Who was Florence Nightingale?
Florence Nightingale is seen as the founder of
modern nursing after her exploits in the Crimean War.
Date and Place of Birth:
12th May 1820, Villa Colombaia, near the Porta
Romana, Florence, Italy.
Nightingale was the second daughter of wealthy
parents, William Edward Shore (He adopted the name Nightingale to
get his inheritance) and Frances Smith, wealthy daughter of a Unitarian
family and Liberal politician.
Taught at home by her father who was Cambridge
Chronology/Biography of Florence Nightingale:
1821: The Nightingale
family return to England from Italy. They settle in her father's
Derbyshire property which has a lead smelting works in the grounds
which her father manages. Their father has another property called
Lea Hurst built in the nearby village of Lea which is to serve as
their summer house for the rest of Florence's life.
1823: Family move
to Keynsham Court in Presteigne, Herefordshire
1825: Family move
to Embley Park in Wellow, Hampshire.
1837: Florence Nightingale
states that God has called her to his service but at this time she
is not fully aware what that service will be. Family travel to Europe
in September and she meets Mary Clarke in Paris.
1839: (April) Family
returns to England (June) Florence and her Cousins are presented
to Queen Victoria at her Birthday Party. (September) Family move
back to the renovated Embley Park.
1842: Meets Richard
1844: Florence asks
Doctor Howe if it would be acceptable to devote herself to charitable
works in hospitals like the Catholic nuns. She refuses a proposal
of marriage from her Cousin Henry Nicholson.
1845: Florence Nightingale
wants to train in the nearby Salisbury hospital but her parents
are horrified as this is not a respectable job for a well brought
1846: She begins
to train herself about hospitals from the Government Blue Books.
1847: Richard Monckton
Miles wants to marry her but as she is verging on a nervous breakdown
she travels to Rome with friends.
1848: She attends
the opening of Sidney Herbert's Charmouth convalescent home and
at last her knowledge is recognised.
1849: She finally
refuses Milnes proposal of marriage. (December) She accompanies
her friends the Bracebridges on a trip down the Nile in Egypt.
1850: They then
continue on a trip through Europe. In July she visits the Kaiserwerth
Institution on the Rhine. Pastor Theodore Fliedner asks her to write
a pamphlet about Kaiserwerth.
1851: Florence Nightingalebegins
to study at Kaiserwerth.
1853: Her father
gives her an allowance of £500 to continue her studies and
she opens a nursing establishment of her own for "Gentlewomen".
of the Crimean War. Sidney Herbert as Secretary of State for War
asks her to nurse British soldiers. She takes a party of thirty
eight nurses to the Barrack Hospital in Scutari, near Constantinople
in Turkey. She is surprised by the lack of facilities and despair
of the doctors but decides to try and lift spirits. She becomes
a heroine to the troops and songs and poems are written about her.
1855: A public subscription
is raised in Britain to assist her work. She becomes ill with Crimean
Detail of the Crimean War on the base of the Nightingale
(© Anthony Blagg)
1856: As the War
is over Florence returns home to Lea Hurst. She is invited by Queen
Victoria and Prince Albert to talk to them about her war experiences.
1857: The Government
decide to form a Royal Commission to look into the disasters of
the Crimean War. As women were not allowed to sit on such a commission
she writes a submission to send to them. The Sepoy Rebellion in
India draws her attention to the problems of sanitation. She is
now ill with what would nowadays be called post-traumatic stress
disorder and she becomes bedridden only seeing visitors one at a
time and never appearing in public. She is proposed to by Sir Harry
Verney but declines so Sir Harry marries her sister Parthenope instead.
1859: She publishes
a small book called "Notes on Nursing."
1860: The Nightingale
Training School for nurses is opened at St. Thomas's Infirmary with
Mrs Sarah Wardroper as its head. Florence is now living in a flat
in London and as close attention to this project. She becomes the
first woman to be elected a Fellow of the Statistical Society for
using statistics and graphs in nursing.
1861: She is asked
for advice on nursing by the Union forces in the American Civil
1862: Florence Nightingale
publishes her "Observations" about sanitation conditions
1864: She works
on segregating men women and insane patients of the poor.
She moves to Number 35 (now 10) South Street, Mayfair, London where
she remains for the rest of her life.
1867: She works
principally on rural hygiene and Indian sanitation.
"Notes on Lying in Hospital".
1872: The founder
of the Red Cross Henri Dunant claims Nightingale's ideas influenced
Death of her father.
Death of her mother.
1883: Queen Victoria
awards her the Royal Red Cross.
1885: Begins to
nurse her sister Parthenope.
1887: Founding of
the British Nurses Association.
1890: Death of her
sister. Florence's voice is recorded by the Eddison Company on a
Statue of Florence Nightingale next to the Crimean War Memorial
Waterloo Place, London
(© Anthony Blagg)
1896: She is now
permanently confined to her bedroom.
1902: As she can
now no longer read or write she take son a secretary/housekeeper.
1907: Florence Nightingale
receives the Order of Merit from King Edward the Seventh, the first
time it is given to a woman.
1910: She is no
longer capable of speaking.
- 1859: "Notes
- 1862: "Observations"
- 1871: "Notes
on Lying in Hospital".
Never married though proposed to three times,
lastly by Thomas Hoades a butcher/farmer from Lea. She felt marriage
would not allow her to carry out her work.
Date and Place of Death:
13th August 1910, London, England.
Age at Death:
Site of Grave:
St. Margaret's Churchyard, East Wellow, Hampshire,
There is a memorial to her in St Paul's Cathedral, London.
Places of Interest:
Lea Hurst, Matlock (now a Royal Surgical Aid
Embley Park, Romsey. (now a School)
Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps, Regimental Headquarters,
Royal Pavilion, Farnborough Road, Aldershot, GU11 1PZ. (Has her
lamp and Carriage).
Florence Nightingale Museum, 2 Lambeth Palace
Claydon House (National Trust). (Home of her sister and brother
The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garden, 9a St Thomas Street,
10 South Street, Mayfair.
Florence Nightingale Foundation, 199 Westminster Bridge Road, SW1
Bodelwyddan Castle, Bodelwydden, Clwyd, LL18
5YA. (Has Portrait)