Timeline – Florence Nightingale 1820-1910
Florence Nightingale’s birthday is celebrated each year on the 12th May with International Nurses Day, to thank the contributions nurses make to society around the world. In 2020, we are commemorating the 200th anniversary of Florence’s birth and the year is designated, by the World Health Organisation, as ‘International Year of the Nurse and Midwife’.
Florence is an instantly recognisable icon of the Victorian age and much is known about the legend, ‘The Lady With the Lamp’ who became a national heroine at Crimea. Florence Nightingale achieved a position of prominence which enabled her to campaign for the training of nurses, public health and came to symbolise modern nursing.
Florence had close links with Salisbury throughout her career:
- 1845 – Florence Nightingale first expressed her wish to be a nurse, and hoped to get permission from her family to enter Salisbury Infirmary, the closest hospital to their family home of Embley House near Wellow, Hampshire. Her family were opposed to the idea as nurses, at that time, tended to come from much poorer backgrounds.
- 1847 Florence met and befriended Sidney Herbert, President of Salisbury Infirmary and younger son of 11th Earl of Pembroke, whilst he was on honeymoon in Rome.
- 1854-56 Sidney Herbert, was Minister for War and involved Florence in nursing at the Crimean War where the British army were losing more men to infection in the Scutari Hospital than to their actual injuries. Today a statue of Sidney Herbert stands in Victoria Park, Salisbury.
- 1858 – The Salisbury General Infirmary Annual Report thanks Miss Nightingale for her valuable counsels.
- 1866 – Again Salisbury General Infirmary records show that plans for the proposed redevelopment of their western wing were forwarded to Miss Nightingale. (See Infirmary through the ages to see the plans for yourself)
- 1896 – Letters of advice from Florence Nightingale are sent to her cousin Edith Joanna Bonham Carter who was at that time Lady Superintendent of Salisbury’s Nurses Home. Florence writes about her concerns for the expected number of new probation nurses and the amount of accommodation available to them. (See the Victoria Nurses home completed in 1901 following the years of complaint)