Friday, 28 May 2010

Florence Nightingale

Back to Derby and one of the most famous historical figures associated with our county.

Let's come clean straight away; Florence Nightingale was not born in Derbyshire. She was actually born in Italy on 12 May 1820 and named after the city of her birth, but her father, William Shore, inherited the Lea Hurst estate (south of Matlock in Derbyshire) along with the Nightingale family name and arms.

In February 1837, Nightingale was inspired, by what she was believed was a call from God, to enter the nursing profession. This was not a popular move with her family because it flew in the face of the expectations for a young lady of her time and social standing. Undeterred, Florence applied herself to her studies in the art and science of nursing.

In 1853, Nightingale was appointed as superintendent at the Institute for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen in Upper Harley Street, London and held this post until 1854, when she and a staff of 38 volunteer nurses travelled to the British camp in the Crimea war. It was during this time that she began to understand the affect of poor living conditions and sanitation on health; recognising its part in the spread of disease and sickness. This discovery was to shape her later career, and her influence on the sanitary conditions of hospitals radically changed the face of health care in England. It is from her time in the Crimea that most people recognise her name; especially the association with her as 'The Lady with the Lamp' - a nickname which stemmed from a war report in the Times newspaper.

On 9 July 1860, the Nightingale Training School was opened at St Thomas's Hospital, Westminster. Now named the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, her establishment continues to train nurses as part of King's College, London. (The grounds of St Thomas' hospital, house a museum  in her memory. To discover more, click here.)

During her lifetime, Nightingale received various awards:

  • 1883 -  awarded the Royal Red Cross by Queen Victoria.

  • 1907 - the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit

  • 1908 - given the Honorary Freedom of the City of London
and this statue, above the original Boots the Chemist shop, is just one way in which she is commemorated here in Derby.


  1. Ok will you quit being a teacher on these blogs Its half term holiday Miss and I want a laugh PLEASE there must be some funny pics of your boys.
    Seriously that was good I remember doing a project on old florence

  2. The boys would throw a total wobbly if I posted funny pics of them on here - understandably!

    Pleased you enjoyed the post.

  3. Hi,

    Very informative! here in Canada, when a woman is caring we call her "a real Florence Nightingale". I'm from one of those blog hops, probably Jenny Matlock's. Thanks for sharing.


  4. She was my hero when I was growing up. I wanted to be just like her. I read every book I could find about her from the library.