Percy F. Frankland

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Percy Faraday Frankland CBE FRS[1] (3 October 1858 – 28 October 1946) was a British chemist.[2]

He was the second son and youngest child of Edward Frankland, chemist, and Sophia (Sophie), née Frick. He was born at 42 Park Road, Haverstock Hill, Hampstead, on 3 October 1858.[3] Michael Faraday was his godfather.[4]

Frankland attended University College School from 1869-1874. The following year he was admitted to the Royal School of Mines, where he was taught by his father, Frederick Guthrie, T H Huxley, Judd and Warington Smyth[5]

Although he gained a Brackenbury scholarship to St Bartholomew's Hospital in 1878, and graduated BSc three years later, he was steered away from medicine to chemistry by his father. He studied for a PhD under Wislicenus at the University of Würzburg. Frankland returned to London in 1880, and became a demonstrator of practical chemistry at the Normal School of Science, South Kensington.[6]

Frankland left London in 1888 to become Professor of Chemistry at Dundee, where his main scientific interests were in stereochemistry and in the preparation of pure cultures of bacilli, which were allowed to grow in solutions of sugars. Together with his wife, Grace Frankland, they isolated the first pure culture of nitrifying (ammonia-oxidazing) bacterium in 1890.[7] He then went to Birmingham in 1894 as Professor of what was then Mason College, where he succeeded Professor William A. Tilden. Frankland retired at the end of the First World War, aged 60. A list of his publications, from 1880-1920 is included in the Royal Society memoir.[1]

Frankland was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in June 1891.[8] He was President of the Chemical Society from 1911 to 1913, a position his father had held before him.[4] He was awarded the Royal Society's Davy Medal in 1919.


In 1882 Frankland married Grace (née Toynbee), the daughter of Joseph Toynbee. She worked with both Percy and his father and was described at the time as having "worthily aided and seconded [Percy]".[9] The couple co-authored papers on bacteria and other microorganisms found in the air[10] and water.[11]

They lived at Grove House, Pembridge Square, London.[12] Their only child, Edward Percy, was born in 1884. He married Maud Metcalfe-Gibson in 1915. The couple had two sons and a daughter: the parasitologist Helga Maud Toynbee Frankland,[13] who wrote about her grandfather Percy and other family members.[14]

Percy Faraday Frankland died on 28 October 1946 at the village of Loch Awe, Argyll. He was buried at Glenorchy parish church in Dalmally, with his wife, who had died on the 5th.[1]

The University of Manchester Library holds the main collection of Frankland's papers.[15] Archival material relating to him is also held by Archive Services, University of Dundee.[16]


  1. ^ a b c Garner, William Edward (1948). "Percy Faraday Frankland. 1858-1946". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. 5 (16): 697–715. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1948.0007. JSTOR 768766. S2CID 177495132.
  2. ^ Garner, W. E. (1948). "Obituary notice: Percy Faraday Frankland, 1858-1946". Journal of the Chemical Society (Resumed): 1996–2005. doi:10.1039/JR9480001996.
  3. ^ "Frankland, Percy Faraday". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33244. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ a b Garner, W. E. (1948). "Obituary notice: Percy Faraday Frankland, 1858-1946". Journal of the Chemical Society (Resumed): 1996. doi:10.1039/JR9480001996. ISSN 0368-1769.
  5. ^ Garner, W E (May 1948). "Percy Faraday Frankland. 1858-1946". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. 5 (16): 697–715. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1948.0007. S2CID 177495132.
  6. ^ For an explanation of the name of the constituents The Royal Schools of Chemistry and Mines see footnote 11 in Forgan, Sophie; Gooday, Graeme (December 1996). "Constructing South Kensington: The Buildings and Politics of T. H. Huxley's Working Environments". The British Journal for the History of Science. Cambridge University Press. 29 (4): 435–468. doi:10.1017/S0007087400034737. PMID 11618471.
  7. ^ "V. The nitrifying process and its specific ferment.—Part I". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B. 181: 107–128. 1890-12-31. doi:10.1098/rstb.1890.0005. ISSN 0264-3839.
  8. ^ "Lists of Royal Society Fellows 1660-2007". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on March 24, 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  9. ^ Quoted in Rayner-Canham; Marelene F. Rayner-Canham; Geoffrey Rayner-Canham (2008). Chemistry was their life: Pioneer British women chemists, 1880-1949. London: Imperial College Press. p. 424. ISBN 978-1-86094-986-9.
  10. ^ Frankland, Grace C.; Frankland, Percy F. (1887). "Studies on new Micro-organisms obtained from air". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B. 178: 257–287. doi:10.1098/rstb.1887.0011. JSTOR 91702.
  11. ^ Frankland, Percy; Frankland, Grace C (1894). Micro-organisms in water: their significance, identification and removal, together with an account of the bacteriological methods employed in their investigation, specially designed for the use of those connected with the sanitary aspects of water-supply. London: Longmans, Green.
  12. ^ Walker, Dave (7 August 2014). "Down Brompton Lane: more houses and stories". The Library Time Machine. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  13. ^ Frankland, Helga Maud Toynbee. Helminth parasites of marine fishes: the biology of diclidophora denticulata a monogenetic trematode (PhD). University of St Andrews. hdl:10023/14612. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  14. ^ Frankland, Dr Helga (February 2005). "Dr. Helga Frankland's account of the family association with Ravenstonedale". Ravenstonedale. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  15. ^ "Frankland, Sir Edward, Papers (The University of Manchester Library)". Archived from the original on 2017-07-29. Retrieved 2017-06-12.
  16. ^ "Search Results". Archive Services Online Catalogue. University of Dundee. Retrieved 8 December 2014.