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Florence Nightingale: Nurse of the Crimean Battlefields


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Being the 111th anniversary of her death, I thought it would be nice to start a post about her. If anyone has something interesting to ad here, please reply!




Florence Nightingale began her ministry during the Crimean War at the request of Henry Pelham Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle -- then the Secretary of State for War. This came about when a personal friend, Richard Monckton Milnes, wrote to the Duke:

"Did you ever hear of a Miss Nightingale, a lady of fortune & of the rarest moral qualities, who has devoted herself to the work of a Sister of Charity… If you thought of organising any establishment of nurses to send she is the person to apply [to]."


She set out for the Crimean on 21 Oct 1854, arriving with 38 nurses under her command at a hospital in Scutari. Her hospital and care reforms changed nursing forever, though it's surprising how simple some of her "radical" implementations are common practice today -- things like cleaning of wards, bathing patients, dressing them in clean clothes, etc. She even established a hospital laundry!


Perhaps the most famous "image" of her to the British people were the many illustrations of her checking on patients by lamplight. This depiction was even used on a £10 note in 1975! Here's one of the many versions of the iconic scene.




For the 200th anniversary of her birth last year, her original lantern used in the Crimea was on display at the Florence Nightingale Museum (London). Unlike the candles and various lamps usually shown in portraits, the real-life piece was a Turkish lantern, called a fanoos.




And to finish off, here's a picture of Florence Nightingale in later life at her London home.



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Jack the Collector

This posting has jogged my memory,I do not remember what year 2015/2016?....the Smithsonian Magazine did a really good article on her and her involvement in the Crimean war .This lady was the epitome of brave.

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After putting this thread up, I've done a little more looking, and her original Crimean medicine chest is on display at the Florence Nightingale museum!





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Another interesting thing is the fact that it was Nightingale's nurses at the Scutari Hospital that are considered the first to wear "official" uniforms. They wore grey dresses, white aprons and sashes that read "Scutari Hospital". This made the nurses easy to recognize. 

The Florence Nightingale Museum actually has one of the aprons and sashes on display.




And this is an engraving of a ward in the Scutari Hospital during the Crimean:



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  • 1 year later...

While reading about the Coronation, I found an interesting piece of trivia. 

There is a piece of one of Florence Nightingale's dresses inside the Diamond Jubilee State Coach (which is the coach King Charles travelled to the Abbey in on May 6th). I've not been able to find anything else about how it's mounted there, but Queen Elizabeth chose different iconic and special mementos to be included in the carriage:


"On the roof is a gold-leaf covered oak crown carved from Lord Nelson’s ship, HMS Victory. The interior is made of inlaid pieces of wood and metal from buildings, including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle, Balmoral Castle, Hampton Court Palace, and Windsor Castle name a few.

A piece of Florence Nightingale’s dress is part of the carriage as well as Henry VII’s ship, The Mary Rose, Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree and Sir Edmund Hillary’s Everest ladders. The handrails are from the Royal Yacht Britannia. 

The government of Scotland donated bits from the Stone of Scone, while Canada contributed material from the 1845 Franklin expedition. 

There are items connected to 30 kings and queens of England, Ireland and Scotland, as well as notable events in British history."




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Our British cousins certainly can do heritage.  This one royal coach is spectacular and literally built of pieces of history.  

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