florey and Ernst B Chain, whose research had brought widespread realisation of the value of penicillin.

Fleming was born in Lochfield, Darvel, Ayrshire, and studied medicine at St Mary's Hospital, London, where he remained in the bacteriology department for his entire career, becoming professor 1928.

Fleming discovered the antibacterial properties of penicillin, but its purification and concentration was left to Florey and Chain, in Oxford. Fleming also developed methods, which are still in use, of staining spores and flagella of bacteria.


The previous information I am sure is well known but what is not so well known is that Bro Fleming, had he claimed the rights to Penicillin could have become one of the richest men in the world, instead he established the name “Penicillin”as a scientific term thus making it public property. Countless people owe their lives to Penicillin and to Fleming for ensuring it was freely available to all and not just those who could afford it.

A truly Masonic act.


Bro. Fleming was a member of Sancta Maria Lodge No.2682.

Initiated:-8th June 1909, Passed:- 9th Nov. 1909 and Raised:- 11th Jan 1910

The records show he was S.W. in 1922 and 1923

and on 11th Nov. 1924 was Installed as R.W.M.

He was also a member of Scottish Rifles Lodge No.2310.(Joined 16th March 1911)

He later joined Misericordia Lodge No.3286 London.(Joined 23rd. Oct. 1925)

And served as J.W. 1932, S.W. 1933 and 1934. And was Installed R.W.M. 1935

Note:- Misericordia means Mercy, forgiveness or tender-hearted.


He became Grand Senior Deacon in 1942 and Past Junior Grand Warden in 1948.


He also became a Royal Arch Freemason and joined Aesculpius Chapter No.2410 on 27th July1923.

He held the Offices of 3rd Principle in 1937, 2nd Principle in 1938, 1st Principle in 1939.

Aesculpius means The Art of Healing


Stamps  Issued:- Too Many to list I have shown                           

                            Faroe  Islands 1983  S.G.  No.84.


If I have interested you in Sir Alexander Fleming why not pay a visit to Lodge Sir George Cathcart No617 on Wednesday the 4th May when

Bro. Archie Chalmers I.P.P.G.M. of Ayrshire will be presenting a paper

 “Sir Alexander Fleming The Man and Mason”