Exhibition to shine light on Florence Nightingale in later life

Florence Nightingale is the subject of a new exhibition (Florence Nightingale Museum/PA)
Florence Nightingale is the subject of a new exhibition (Florence Nightingale Museum/PA)

An exhibition on Florence Nightingale which is being staged 200 years after her birth will shine a spotlight on her as an older woman.

Nightingale is often pictured in her 30s, when she nursed wounded soldiers in the Crimean War.

An exhibition, on the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital in London, aims to also remember the triumphs of the more mature woman.

Florence Nightingale’s lamp (Florence Nightingale Museum/PA)

Nightingale rocketed to fame during the Crimean War, and became known as The Lady With The Lamp because she would check British soldiers throughout the night.

But she shunned the limelight and returned home as Mrs Smith.

The new exhibition will explore the next 50 years of her life, when she revolutionised nursing and transformed healthcare.

She also suffered physical illness and depression, now thought to have been post-traumatic stress disorder.

Florence Nightingale just after Crimean War (Florence Nightingale Museum/PA)

David Green, director of the Florence Nightingale Museum, said that people often think of Nightingale in her 30s.

But in terms of her achievements, she was not then at her “peak”.

Exhibition highlights will include the “lamp”, in reality the Turkish lantern she carried during the Crimean War, and a recording of Nightingale’s voice, when she was in her 70s.

A photograph shows her in bed at the age of 86, four years before she died at the age of 90.

Objects will also include her medicine chest, containing glass jars of home-made remedies, and her writing case.

The design of St Thomas’ Hospital was hugely influenced by Nightingale and it opened the first Nightingale School for training nurses in her honour in 1860.

Nightingale In 200 Objects, People & Places runs from March 8 2020 to March 7 2021 at the Florence Nightingale Museum on London’s South Bank. 

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