Architect's pamphlet on Donovan Court, 1930s

Architect’s pamphlet on
Donovan Court, 1930s


Rosalind Franklin

Dates: 1920 - 1955

Profession: Science

Address: Donovan Court, Drayton Gardens , SW10

Dates at address: 1951 - 1958

View PDF map (Adobe PDF document, approx 1Mb)


Pioneering molecular scientist, Rosalind Franklin was daughter of Ellis Franklin and Muriel Frances. Despite her natural brilliance, she found university far from easy. Studying during World War II meant university funding cuts and having to split her time between studying and working as a London air raid warden. She certainly overcame these problems, as her record shows.

Having established carbon fibre technology working at the British Coal Utilization Research Association she moved to the Central Government Laboratory for Chemistry in Paris. They introduced her to X-ray Diffraction, which was to be central to her future discoveries. Attracted by her work, Kings College invited her to build up their X-ray Diffraction lab to help research DNA. She accepted and the team’s discoveries became the foundation for our understanding of DNA. Franklin left Kings due to problems with fellow researcher Maurice Wilkins, joining Birkbeck College, London where she researched the tobacco mosaic and polo viruses.

Born at Chepstow Villas in Notting Hill, she studied at St Paul’s before going on to Cambridge. Her groundbreaking work on DNA was done in the borough for King’s College and she was rightfully honoured for her efforts with a blue plaque on her Donovan Court home in 1992. She died tragically of cancer at the Royal Marsden aged only 37.