Florence Nightingale Museum (London)

There are 2 Florence Nightingale Museums in the World. The first one is in London and the other is in Istanbul.

The Florence Nightingale Museum in London is located at St Thomas' Hospital, which faces the Palace of Westminster across the River Thames in South Bank.

The museum reflects the real story of Florence Nightingale, "the lady with the lamp", from her  childhood to her experiences in the Crimean, through to her years as an fervent leader for health reform. Nightingale is known as the founder of modern nursing in the United Kingdom. 

In 1860, four years after her famous involvement in the Crimean War, Nightingale founded the Nightingale Training School for nurses at St. Thomas' Hospital and the museum is located on this site.

Most of the items in the Florence Nightingale Museum were acquired by Lady Alicia Lloyd-Still when she was director of St. Thomas Hospital between 1913-1937. This collection was held by the Nightingale Training School in St Thomas and is known as "Nightingalia".

The Nightingale collection was first publicly displayed for the centenary of the Crimean War in 1954 at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, then again on the centenary of the Nightingale Training School for Nurses in 1960, and the 150th anniversary of Florence’s birth in 1970.

In the 1970s the then Matron and a hospital administrator of the St. Thomas’ decided to widen the access to the collection, which ultimately led to the creation of the museum on the site of the original Nightingale Training School.

The Florence Nightingale Museum was formally opened by HRH (Her Royal Highness) Princess Alexandra in February 1989

Since the museum opened, a number of important objects have been added to the collection, including Athena, Florence Nightingale’s beloved pet owl in 2004 and a set of ten oil paintings by French artist Victor Tardieu, which depict a field hospital during the First World War.

The Museum Collection is made up of almost 3,000 objects related to the life, work and heritage of Florence Nightingale. You can see some of them below.

Bust of Florence Nightingale at the entrance of the museum.

Sir John Steell's bust of Florence was often said by her family 
to be the best likeness of her. Florence agreed to sit for the
sculptor in 1862 because the bust was commissioned by the
British army and paid for by his soldiers.




This register records the names of 229 women who served as nurses at the British military hospitals during the Crimean War.
It begins with Florence's name. The entries include which hospital the nurse was sent to, whether she could cope, or whether
she was sent home, often for drunken behaviour. Eleven died of illness.
An inside view of the Florence Nightingale museum with Turkish faiences
Locket presented to Florence Nightingale by the Sultan of Ottoman Empire Abdulmejid
British army surgeon's instrument case used in the Crimean War. Florence often insisted on being present at operations.
One unsubstantiated story circulated that she kept surgeons waiting, and a man lying on the operating table, for 15
minutes until she could be found.
This photograph was taken soon after Florence's return from the Crimean War. Her family were shocked
at how thin she had become. She had cut her hair short in Scutari for convenience and to keep it free of
lice."There was no time for long hair," she wrote.
Athena, the owl of Florence, had been saved by her at the Acropolis, Athens. Named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena became Florence's constant companion, sitting on her shoulder or in her pocket. When Athena died while Florence was on her way to Turkey during the Crimean War, she was very upset. "Poor little beast, it was weird how much I loved you," she wrote.
Address: 2 Lambeth Palace Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 7EW
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