Two centuries after her birth, the lasting legacy of ‘Lady of the Lamp’, Florence Nightingale, will be celebrated globally in 2020 – which has been declared the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in her honour by the World Health Organisation.
While born in Florence, Italy, she was brought up in England and two places closely associated with this iconic nursing pioneer – Derby and Hampshire – will be offering visitors a chance to follow in her footsteps in this anniversary year.
From staying in her countryside childhood home in Derbyshire, to visiting her final resting place in the rural church near her family estate In Hampshire, 2020 will offer a host of opportunities to celebrate her life and work.
Regarded as the founder of modern nursing and best known for her work during the Crimean War (1853-56), Florence fundamentally changed the role of nursing in hospitals, and was a key figure in introducing new professional training standards. But she was also a female icon in her own lifetime, an influential statistician and a leader.
So, it’s no surprise that 2020 will see major, nation-wide celebrations – including a Commemoration Service at Westminster Abbey on 12 May; an evensong service at St Paul’s Cathedral, 27 October; and an international #Nightingale2020 nursing conference in London in October.
The Florence Nightingale Museum, at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital, is co-ordinating many #Nightingale2020 events, as well as hosting its own ‘Florence Nightingale: Leader, Icon, Pioneer’ exhibition.
Discover more about Florence in Derbyshire, where she spent her early years, and many summers, at the family’s home, Lea Hurst, overlooking the Derwent Valley – where visitors can now stay overnight at the recently opened ‘The Florence Nightingale Suite’. For 2020, Florence will also be back in Derby as one of the ‘stars’ of a new augmented reality walk of fame across the city centre, accessed via a smart-phone app. A plaque also commemorates her life in Derby Cathedral, which hosts an annual Florence Nightingale Commemorative Service, to be held on 9 May in 2020. http://bit.ly/33eItZv
Then head to Hampshire, where William Nightingale purchased Embley Park at East Wellow near Romsey, which became the Nightingale’s main family home in 1825, following their move south from Derbyshire. While Florence lived most of her post Crimean life in London, she often visited Hampshire.
After Florence’s death on 13 August 1910, her remains were transported by train to Romsey, and then by horse drawn hearse to St Margaret’s Church at East Wellow, where she was buried in the family vault alongside her parents. The picturesque parish church draws visitors who can see her grave, while at nearby Romsey Abbey – Hampshire’s largest parish church, set to mark its 900th anniversary in 2020 – a new Nightingale stained glass window will be unveiled at the end of May 2020. The ‘Calling Window’ reflects an historical event in Nightingale’s life, at the age of 17, when she said God called her to his service. www.visit-hampshire.co.uk.