Alderley Park Lighthouse Laboratory is Celebrated in Donation to the Science Museum

From the first steam-powered mill and the splitting of the atom, to the invention of the modern computer and the first ‘test-tube baby’, it’s hard to overestimate the North West region’s contribution to scientific breakthroughs.

The 700-strong team at the Alderley Park Lighthouse Laboratory, built in March 2020 by the Medicines Discovery Catapult to support the UK Government in testing millions of Covid-19 samples, have been no less industrious when compared to their scientific forebearers.

And now the dedication shown by the lab’s scientists over the last two years and their efforts to overcome the pandemic will be consigned to the nation’s history books, following a donation to the Science Museum Group.

With well over 20 million samples tested to date in the lab itself, and 300 million samples tested to date by the wider network – the donation will capture both the personal stories and the scientific processes which proved pivotal to the nation’s response to the pandemic.

Although PCR testing for Covid-19 is almost as commonplace as using hand sanitiser and wearing face masks, items from this process will now be captured for future generations in a donation to the permanent collection of the Science Museum Group. The Alderley Park Lighthouse Lab team hopes the donated items will serve as a reminder of the dedication shown by their scientists, who analysed millions of samples throughout the pandemic.

Sitting within the UK’s largest single-site science park, the team running the 24/7 Alderley Park Lighthouse Laboratory have donated a collection of items, which include: a thank-you letter to the scientists from the Health Secretary, a commemorative medal that was presented to all volunteers, lab coats, a suite of imagery taken within the testing lab, home testing kits, personal protective equipment (PPE) including lab coats, gloves and masks, lighthouse images drawn by local children to inspire the scientists, and 384 well plates – into which samples are loaded during the testing process.

The Alderley Park Lighthouse Lab’s Chief of Staff, Dr Sarah George hopes the donation will serve as a fitting reminder for the dedication and sacrifices made by those working behind the scenes in Covid-19 testing facilities throughout the pandemic.

Dr Sarah George, Chief of Staff, Alderley Park Lighthouse Laboratory said:

“We launched from a standing start in March 2020, to being able to process up to 80,000 tests a day a little over a year later. The application of the team’s combined scientific skills, dedication and a strong desire to help the nation through this project – the largest diagnostic project of its kind in British history – has been astounding.

“We’re delighted that the team’s work will be captured by the Science Museum Group to be shared for years to come”.

Natasha McEnroe, Keeper of Medicine at the Science Museum said:

“I am thrilled we are able to add these important items to the Science Museum Group Collection, helping to provide a permanent record for future generations of our responses to the pandemic and chronicling its impact on society.

“This donation highlights not only the significant role PCR testing has played in the pandemic, but also the personal stories of the scientists and technicians whose work made mass testing possible.”

For more information on the Alderley Park Lighthouse Laboratory, please visit: